Waking up Hungry in the Middle of the Night

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I’ve been waking up hungry in the middle of the night. Famished actually. I try to ignore it and go back to sleep, but end up tossing and turning all night long.

Ever since February, I’ve been trying to lose a few pounds. [click to read how] I don’t need to lose weight for aesthetic reasons – I think my body looks fine at 144 lbs. However, my quest to run faster includes getting below 140 lbs.

I have lost just 4 pounds since February. I am sometimes hungry between lunch and dinner, and sometimes hungry at bedtime. “Be Hungry” is my weight loss mantra. Just a little hungry.

quadriceps.jpg My “litmus test” size 8 brown slacks, which I purchased when I weighed 135, fit me well right now…with no muffin top. Back in February, I could barely button them. So, I must have lost more than 4 lbs of fat, and gained alot of muscle. I have been working hard trying to become a better climber on the bike, and that has given me stronger hips and quads. I am proud of my rock hard quads!

Since stepping up my training, tho, I’ve had this problem of waking up in the middle of the night hungry. It happens on days where I’ve had a long 2+ hour workout. I count my calories, estimate expenditure, and try to eat a little less than I need. On those long workout days, it ends up that I should be eating 3500-4000+ calories. But I simply cannot eat that much. Well, if I munched out on ice cream and cookies, I’m sure I could. But that won’t help me achieve my goals, will it? So, on those days, I just eat wholesome foods until I am satiated, and don’t worry about balancing the calories in / calories out equation. But then I wake up starving hungry! View my nutrition graphs and daily nutrition log at beginnertriathlete.com.

Last night, I put a bottle of Boost on my night stand, and when I woke up at 4am hungry, I drank it. That changed my hunger level from Famished to Very Hungry. Enough to get back to sleep!


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8 comments on “Waking up Hungry in the Middle of the Night
  1. Kay Preston says:

    I wake up hungry when I’m eating right— baked chicken, roasted veggies, eggs, no pizza… I even eat something right before bed-usually a Bowl of cereal. If I wake up hungry in the night, I get up right away and eat something, but I can never get right back to sleep. Now I have to go to work and I feel terrible.
    I’m trying to eat better because I need to lose weight… I’m 65 years old and have gained 10 pounds in the last year. I’m beginning to think I’m just going to have to be a fat old woman Or find more time to exercise. Difficult to do working full-time. Best of luck to us all. PS: Didn’t realize this was just a triathlon site when I was typing all this. Just looking for help on waking up hungry issue.

  2. Zub says:

    I have found that my problem seems to be carbs. No carbs for dinner and there is no problem. If I have rice, pasta, potatoes or bread at dinner I wake up hungry in the middle of the night. I actually notice the hunger pangs come through the day after eating carbs, now that I am paying attention.

  3. Harry says:

    The only time I have had something like this….Which is waking up at 3 am starving…literally having weird dreams and basically my body telling me to wake up cause I’m so hungry……Is when I don’t eat enough calories. This is when I had 1000 to 1500 cals the whole day. So for me its my body telling me I need food. I would get up and make myself a sandwich with whole grain slices of bread and have 2 glasses of water.

    The strange thing is, when I would wake up like this I feel as if its 6 or 7 am (my usual wake up time), only shocked to see its still 2:30 or 3 am. Besides not enough calories, it happens when I had my last meal around 7-7:30 and had nothing to eat after that until my bed time 11:30-12:00…4 to 5 hours without anything in my stomach, so around 3 am it would be 8 hours straight without anything.

    My advice: Eat something light an hour before bedtime…piece of toast with a slice of cold turkey cut or an apple/banana. I’ve lost 7 pounds in 2 months…and on my way to losing the last 10 very stubborn pounds to reach my target weight.

  4. zub says:

    Wow, a fellow sufferer. I have exactly the same problem only it occurs all the time and is much worse with excessive training(IM season) Sometimes it hurts so bad that even drinking a glass of water almost doubles me over when it hits bottom. I’ve found that half a banana and a half glass of water takes the pain away so you can get back to sleep. Sometimes I do this twice and on the third time I drink a ‘Boost’ with a little water. Tends to make aperson pee alot through the night but at least I sleep in between. I’d love to hear the results of those tests. I’ve had a few myself that show nothing abnormal.

  5. Debbie says:

    Have experienced waking up at night famished, stomach rolling and growling most of summer 2008. Have gained about 5-6 pounds despite heavy physical labor. (am 54 and in good physical condition) Finally got time off work to see doctor. After a normal colonoscopy, my doctor is treating me for H.pylori bacterial infection and ulcers of stomach and duodenum(upper part of small intestine) Was also having right abdominal pain (appendix removed in childhood) and bloating, gas and discomfort. Eating seemed to give short term relief.

    Its tto soon to know if the treatment is working, but will let you know if I can find my way back to this site.

    Good luck and take care!

  6. Bob Little says:

    Great goal. I am going to try to follow your example.


  7. Rebecca Dewire says:

    My only experience with waking up in the night hungry when I was pregnant. Now that pregnancy is over, I am waking up in the night because Elena is hungry! Ha, ha it never ends!!! I know what you mean about knowing if only I was a few pounds lighter I might be faster. I think a lot of triathletes go through this. Scott often tries to eat less, but quits after one day. He can’t stand to be hungry. I can’t stand to be hungry either. Good idea to put the bottle of boost by your bed so at least you can get the valuable sleep that your body needs.

  8. Collin says:

    Can’t say I ever woke up in the middle of the night hungry, but I can say that I’ve been gaining weight again and I eat way too much crap. Time for me to do something about it. Running would be SO MUCH EASIER if I was about 15-20 pounds lighter!

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