…I just started eating healthy throughout the day. I am sure that most of you had or still have this problem… you open your eyes and it is still dark. Obviously it is not time to get out of bed. Oh, no! You feel the urge to eat during the night, go to the fridge and eat something- if it could be something sweet, that’d be perfect!
Why does it happen like that? Why do you wake up in the middle of the night with a strong desire to eat?
Some time ago I stumbled upon this research, where the researchers established hormonal changes, that are associated with the so called night eating syndrome. There will be a short scientific explanation, but I promise you that it will be really quick! 😉 They found that people who wake up in the middle of the night, with a strong desire to eat have lower levels of the hormone melatonin( the sleep hormone, that makes you feel sleepy) and higher levels of the hormone cortisol ( the stress hormone). Melatonin plays an important role in our inner biological clock that regulates the cycle of sleeping and awakening. The lower levels of melatonin, interfere with sleeping. On the other hand higher levels of cortisol, elevate our appetite, which might have a connection with other hormonal changes, established in the stated research- the lower leptin levels( the hormone that suppresses hunger). What turns out? Higher cortisol levels,lead to lower levels of the hormones melatonin and leptin. This leads to insomnia and hunger.
But what does all this have to tell you? Probably nothing. Does the facts even matter to you? No, you’d like a solution to the problem!
Let’s start with some prehistory!( sounds like I am a dinosaur). When I first started following a nutrition plan, I had absolutely no knowledge of how the body functions and what it needs. I found a fitness forum, where I like one workout journal and started eating like the girl who wrote down the journal. Too bad that her instructor, made her eat mainly protein, no fats and few carbs. Back then I used to work out twice a day and obviously I spent a lot of energy. The food I used to eat wasn’t enough for my daily needs, but I thought I was the problem, so I showed some will and kept eating like that. Not long after that, I started having sleeping issues. If I managed to fall asleep, I used to wake up in the middle of the night… and I needed to eat something! Unfortunately, most often than not I ate some kind of junk. My sleeping problems reflected negatively on everything I did. I felt tired and irritated. I used to wake up a couple times a night, with the urge to eat!
Why did it happen like that? Actually it is really simple! When you do not give your body what it needs or you don’t eat enough food, your body turns on its survival mechanisms. Survival? That means there is a threat! A threat? That means higher production of the hormone cortisol( the stress hormone). And thus your good intentions to eat “healthy”, lead to unwanted, high cortisol levels. And if we go back, we will see that higher cortisol levels, suppress the production of melatonin and leptin. That means problems with your sleep and the urge to eat!
The reasons behind higher cortisol might be hidden somewhere else but nowadays a big per cent of people have really terrible eating habits and even though we live in a century, where people eat the biggest quantities they’ve ever eaten, our body is starving! You can’t imagine how what you eat, influences your mood, energy and everything you do, plus the quality of your life!
What’s the solution?
And after all what is the solution to the problem with midnight eating?
Try introducing healthier habits in your life:
1.Eat mainly eggs, meat, fish, fruits and vegetables, raw nuts, olives, avocado, butter.
2.Eat enough food for your daily needs!
3. Try being more active. Do not use the elevator, but take the stairs instead. Use your leisure time, to take a walk and do short and intense work outs!
The solution seems way too simple to be true but it is a proven fact! Since I started eating healthy and enough for my daily needs I do not wake up in the middle of the night with the urge to eat!
Try it! I am sure you will have positive results!