"If your stomach growls at night or if you find yourself getting up from sleep to head to the kitchen, there can be several reasons for this. Expert Dietitian Buket Ertaş Sefer listed the reasons and explained ways to deal with this issue for your health.
The problem of waking up from sleep with a feeling of hunger at night is something many people face... However, if a person cannot give up this habit even though they know it's harmful to their health, Expert Dietitian Buket Ertaş Sefer suggests that they should first identify the reasons. She listed the reasons that can help you identify it and solutions as follows:"
"Consuming Very Few Calories During the Day"
"Having the goal of losing weight or staying healthy by consuming very few calories in the morning and at lunch is not sufficient to meet our daily energy needs. Therefore, the body compensates for this with late-night indulgences due to the fatigue of the day. In such situations, the distribution of meals throughout the day and dinner should be planned in a balanced way."
"Eating Dinner Very Early Due to Weight Gain Concerns"
"The timing of the evening meal can be planned according to your sleep schedule. If you have a habit of staying up late at night, having dinner very early, for example, at 5:00 PM, would leave a long gap between dinner and bedtime. As a result, the body starts seeking energy again. If you can't provide this energy by sleeping, eating becomes more dominant. In such cases, either the dinner time should be pushed a few hours later or a small snack that won't cause a sudden spike in your blood sugar can be consumed a few hours after an early dinner. For example, you can choose a food like cacık or ayran, which contains both carbohydrates and protein, instead of eating fruit."
"Being at Risk for Pre-Diabetes or Diabetes"
"If you have a condition related to diabetes, the situation can go beyond willpower. Instead of blaming yourself, you should undergo all the necessary tests and start a proper program under the supervision of a doctor and a dietitian."
"In the hustle and bustle of daily life, during active periods, you might be snacking and consuming tea or coffee without having proper meals. However, remember that every body needs nutrition and energy. If you can't meet this need during the day, your body will tend to replenish its energy and unfinished nutrients before the day ends. Skipping meals is one of the mistakes made."
"Neglecting to Drink Water"
"The mechanisms of thirst and hunger are very similar. Prolonged dehydration can be confused with hunger. If you are sure you have eaten enough and still feel hungry, make an effort to drink water and continue to observe yourself. So, when you feel hungry at night, start with a glass of water."
"Eating Due to Emotional States"
"Daily stress, sadness, and even happiness can trigger eating. Trying to cheer yourself up when you're unhappy, or rewarding yourself as if you're celebrating when you're happy. It's necessary to break these connections. Eating habits related to emotional states are often triggered during the lonely hours of the night. In such cases, we need to exert our willpower or recognize the presence of problems we can't solve on our own and seek professional help."
"The Dangers of Eating at Night"
"Nighttime snacks hinder cell renewal. Since insulin production continues at night, fat accumulation increases, making weight control more difficult. Increased insulin and fat storage lead to an increase in inflammation in the body. Blood pressure tends to rise, increasing the risk of chronic diseases such as cardiovascular issues."
"What Should You Pay Attention To?"
"If You Have Diabetes, Do This"
"If you have diabetes, medications and dietary treatments should be planned to prevent sudden drops in blood sugar and nighttime eating cravings."
"Stay Away from Simple Sugars"
"Leptin and insulin resistance that come with obesity, along with an insatiable appetite and uncontrollable hunger, create a vicious cycle. Expecting this to resolve on its own without taking action against weight gain is nothing but self-deception. One of the fundamental rules for breaking this cycle is to eliminate simple sugars that cause a sudden increase in blood sugar, exercise, and consume regular main meals."
"Avoid Unnecessary Snacking"
"The habit of indulging in late-night snacking, which is brought about by mouth habit, is also very common when there is no need. Replacing packaged foods with healthy alternatives like carrots and cucumbers is a short-term solution. The underlying connection between emotional eating and late-night snacking behavior needs to be broken. It's perfectly acceptable to prepare a healthy snack plate when you crave something. However, if you can't watch that TV series without preparing something, there may be a significant issue. To break this habit, you may need the support of a dietitian or psychologist."
"Sleep Lightly for Cell Renewal"
"Unless you have a medical condition triggered by hunger, going to bed not completely full, sleeping with a slight sense of hunger, supports cell renewal. It has even been shown in studies to have a protective effect against cancer. During nighttime sleep, the digestive system shouldn't work excessively, and the state of hunger leads to a condition where 'autophagy,' the cleaning of bad cells and the production of new cells, occurs. This means supporting healthy cell production."
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