Whether you can’t fall asleep, or you’ve woken up in the middle of the night, no one likes to be deprived of solid sleep. And according to sleep expert Jacob Teitelbaum, M.D., there’s one sneaky culprit that could be interfering with your zzz’s.

Why Hunger Can Keep You Up At Night

A  common reason people can wake up in the middle of the night says Teitelbaum, is actually a surge of adrenaline triggered by low blood sugar. When our blood sugar is low, it can cause an increase in the stress hormone cortisol, which obviously doesn’t mix well with a peaceful snooze.

He adds that everyday stressors can cause a drop in blood sugar, too, making you both hungry and irritable (this is especially common around bedtime, further inhibiting dozing off).

Luckily, Teitelbaum does have some advice should stress strike before bed – in the form of a midnight snack, no less.

What To Do About It

To help balance your blood sugar and make it easier to fall asleep – and stay asleep – Teitelbaum suggests reaching for a protein-packed snack rather than succumbing to the cravings that a cortisol spike can often elicit. He recommends a handful of almonds or a hard-boiled egg over something carb-heavy or sweet.

You can also keep magnesium-rich foods like bananas, chickpeas, nuts and seeds, and dark chocolate in mind. They’ll be able to satisfy your night time hunger while providing magnesium, which is known for supporting sleep.
Being ‘hangry’ is never fun, but it’s especially dreadful come bedtime. The next time you find yourself tossing and turning, or waking up in the middle of the night, a protein-rich snack might be just what you need to settle down.