hunger midnightIt’s the middle of the night, and instead of being sound asleep, you’re standing in front of the refrigerator consumed by midnight hunger pangs.

If it only happens once in a while, that could be about a particularly active day or a smaller dinner than usual.

But if it’s happening several times a week, midnight hunger may have something to do with low blood sugar.

How It Works

Some people think having blood sugar control issues only means having a problem with high blood sugar.

But the truth is that low blood sugar can be just as problematic. And blood sugar spikes can lead to equally as extreme blood sugar drops.

So blood sugar control issues can lead to all kinds of negative symptoms, including midnight hunger.

Your body produces glucose so you have the energy you need to get through your day.

Obviously, when you’re asleep, you don’t need as much energy – so your body produces less glucose.

When your blood sugar is well controlled, your body keeps the levels of insulin and glucose stable overnight.

But if you have blood sugar control issues, this lower level of glucose can lead to levels of blood sugar that drop too low.

And since a classic symptom of low blood sugar is extreme hunger, overnight blood sugar drops could lead to midnight snacking.

How to Manage Midnight Hunger

Luckily, there are ways to manage midnight hunger –

1. If you haven’t yet, get your blood sugar tested. Talk to your doctor, especially if your hunger in the middle of the night shows up with shakiness, night sweats, and confusion – other classic symptoms of low blood sugar. Making sure your blood sugar levels are flat and stable could be the first and last step to managing late-night hunger.

2. Eat at regular intervals throughout the day. As odd as it may sound, midnight snacking can be stopped starting at breakfast. Eating small, regular meals and snacks throughout the day will help keep your blood sugar stable all day – and all night.

3. Get the proper nutrition. Your body will let you know if you aren’t giving it what it needs to be healthy and strong. No matter how many calories you’re taking in, if those calories don’t come with the nutrients you need, your hunger will kick in. Without the proper vitamins, minerals, and nutrients, your body triggers hunger pangs in an attempt to get the nutrients it needs. Make sure you are eating plenty of protein, fiber, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables.

4. Time your last meal properly. If you eat dinner late, try to be done about two hours before bedtime. If you eat dinner early, consider a small snack – made up of a protein and a healthy carbohydrate – about two hours ahead of bedtime. This will help keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the night, and avoid the drop that leads to midnight snacking.

5. Exercise. This is another daytime choice that can help curb midnight snacking. While your appetite may increase when you first start exercising, in the long run exercise will help decrease your hunger – and your midnight snacking.

Many things could be causing your midnight snacking, including low blood sugar.

But before you get worried, take these steps first. Talk to your doctor, double check your dinner.

Midnight snacking doesn’t have to interrupt a good night’s sleep – if you don’t let it.