Is Bad Sleep Making You Hungry?

This morning I woke up absolutely ravenous. I’m not just talking about regular morning hunger – I mean that voracious, insatiable, “hangry” feeling that has you beelining for the nearest snack ASAP.  This always happens when I have a poor night’s sleep.

There’s actually a scientific reason behind this sleep-hunger connection, and it all comes down our hormones and blood sugar.

Let’s start with ghrelin, aka the “hunger hormone.” Ghrelin is produced in our stomach lining and brain, and its main job is to stimulate appetite and crank up those hunger pangs. Research shows that when we’re sleep deprived, our ghrelin levels go into overdrive, amping up our hunger signals to the max.

On the flip side, there’s leptin – leptin’s role is to put the brakes on our appetite once we’ve eaten enough. This satiety signal comes from our fat cells and tells our brain “Hey, you’re full now!” Sadly, poor sleep quality reduces our leptin levels, making it harder to feel satisfied after meals.

Here’s the deal: bad sleep = high ghrelin telling us to eat, eat, eat. PLUS low leptin failing to give us that “full” signal. No wonder the hunger monster comes out to play!

But that’s not all sleep deprivation does to our cravings. It also messes with our blood sugar regulation and insulin sensitivity. After a bad night’s sleep, our bodies have a harder time keeping blood sugar stable. Those dips and spikes make us crave sugary, carb-heavy foods as our bodies try to compensate.

On the flip side, unstable blood sugar levels from things like hypoglycemia and diabetes can also disrupt sleep, creating this vicious cycle. High blood sugar leads to tossing and turning, while low blood sugar can spike your cortisol jarring you awake in the middle of the night.

The lack of restorative sleep also leaves us stressed, which is another trail to cravingsville. When we’re frazzled, our bodies naturally want those tempting comfort foods loaded with sugar, fat, and calories.

So, what’s the solution? Getting quality zzz’s. This is key for keeping our hunger hormones, blood sugar, and cravings all in check. Make sure to prioritize good sleep habits, manage stress levels, and eat a balanced diet containing protein, fiber, and complex carbs. Your metabolism and waistline will thank you!

Share the Post: