Weight Loss
Moderators: devilish_patsy, spoiled_candy, nycgirl, Mollybygolly

Help! Hungry during the night!

Quote  |  Reply

I first must say that I have done great and already lost 51 pounds. But I have always have a problem with waking up during the night hungry. I used to get up and eat a lot of stuff but have controlled it over the past year. Now it's not every night but I wake up a lot and I am thirsty and hungry. I always keep something beside my bed to drink but my problem is I find it very hard to not get something to eat during the night. I don't keep junk food in my house so I try to eat something that is around 100 calories and go back to bed. I know this is not good and I don't know how to stop it. I have had sleep studies done and I am fine. I am not diabetic and have been tested. I know this hinders my weight loss some weeks. I'm not really gaining but some weeks I dont lose. There has been a time or two that I gained. I work with a nutritionist so I know I am taking in the right amount of calories a day for my height and weight. This has been a problem as long as I can remember. Does anyone have any suggestions on how to stop eating during the middle of the night?

20 Replies (last)

Do you drink a glass of water and then wait a while before deciding to eat something? Thirst is sometimes misinterpreted as hunger.

What is your calorie breakdown like throughout the day? Do you eat six small meals or three large ones? Big breakfast, smaller lunch and dinner? Can you restructure your day so you're either eating a larger dinner or having a decent snack between dinner and bed?

Are you eating enough fat and carbs throughout the day? I find I'm more likely to wake up with the urge to eat when I haven't had enough of one or both of those macronutrients (also more likely to mindlessly eat in the afternoon).

firstly grats on loosing 51 pounds . i too am trying to loose about 60 pounds .

eating  6 small meals a day does help a lot in not going over your daily planed calorie intake

personally i have seen exercise /workout during the evening. this helps  curb a lot of hunger at dinner and later

Thank you. I do eat 6 small meals a day. My nutritionist helps me make sure I eat the right foods to get what I need so I dont understand. I do work out in the evenings after work. Usually around 6pm and I do about 45-60 minutes of cardio on the eliptical plus some light weights and abs, so I dont usually get home til a little later in the evening. By then I am starving and I eat dinner and usually a snack before bed but this is still happenig. I have no idea.

Do you eat something immediately after working out? If not, can you take some protein bars, nuts, or other portable snack to eat on the way home? I have a feeling that the workout later in the day is perhaps the culprit of the late-night hunger. If you can't squeeze in the extra snack after working out, perhaps shift some of your calories away from earlier in the day and add them to your dinner/bedtime snack.

How many calories are you eating?

generally I wake up hungry when I am not eating enough. Your body is trying to tell you something, especially when this happens even if you have a snack before you sleep!

I have had this problem off and on too. I have noticed that I do better when I tell myself "you really don't need it AND go back to bed and go to sleep" if I give into my craving one night I find it is easier to do it the next and next etc. I like to have a small glass of milk when I wake up. I switch to drinking a large glass of water straight down and it works.

Basically a little self control for me goes a long way, if I give a little it goes too far. Sort of like allowing myself a sugary treat and then craving it all the more.

Have you looked into a sleep problem? Maybe that is a topic you talk to your doctor about. I know there are some natural supplements you can take for this, but the name of it escapes me right now.

eta: ok I see you have had sleep studies done. But waking up in the middle of the night every night seems to be a sleep issue. "shrugs"


cool so that's how you lost over 50 pounds lol.

hey if you have to eat something why not some tomatoes or apples ? or watermelons. any fruit /vegetable that's got lot of water in it . but only after you cut them into little pieces so as to give the metabolism the idea its eating a lot.

waking up in middle of night i understand is mainly due to thirst first. Can you  consume some drink to prevent dehydration before you sleep ? Something like water+ salt and sugar of course i know when you are on a weight loss you should not consume any of the two  but i hope you got the idea.


See the problem is I am not fully awake so it is harder to not do it. I am aware but its like I'm a zombie and not thinking clearly and thats when I eat it,but I do remember it the next day. Sleep studies show I am fine and I take no sleep meds at night because I sleep really good. I dont know either. Its just very hard to explain how I feel when this happens. This doesnt happen every night like it used to because at one point I was gaining weight. I have tried to make myself more aware of it and try self control but those zombie nights I dont have any self control.

haha zombie nights sound all to familiar. ive been keeping my alarm to get me up at 6 am in the morning in all sorts of places in my room and near it. but i seem to manage to wake up on the ring of the bell or just before it and go and shut it off then back to sleep. then get up feeling bad about it all over again lol.

are you sure its not dehydration ?

how about you keep fruits/vegetables ready near you so you can grab on instinct ?

i have had the same problem for years. i think that you are controlling the situation as best as you can, eating about 100 calories and not over is very good. ive had sleep studies done on myself, and it had to do with the fact that i obsess over dieting and food. from morning till night i plan out my meals and activities and even though i'm not hungry, when i go to bed i dream about the stress of dieting and food in my life, so when i wake up like a zombie unconsciously im thinking about food and grab whatever i can. all that i know is that is has to do with the stress of food in our lives.

Wow...you know what irisherin88 that makes so much sense. I am obsessing constantly about what i eat from the minute I wake up until the last thing I eat for the day. I am always planning things out for the day. I do obsess over dieting. The problem is I am either one or the other...extreem or dont care and I try to be extreem so I dont fail. Hopefuly I can get this under control and quit obsessing about it. That makes so much sense.

Yes, the unconscious mind can tap into our inner feelings and anxieties. I do believe you handle the situation well. I know that when I wake up in zombie mode I am completely disoriented and disillusioned, don't know who I am but all I want to do is eat and go back to sleep. I wake up in the morning thinking, WHAT WAS I THINKING!!! Honestly the only thing that has helped me is just cutting out all processed foods and sugars and junk in my diet, I mean I still want that stuff but I just don't keep it in the house. Basically I wake up and go to the kitchen, but who wants to munch on carrots or fiber one in the middle of the night?!


I'm a middle of the night eater too.  I think irisherin88 is right--it's related to being stressed out about dieting.  I've pretty much decided that what works best for me is to allow for about 100 calories at night in my daily calorie count, and then to keep something next to the bed (usually a protein bar or granola bar) along with the water.  If I wake up and want it it's there, but somehow knowing it's there and that I'm allowed to eat it seems to cut down on the amount I wake up. Maybe it helps to convince my subconscious  that I don't have to stress out about it? 

Thats a very good idea. I will start keeping something by my bed and allowing that extra calories. I have got to where I just dont keep anything in my house much at all except 100 calorie bars. I especially like the Special K fruit crisps. They taste like pop tarts. The funny thing is I dont normally crave or eat sweets at all but during the night is when I wake up and that is what I seem to gravitate towards. Thank you everyone for all your input. I will try these ideas.

Maybe that is the reason for your middle of the night craving? If you log your calories, make sure you have a good percentage of fat, and make sure you get something sweet in your diet especially at night. For me, I eat a bowl of kashi go lean crunch honey almond flax, with skim milk at night. I am completely addicted to the stuff. I like to let it soak for 5 minutes and then I eat it. I think i've gone through 6 boxes in the past couple months, this is the one cereal I cannot get enough of! I think you just gotta find your health food that you cannot get enough of.. Look in the organic section of your grocery store there are plenty of healthy delicious options. I also enjoy Genisoy soy crisps, they taste like potato chips (especially the BBQ ones!!) and you can eat 17 of them for only 120 calories. It's a guilt free snack I can feel like I am binging at night, but it's actually good for me.

Jello is also a good one, at only 10 calories, and they also have very low cal pudding cups but I haven't tried them yet.  There's so many options, you just gotta find what you like at the grocery store.

Best of luck :)

I find that when I wake up in the middle of the night hungry it's because I've eaten too many carbs for dinner/night snack. I'm not diabetic either, but I do think that blood sugars can be affected by what we eat in the evening.

Could you try to have a low carb/high fat meal for dinner and evening snacks and see if that makes a difference?

Dec 07 2010 11:21
Member posts
Send message
Quote  |  Reply

After 4 years I have not found that the sleep problem goes away. It started as soon as I began losing weight by the small meals/snacks method.  This plan is great during the day, but for the 10 hours between last snack/breakfast it's too long.  I sleep soundly for 4-5 hours, then fitfully for about 3 more.  I don't need an alarm when 4:30 AM rolls around.

My sleeping is about the same pattern thhq. What do you do when this happens?

i just wanted to add one more comment on this post because i immediately woke up and had to tell you guys, last night i apparently got up in my sleep and ate a piece of chocolate cake. my mom saw me walk to the kitchen and i apparently grunted at her... then i stuffed a handful of french fried onions that were on the counter leftover from thanksgiving right in my mouth, then i turned around and went back to bed. LOL

really wish i didn't sleep-eat. i should take your advice and put a snack next to my bedside so i am not eating a 500 calorie piece of cake in my sleep.

wow irisherin88. I understand. I did used to be that bad. Now I am more aware of it. When my sister lived with me she said I did the same thing. I was not aware. Now, hopefuly I am more aware. I dont think I've actually ate in my sleep that I know of in a long time. However, it is a little easier for me becasue it is just me and my 16 year old daughter in my home and she doesnt eat a whole lot of junk food either. But on occassion when I do buy her chips or cookies she will take them to her room and put them in a plastic container that we bought just for that. lol....I know that sounds funny but it works for me. They are not on the counter or within reach for me if I wake up, so the only thing left for me to eat is something healthy. Although the advice I got about putting the 100 calorie bar beside my bed before I go to sleep has been working. I've been waking up and eating that without going into the kitchen but last night for the first time I didnt wake up and eat it. So yay! Maybe there is progress. I really do believe it is a phycological thing. Hopefuly I will win this battle. And I hope that everyone else who has this problem is able to overcome as well. Good luck to you.

20 Replies