When Hunger Strikes in the Middle of the Night

Do you ever wake up in the middle of the night starving? Does going to the kitchen, finding and consuming a snack prevent you from falling back asleep?

I have struggled with this periodically, and it's so frustrating. Many of my doctors and healthcare professionals suggest not eating past a certain time of night because of potential health consequences that come with it - weight gain, heartburn, sleep disturbances - and I understand these reasons. But I still feel extremely challenged when I wake up at some point between falling asleep at night and my morning alarm, feeling an overwhelming amount of hunger.

Sometimes I try to stay in bed and fall back asleep, other times I seek out that snack - but either way, I'm up for longer than I would like to be during the middle of the night, and any chance of feeling rested in the morning fades away.

Hunger versus sleep cues

I find this has been happening to me a lot recently, so it has been on the top of my mind. My body's hunger cues are interrupting my body's sleep cues, and I am unsure what is causing this new behavior.

Have you ever experienced this before? An uptick in hunger at inappropriate times, and the frustration that comes with it? I know there is a chance my experience may be  medication related, but I also know that it might not have a direct cause.

Regardless, it has been a major hindrance to my sleep schedule over the last few months.

This or That

Does hunger interrupt your sleep?

Combatting this late night appetite

To try to combat this mid-evening interruption, I have been trying to eat dinner a little later than usual. Consume more protein hoping it will help me to stay satiated for longer periods of time and to be able to sleep soundly and thoroughly during the night.

I think this has made a little bit of a difference, but it certainly has not stopped the pattern for me, unfortunately.

A lose, lose situation

During the day, I consume more water than previously, again, hoping that it would make me feel fuller longer. However, I have been resistant to practicing this habit after dinner, otherwise I will wake up several times during the night to use the restroom. I'll be honest - sometimes this feels like a lose, lose situation.

Most of the time, laying in bed trying to fall back asleep while I'm feeling hungry is a futile effort, and I end up getting up to eat anyways. It honestly takes less time to just get up and eat. Although falling asleep after either scenario almost always results in creating a gap in my overnight sleep schedule. And either way, I feel frustrated.

How do you manage hunger associated sleep disturbances?

I would love to know if this is something you have experienced - whether for a few nights or regularly. How have combatted this hunger associated sleep disturbance? Do you get up and get a snack? Do you lay in bed trying to fall back asleep while your stomach is sending hunger cues to your brain? Do you try to convince yourself you are not actually hungry, or you don't actually need to eat? Does this help you fall back asleep faster than if you were to just get up and eat?

Please help! I would be so grateful for your suggestions on anything that has worked for you!

Featured Forum

View all responses caret icon

By providing your email address, you are agreeing to our privacy policy.

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The Insomnia.Sleep-Disorders.net team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

Join the conversation

Please read our rules before commenting.