Why do I get extra hungry when tired?

Have you ever felt that you are extra hungry when tired? Or maybe you think it is not actual hunger but that you are just feeling extra peckish? Or you might think you are just having a poor will power when you reach for that chocolate bar mid-afternoon. But actually – you probably are genuinely more hungry than usual. The reason is that our two hormones that help regulate hunger, ghrelin (our hunger hormone) and leptin (our satiety hormone) are affected by sleep. The level of ghrelin spikes and at the same time the level of leptin decreases when tired leaving you feeling extra hungry. Sleep is extremely important for everyone but for someone with a weight loss goal even more so. It might be good to look over the amount of hours you sleep to make sure this doesn’t prevent you from reaching your goals. Because by not getting enough sleep you will not only have to struggle with hunger due to a lower calorie intake but also battle with your hormones.

So how much sleep do we need per night? The recommendation is normally 7-9 hours but again, this is extremely individual. I know people that can function completely normally on 5-6 hours of sleep and I know some people that need at least 9 every night. Five signs that you might need more sleep are the following

  • Foggy mind
  • Getting sick often
  • You are unhappy
  • Workouts feel hard
  • You are struggling with your weight

If this is you, you may want to try to sleep more each night and see if you start feeling better. Here are some useful tips on how to prepare for sleep:

  • Regular exercising
  • Careful with alcohol and caffeine
  • Eat small to medium dinner
  • Limit fluids
  • Clear your mind
  • Turn off electronics
  • De stress
  • Have a good room temperature
  • Make the room as dark as possible
  • Get regular sleeping patterns

  Even by following the above steps and getting 7-9 hours of sleep most nights, we will all have mornings when we wake up and do not feel completely rested. And as I started this post with, you are then likely to feel hungrier throughout the day. So how do we deal with this? How do we stop ourselves from having that chocolate? Well, first of all if having a chocolate is what you actually want then I would say just have the chocolate and move on but if you keep on eating throughout the whole day and don’t stop at just the chocolate there can be other ways of dealing with it. Napping would be my first choice, but that won’t always be possible ? Here are some useful tips that has worked for my clients and also myself on days when I feel extra tired

  • Acknowledge that you are tired and accept that you will feel hungrier throughout the day. That way you are aware, conscious and can take control
  • Write it down in your journal to really emphasise that you know what is going on with your body, mind and hormones on this day
  • Do not go hungry. If you are in a calorie deficit allow yourself to eat a little bit more food on this day. This will help you to not fall for any urges to overeat or eat unplanned foods later in the day
  • Eat some extra carbs with each meal. This will help you feel more satisfied and stop any other cravings you may get

And lastly, be kind to yourself. Allow yourself to have an off a day off and make sure to go to bed a bit earlier so that you wake up more rested the next day.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.