written by home doctor brisbane

Do you feel like your stomach is a bottomless pit? It’s one thing to be always¬†hungry if you’re pregnant, expecting your period or have recently increased your time spent in the gym. But, what does it mean if you’re constantly craving the next feed without these reasons?

Well, there are many reasons you may be feeling constantly hungry, including your current diet, hormones and emotional factors. Let’s explore 6 common reasons why you may be feeling constantly hungry.

1. Lack of sleep

Not receiving adequate sleep each night can upset some appetite hormones and sabotage the day of healthy eating you had planned. Restless or inadequate sleep can increase the levels of ghrelin, an appetite stimulating hormone, and decrease leptin, a hormone which causes a feeling of fullness.

If you’re regularly losing shut-eye you may suffer from constant fatigue which can trigger cravings of sugar carbohydrates, even if you’re not hungry!

2. Dehydration

Mild dehydration can often be misinterpreted as hunger. This is because both hunger and thirst are regulated by the hypothalamus. If mild dehydration sets in confusion can cause you to reach for that midday muffin instead of what your body really needs, a glass (or more) of water.

To limit this confusion make sure you stay on top of your daily water intake. There are many apps you can download to help keep track of your water consumption. Or you can try writing the hours of the day down the side of your water bottle.

3. Stress

Is your way of dealing with a stressful work day or personal dramas inhaling a tub of ice cream? No judgements, we’ve all been there. But it’s a good idea to find other coping mechanisms because your stress might be making you feel more hungry than usual.

When we’re stressed we increase our production of adrenaline and cortisol which can trick our system into thinking its under attack. In order to have enough energy to fight off this ‘attack’ our appetite may increase. Levels of serotonin may also reduce in response to stress which can make us feel hungry when we’re not.

4. You eat too quickly

If you’re a fast eater you may not be giving your brain enough time to realise your stomach is full. While it may be too tempting to slurp up that spaghetti in record time, eating slowly may help lower that insatiable appetite. Giving your body enough time to release hormones that tell your brain you don’t need any more food.

5. Social media

I know, it seems to get the blame for everything these days. But constantly being bombarded with delicious shots of your friend’s lunch, dinner or late-night snack can leave you craving more. A study from the journal Obesity found that just looking at food can increase our level of ghrelin and make us hungry. So, it might be time to stop following those food bloggers and instagrammers.

6. Certain medications

Certain medications can increase our appetite. These include some drugs used to treat depression or anxiety, some forms of birth control and corticosteroids. If you’ve recently started taking new medication and have noticed a surge in your appetite it’s best to discuss side effects with your doctor.