How the exact time you wake up can influence how hungry you are all day

Have you ever gotten up for an early flight and, by the time you get to the airport, realize that you are absolutely starving?

You wouldn’t be alone, science suggests.

According to an intriguing body of evidence, our finely tuned appetite clock goes haywire with unusually early starts, pushing us to reach for high-calorie snacks.

In fact, some scientists have suggested that this phenomenon may partly explain obesity among people with often irregular schedules, including those who travel often.

A highly influential paper published in 2013 found that participants’ appetites reached their lowest level at 8 a.m., suggesting that waking up even an hour earlier could lead to a slight increase in feelings of hunger.

Harvard researchers determined that appetite is lowest upon waking and peaks in the evening.
If you experience ravenous hunger throughout the day, it might bode well for you to think about your sleep habits and make sure you eat balanced meals.

In the study by experts at Harvard University, 12 volunteers were subjected to strict monitoring for 13 days in a dimly lit laboratory with no clock, so they had no sense of time.

Researchers tracked their meals, sleep and wake times, and changes in their appetite.

They found a “robust” pattern of hunger each day – where participants’ appetite reached its lowest point upon waking, around 8 a.m., and its highest point at night around 8 p.m.

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However, Professor Steven A Shea, director of the Oregon Institute of Occupational Health Sciences who participated in the study, told “The 8 a.m. time in our study represents the average waking time based on the internal circadian rhythms of the volunteers. ‘

In general, according to their findings, people will simply be less hungry just after their normal waking time. So if you usually wake up at 7 a.m., you’ll probably be least hungry at that time each day.

It’s not entirely clear what causes this 24-hour cycle, but it likely has something to do with our hormones.

Hormones like leptin, which helps control appetite, ghrelin, which helps control fat storage, and insulin, which regulates blood sugar, all fluctuate in your body over the course of a day.

All of these elements form a sort of complex chemical cocktail that reacts to the foods we eat throughout the day to give us energy and tell us when to eat more.

A 2019 study by Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Massachusetts found that people’s ghrelin levels and appetite increased at night, similar to the Harvard study.

Other research from the University of Geneva suggests that people resistant to the effects of leptin in their bodies may have more problems regulating their appetite and be more likely to become obese.

Of course, there are other factors besides your body rhythm that can influence how hungry you feel when you wake up.

The number of hours you get is particularly important.

If you sleep less than six hours, your body may become out of sync with its natural hunger rhythms and you might have a greater appetite throughout the day, according to a UC Berkeley study.

The research found that sleep-deprived people craved high-calorie foods more than those who got a full night’s sleep.

They suggested this was because lack of sleep made the part of the brain that controls appetite less active, making people want to eat more.



Strong cravings can also cause you to choose less balanced meals, and the quality of the meals you eat is another important factor in your appetite, according to Michelle Routhenstein, a preventative cardiology dietitian and founder of Fully Nourished Routhenstein.

If, for example, you’re sleep-deprived and wake up hungry, you might grab something quick with few nutrients, like a plain muffin, she explained.

This doesn’t contain a lot of complex nutrients for your body to process — which means you’ll burn them off relatively quickly and likely feel hungrier during the rest of the day, Ms. Routhenstein said.

Eating a balanced breakfast – including protein, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates – would keep you full longer, she said.

Doing this in addition to consistent sleep is likely to keep your appetite consistent.

To make the most of your day and avoid feeling too out of balance with your appetite, Professor Shae recommends keeping things paced.

“The most important thing people should do is get eight hours of sleep, on a regular schedule, and eat regular meals,” he said.

News Source :
Gn Health

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