Your appetite is regulated by a plethora of complex interactions, which include hormonal, neurological, psychological and mechanical signals. Modern research has shed light on the fact that one major factor that contributes to increased appetite is meal timing. Having late night meals or snacks can contribute to physiological changes that may increase your hunger when you wake up.
1. More on nocturnal eating
Most of us are likely to snack on something rich in carbs or sugar in the night – this is our appetite-inducing hormones acting up. This increases insulin levels in the blood, causing glucose to be rushed into cells. The process continues while you slumber. Since your blood sugar levels are continually dropping, the body stimulates the release of regulatory hormones that counter this effect, thereby, stimulating the appetite center of your central nervous system. While some people may wake up in the middle of the night for a quick snack, others wake up ravenously hungry.
2. Lack of sleep
Lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of the appetite-stimulating hormone, ghrelin. What’s worse is that if you don’t get enough sleep, you’re most likely going to turn towards high-calorie or high-carb foods as your body searches for quick sources of energy. This may explain why people prone to obesity are likely those not getting enough sleep.
3. You’re probably just really thirsty
Start your day with a tall glass of water – you’ve probably heard this several times before but it works wonders. Just mild dehydration can make you feel fatigued and sluggish, which can push your body to look for sources of fuel (you guessed it, more carbs!).
Experts suggest drinking a tall glass of water before giving into your cravings – chances are you’ll do a much better job at keeping yourself away from the cookie jar.
Most of us instinctively know this is true and there’s sufficient evidence to back this up as well. When you’re in the pre-menstrual phase, your body is producing more progesterone, which boosts appetite and the unpleasant feelings you may have with your body in general. It creates that emotional mess that we all are so aware of.
5. You’re bored
Dopamine is a chemical messenger that’s part of the reward center of your brain. It gives us those good feelings when we consume something delicious and sometimes potentially unhealthy. When you don’t have anything fun and exciting going on in your life, the brain may look for ways to trigger such feelings by making you eat more sugar. If this sounds familiar, look for alternate ways to enjoy your time, such as going out for a jog, reading a good book, listening to music, yoga or just smelling the roses.