We're sure you've heard breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
But oftentimes as you're rushing out the door, breakfast is the last thing on your mind — and it's not just because you're in danger of missing your morning meeting.
The truth is, you're just not hungry enough to sit down and savor a plate of bacon, eggs, and home fries while you’re scrolling through social media at the start of your day. You don’t even feel like grabbing a bagel with cream cheese for your commute. You might even feel a little bit nauseous. So, you end up heading into the office, wondering what’s up with your stomach. You find yourself questioning — yet again — why you’re never hungry when you wake up in the morning. What’s actually going on here?
Elite Daily consulted with nutrition experts Michelle Blum, Lisa Hayim, and Bridget Bennett to get the scoop. From eating too much before your head hits the pillow, to your hormones coming into play, to your metabolism being on “snooze,” these nutrition experts provided the answers you’re looking for when you wake up in the morning. You can even follow a couple quick tips to help get a handle on the situation.
Your Metabolism Has No Idea What's Going On
As nutritionist Michelle Blum explains it, your metabolism enters an entirely different mode when you sleep. It kind of hits the "snooze" button. She tells Elite Daily, “Your metabolism works much like a fireplace: If you keep throwing sticks on a fire (food), it will burn strong. If you do not add fuel to the fire, it will go out. This is what happens when we sleep, which is fine because we don’t expend much energy when we sleep either.”
When you wake up, though, often your metabolism doesn’t get the message that it's go time. Breakfast is so important because it kickstarts your metabolism and makes you operate better throughout the day, according to an article via Rush University. So, try to eat a nutritious breakfast within a few hours of waking up.
You Ate Too Much Before Bed
The jury's still out on how bad eating late at night is for you, but experts say a heavy meal before bed disrupts sleep because the body is working hard to digest it. Another reason to skip your midnight snack? It could be responsible for your lack of appetite in the morning.
Blum notes this could have to do with leftover stomach acid, and Hayim adds if you ate a big meal around midnight and wake up at 6 or 7 a.m., it makes sense you wouldn't be hungry yet. She explains, “Your body would just be finishing up digestion, and your hunger cues wouldn't have kicked in yet.” Although a late-night fridge dive might seem like a good idea in the moment, try to cut it off a few hours before bedtime.
Hormones, Hormones, Hormones
Like many of the weird things that go on in our bodies, hormones have a lot to do with lack of appetite and morning nausea. Nutritionist Bridget Bennett explains, “The body secretes several different hormones prior to waking up to help the body get up and moving after (hopefully) a night's rest. Besides giving you a burst of energy, these hormones raise blood sugar, which is necessary after 'fasting' overnight. This hormonal surge may be one culprit for mild nausea in the morning.”
She adds, “An empty stomach can trigger nausea when it secretes acid in anticipation of eating. The acid influx may cause discomfort and mild nausea, so it's a sign from the body to get some food in there for the acid to work on!” Damn those hormones (and stomach acid, apparently).
So, What Can You Do?
Although eating mindfully is always a good idea and you generally shouldn't eat when you aren't hungry, the morning may be an exception. Hayim recommends starting small. She tells Elite Daily, “Start with a snack that will be easy to digest like a piece of fruit or a handful of nuts. It will start your metabolism, and you will feel hungry for breakfast in about an hour or so.”
In an interview with Business Insider, Rania Batayneh, MPH, a nutritionist and the author of "The One One One Diet," suggested drinking water when you wake up in the morning. It’s an awesome habit to get into because it helps your metabolism get going (in addition to many other benefits). You can easily incorporate this into your morning routine to help rehydrate your body and kick-start your metabolism.
Keep this expert insight in mind, and maybe you won't wake up wondering why you're not hungry in the morning again. Hopefully, these quick tips will give you a head start when you get out of bed.
This post was originally published on Nov. 4, 2015. It was updated on Aug. 29, 2019.
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