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why do I get hungry when I'm tired?

Sleep deprivation can throw your hunger hormones out of whack. Ghrelin surges, making us hungrier. Leptin sputters, making it harder to feel sated. And stress hormones like cortisol flood the bloodstream.

This is the brain’s way of putting out an SOS for more fuel. It’s trying to compensate for the lack of sleep with other sources of energy, preferably “any kind of energy source that will deliver the most immediate surge of usable fuel,” explains Alexandra Jamieson, co-creator of the Oscar-nominated documentary Super Size Me and author of four books, including Women, Food, and Desire.

That energy source is often sugar. “What do you crave when you’re low on sleep?” Wohl asks. “You crave sugar and carbs so that you can get that energy back. Studies show that sleeping less than seven hours can increase your cravings for sweet foods — but getting extra sleep, even if it’s small amounts, can reduce cravings.”

This was excerpted from “9 Common Questions Answered About Hunger Cravings” which was published in Experience Life.

Jessie Sholl

Jessie Sholl is an Experience Life contributing editor.

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