If you’re on a low-calorie diet or perhaps forgot to go to the supermarket during the day, you may end up going to bed on an empty stomach. Feeling hungry can leave you tossing and turning for hours, whereas eating a meal before bed can make you fall asleep easier. This is because the body releases hormones such as amylin, glucagon, and cholecystokinin after eating, according to thejakratapost.com. These hormones cause your blood sugar levels to spike, therefore leading the hormone insulin to be produced, which is streamed through cell tissues to provide energy for them. During this time, the brain releases serotonin that will make you feel drowsy. Food also has an influence on the production of melatonin in the brain, which is the hormone best known for making us feel sleepy.
If eating before bed isn’t an option for you at this time, it is still possible to get to sleep – but it might take some more work. Some tips you can try out include:
- Reading a book
- Drinking fluids
- Going for a walk
Hopefully, sleeping while hungry should just be a rare occurrence for you, as there can be long-term side effects to sleeping without a sufficient amount of food. However, for now, you can follow our handy tips.
Drink Plenty Of Fluids
You may not be able to (or want to) eat something if you’re hungry before bed. But, you could try drinking something to give yourself the feeling of a full stomach without eating. The liquid you drink should substitute food for a short period of time, although it shouldn’t be a permanent solution whenever you’re feeling hungry – you need to eat too!
You can try sleeping with a large bottle of water next to your bed, or alternatively try making some herbal tea. Drinking green tea is a light and healthy drink that can leave you feeling satisfied without the need to make yourself a meal. Other teas include chamomile, which is great for helping you relax and fall asleep even quicker. If you feel that your hunger is caused by a drop in blood sugar levels try giving yourself a sugar boost – you can try adding sugar or lemon to your tea for extra energy. If tea isn’t for you, you can try drinking either cold or heated-up milk. Warmer milk is better for promoting sleepiness, and depending on which type you buy, a glassful will contain enough sugar to satisfy any cravings. I buy my tea from Amazon and usually get a better deal than buying it in stores – Lipton Green Tea.
Listen/Watch Something Distracting
As mentioned before, sleeping on an empty stomach will leave you tossing and turning – mainly because you’re thinking about how hungry you are and what you should eat. Instead of having ruminating thoughts about food, try watching or listening to something that can distract you. A good podcast or interesting TV series can keep you engaged and stop those wandering, hungry thoughts. This distraction should also help you get to sleep, as hopefully, your eyes will grow heavy after a while of paying attention. Just make sure you aren’t watching a delicious cookery program.
Read A Book
If you find that listening to music/a podcast or watching TV at night is too heavy and disruptive for your sleep, you can try reading a book as a lighter distraction. Picking something light, perhaps a text you have already read before, can help you get to sleep sooner as the story should distract you from your hunger. Most of us find reading before bed to be a relaxing habit to get into anyway, so now is the perfect opportunity to fit it into your regime.
Go For A Walk
Walking is great for plucking out any negative thoughts and getting them in order before you go to bed. This act will also expel any excess energy to make you feel extremely sleepy once you hit the pillow. Going for a stroll in a nearby park with fresh air will help relax any tension, both physical and mental, that you may be feeling. It is also another good distraction from your empty stomach – just make sure you go out in a safe area!
Eat Dinner 2-3 Hours Before Bed
You may be hungry at bedtime because you eat dinner a bit too early in the day. If you eat at around 6 pm but don’t go to bed until 11 pm and onward, it’s very likely you’ll feel hungry by the time you want to go to sleep. You can try adjusting your eating patterns and schedule to help this. Look at what times you go to sleep each night and try eating the last meal of the day just 2-3 hours before bed. This will ensure you stay full and satisfied throughout the night, instead of waking up with a grumbling stomach.
Believe it or not, there is such a thing as hunger meditation. This particular meditation technique is from Siddha master Patanjali and is used to suppress feelings of hunger and thirst. To do so, you must completely focus on the Kantha Kupa, which is the pit of your throat. You should close your eyes and focus on your throat while repeating the words: Kantakoope Ksut Pipaasaa Nivrttih. This translates to”throat hunger thirst overcome.” If you have trouble pronouncing the words, this YouTube video can help guide you. Meditating on the Kantha Kupa allows a yogi to develop sthairyam, or “steadfastness,” in the physical body and in the mind, according to consciouslifestylemag.com. Over time, this meditation should help you overcome feelings of hunger when you want to sleep, as many use it to battle weight gain.
If you want to try a simpler meditation, you can do deep breathing to relax into sleep. One method you can follow is below:
- Lie down in bed and get comfortable.
- Breathe deeply through to your abdomen and say a phrase or word to yourself, either out loud or in your head, such as “relax” or “sleep.”
- As you breathe out and release the air from your abdomen, try saying a different phrase, such as “release tension.”
Health Warnings For Sleeping Without Food
As you may already know, sleeping on an empty stomach isn’t a good idea. As a disclaimer, we want to let you know that the advice above shouldn’t substitute a healthy and nutrient-rich diet. The negatives to sleeping without food include:
- Weight gain
- Loss of muscle mass
- Less energy
- Bad mood swings
In light of all this, let’s face it – sleep should be the few hours we aren’t thinking about food at all or planning our next meal. If you find that you’re doing this often, take our advice above or speak to a nutritionist about your eating habits. Hopefully, you should be able to return to a safe and restful slumber in no time.