Waking at 3 AM is a common problem. It sometimes relates to “Nocturnal Hypoglycemia”, low blood sugar during the night.
Nocturnal Hypoglycemia has several main causes:
- Eating too many carbohydrates, sugars, starch, alcohol and juice during the day
- Not eating enough protein and fat during the day (always avoid Canola, Corn and Soy Oil though)
- Eating too early relative to your bedtime
I’ve taught Ancestral, Primal, Paleo eating for decades – years before it was fashionable. My DVD on this, “The Diet For Human Beings”, teaches why we’re best suited to our Hunter-Gatherer diet before we began planting crops 15,000 years ago.
We didn’t eat significant amounts of grains (grass seed) before then, if any. Now our diets are based on starchy high carb wheat, corn, rice and sugar. And we’re missing the saturated fats and organ meats we evolved to eat.
Hearty Ancestral foods keep blood sugar much more stable, day AND night, as any Paleo fan will tell you.
Are You Eating Dinner Too Early?
Once you have switched to a grain-free diet of Proteins, Fats and Vegetables (with a little fruit, potato, nuts, eggs and herbs), consider the timing of meals.
The goal is stable blood sugar DAY and NIGHT.
I ask my Clients to eat on a schedule. Three or four meals a day, on time. (Note these are meals, not “snacks”, grazing, and “grabbing a handful of nuts or fruit”).
My personal schedule is 8-12-4-8. I may change a time by a half-hour or hour, but I rarely vary far.
I found long ago that I sleep better if I enjoy a main meal 2 hours before bed.
Why Are We Told to Eat Light, Eat Early?
- It IS wrong to gorge on a huge meal before falling into bed. Don’t do that!
- What if you have true reflux, rather than an intolerance to Dairy – the most common cause of mild Heartburn (along with a Hiatal Hernia which can sometimes be easily fixed by the right chiropractor)? If you have an actual ulcer and are being treated for that, or a Hiatal Hernia that you have not yet helped with dairy-free and an educated chiropractor, then no you cannot eat within 2 hours of bed.
- For the rest of us?? I really don’t see that eating light, eating early is correct.
Don’t force yourself to eat a heavy meal. But if you’re eating at 5:30 and going to bed at 10, try eating a small meal at 4 and dinner at 7 or 7:30. Or even at 8 as I do if waking up too early is an issue for you.
Schedule Your Meals and Eat On Time
My first goal with new Clients is grain-free, sugar-free, getting blood sugar stable. These are huge chemical changes that affect every cell of the body. Everything feels better and works better when we are more stable.
Try the “eat every 4 hours” system I teach. That afternoon meal can be smaller than the others, but keep it a MEAL, not just fruit. And not just snacking all day.
Morning Anxiety and High Cortisol
Nocturnal Hypoglycemia is a common cause of morning anxiety and high cortisol. You may find yourself more relaxed in the morning and not so shaky and anxious.
Eat Breakfast within an hour or hour and a half of arising. I prepare my food for the week the way I describe in my free Ebook. (Subscribe to my Newsletter to get that). My food is ready to go any time of day. Print out the Ebook and keep it handy. It’s short and an excellent guide to batch cooking without recipes.
More Help for Waking Too Early
Passion Flower to help you get back to sleep