Overeating at night is something you can't seem to stop, no matter what you do. As soon as the clock strikes 8 pm, you find yourself shoveling cupcakes, cookies, and other delicious sweets into your mouth without thinking about how it will affect your health tomorrow.
You know this behavior is bad for your long-term health, but with time passing by and so many responsibilities to fulfill tomorrow, your temptation to eat just one more cookie is too strong to resist! Are there any ways to stop overeating at night?
Identifying the Causes Of Excessive Nighttime Eating
Before knowing how to stop overeating at night, it's essential to understand its causes.
The following are the causes of binge eating at night:
One theory suggests that people who overeat at night may be dehydrated during the day, which leads to thirst and hunger as they go to bed. Drinking water during the day may help prevent overeating later on.
If you're someone who struggles with dry skin, we suggest taking a look at How To Care For Dehydrated Skin.
2. Low Blood Sugar
Another theory suggests that people who eat too late in the day may not have eaten enough food earlier to avoid low blood sugar later on, which leads to feelings of hunger at night and, therefore, an urge to eat.
3. Poor Sleep Patterns
One study showed that participants who were given 4 hours of sleep or less each night were more likely to overindulge at night because their lack of sleep made them hungrier.
On the other hand, people who slept 8 hours or more ate less when it was time for dinner because they had spent more time asleep and felt less hungry.
4. Emotional Triggers
Research shows that emotional factors can cause binge eating at night, such as depression or anxiety. It's important to note that excessive eating isn't just about hunger; instead, there might be a psychological reason behind these urges to overeat.
5. Exhaustion From Work
When you finally get home from work, you're exhausted, and all you want to do is relax by vegging out on your couch with a huge bowl of ice cream while watching TV.
There's no doubt that comfort food tastes excellent after a long day, but how many calories do you think you've consumed? Do you know what effect this will have on your waistline if it becomes a habit?
6. Lack of Healthy Snacks Throughout the Day
If you find yourself ravenously hungry at night, it might be due to a lack of healthy snacks throughout the day. Planning always to have something nutritious to munch on will ensure you don't turn to high-calorie junk foods. Ultiblog lists healthy snack options in 30 Delicious Red Fruits And Vegetables: Nutrition And Health Benefits.
7. Binge Eating Disorder
Symptoms of eating disorders like bulimia nervosa and binge eating can lead to uncontrolled eating during the night. Treatment includes therapy along with medication such as antidepressants and antipsychotics.
8. Skipping Breakfast
Skipping breakfast makes people feel starved before lunchtime arrives, and they end up eating more than they need to. Furthermore, skipping breakfast doesn't give the body time to burn off any energy stored as fat, leading to unhealthy weight gain.
A person may drink alcohol at night, especially if they drink large amounts of alcohol at dinner. It can lead to feeling hungrier and craving higher-calorie foods.
10. Stressful Life Events
Life events such as divorce, the death of a loved one, or a significant job loss may cause stress and depressive symptoms that lead to overeating at night.
How To Stop Nighttime Eating Syndrome
The nighttime eating syndrome is a disorder that causes people to eat abnormally large amounts of food after dinner. An underlying mental condition, such as depression, anxiety, or lack of sleep, can cause it.
If you're suffering from the nighttime eating syndrome:
- Eat breakfast and lunch, and don't skip meals to avoid overeating at night. - Drink lots of water throughout the day to stay hydrated and keep your appetite under control.
- Avoid highly processed foods late at night, like doughnuts, chips, fried foods, ice cream, etc.
- Limit caffeine intake because coffee can make your appetite stronger. It also stimulates your stomach acids, making you feel hungry more often. Caffeine increases the frequency of restroom visits during the night, disrupting sleeping patterns if consumed too close to bedtime.
- Don't drink alcohol too close to bedtime because alcohol stimulates hunger and thirst signals, leading to increased cravings for high-calorie food items. Alcohol also reduces levels of growth hormone, which contributes to more calories.
How To Stop Night Eating Syndrome Through Lifestyle Approaches
It's no secret that night-eating syndrome can lead to many problems, from gaining weight to mood swings. So how do you curb nighttime eating?
Here are ten clever lifestyle strategies to stop nighttime overeating:
1. Use this 3-day Plan
On Day 1, go cold turkey. Eat only light snacks like fruit or veggies, and drink plenty of water before bedtime. Day 2, have soup before bedtime instead of chips or crackers and consume only one light snack like fruit or veggies afterward.
On Day 3, eat but skip dessert for three nights before returning to regular healthy eating habits for one week before doing it again for three nights.
2. Track What You Eat During the Day
If you want to influence weight loss or gain it in the first place, tracking your food intake is a great way to keep tabs on what you're eating and when. Using meal apps can make things easier by allowing you to scan barcodes so that recording your meals is a breeze.
You can also track calories in your sleep without getting out of bed!
3. Follow The 90/10 Rule
A recent study found that persons who consumed 90% healthy foods and 10% bad ones lost more weight than those who completely shunned their favorite foods.
So, if you love ice cream, don't banish it from your life—make sure it's an occasional treat instead of an everyday staple.
4. Don't Go to Bed Hungry
If you're starving when you head off to bed, the odds are that hunger will wake you up in the middle of the night. Make sure to eat some carbs at dinner, and try not to allow yourself less than four hours between dinner and bedtime.
If hunger still wakes you up during the wee hours of the morning, try getting out of bed and munching on something like half a banana or an apple while reading in another room until your stomach is full enough to get back under the covers.
5. Set Up The Dinner Table
Set yourself up at the table properly rather than eating from a bag or box. It may seem like a small step, but it can help you remember that you're eating for nourishment and not just because you're bored.
6. Eat Protein at Night
Eating high-protein meals before bedtime helps keep your blood sugar levels steady so that you won't feel hungry in the middle of the night. A few good protein sources include cottage cheese, yogurt, and a hard-boiled egg.
Make sure to eat them early enough to have time to digest them before you sleep. Try Low-Fat Cheese Instead of Cottage Cheese or Yogurt: If you're going to snack on something before bedtime, try low-fat cheese instead of cottage cheese or yogurt.
7. Drink Water Before Going to Bed
If you're dehydrated, your body will signal its need for water by making you feel hungry. So, hydrate yourself well before bed and during the day. If you don't want to get up in the middle of the night, keep a glass by your bedside so it's easy to chug down a few gulps when hunger strikes.
8. Have a Snack Before Bedtime
If you are still hungry after your evening meal, have something light to tide you over until morning. It can help in controlling your appetite and prevent nighttime eating.
9. Get Plenty of Sleep
Getting plenty of sleep can help you stay in control of night-eating syndrome. How much sleep you need will vary from person to person, but seven to eight hours a night is probably best for most people.
You can learn how to sleep correctly in Ultihow's How to Sleep Better.
10. Stay Positive
It's easy to feel discouraged when struggling with night eating syndrome, but try not to get down on yourself. Remember that it takes time to change your habits, and there will be some slip-ups along the way.
How to Avoid Being Overweight From Late Night Eating
If you're trying to lose weight, eating at night can sometimes cause problems.
Here are some tips to reduce your chances of being overweight and obese from late-night eating syndrome:
Have Supper at the Right Time
If you finish eating after 8 or 9 pm, it's unlikely that you'll burn off all of your calories before bedtime—which means that you could carry around more pounds than you should be.
Research on How You Can Stop Nighttime Eating
If quitting late-night eating sounds like a problem, you can research expert strategies for stopping nighttime eating. We've cited several tips in this article.
How to Pass Time Without Food
It's an age-old question, what to do instead of eating? Overeating isn't just bad for your health. It can also slow your productivity, making you feel sluggish and lethargic. If you struggle with over-eating, then don't worry.
Plenty of fun activities won't make you gain weight but will take your mind off food. Check out these 10 creative things to do instead of eating when you feel like it!
1. Explore Old Buildings
There's something about old, abandoned buildings that draw people. One can get lost inside for hours. Try imagining the experience of its first build or what caused its fall from glory. These places have incredible stories, and your curiosity will help keep you distracted and away from food.
Find a beautiful historic building near you to explore! If there are no exciting buildings, think of a place you've always wanted to visit.
2. Call A Friend
Reach out to an old friend. Maybe they'll have good advice for your project, or perhaps you can have a nice chat and remind yourself why it's important to maintain those relationships. (Bonus points if they live in a different city.)
If you don't feel like going through all that effort, use an app like Google Hangouts or Skype and make a free call instead!
3. Exercise For At Least 15 Minutes
Exercise doesn't have to be done long enough to be beneficial. If you're short on time, start with 15 minutes. After that, you can increase your workout by five minutes each day until you get to a more reasonable 30-minute routine.
The idea is to build exercise into your daily life—whether taking an after-dinner walk or parking far from your destination and walking extra steps throughout your workday.
4. Go Shopping
If you're having trouble not binge eating, get out of the house and go shopping. Staying focused on what you want is challenging when you have your hand in a bag of chips or a box of cookies.
Take a stroll through your favorite store, but don't bring any money! Remember that if it's there to tempt you later, it will! Just look around, admire all they offer, and leave it behind when you go home.
Stress is a primary cause of overeating, so it's wise to find a relaxation method that works for you. Meditation has been shown to improve mindfulness and reduce stress-induced eating by helping you focus on what's essential in your life.
Find a quiet spot and take time each day to do nothing but breathe—no music, no talking, just breathing. If your mind starts wandering, that's OK—just come back to your breath when you notice it and carry on from there.
6. Play An Instrument
You can eat, but you can also play an instrument or enjoy another type of music. Playing a musical instrument is an excellent way to focus your attention away from food and onto something else.
For instance, you'll need to concentrate on fingerings and chord changes, which will distract you from thoughts about eating. If you want to take it up a notch, bring your instrument with you when you go out with friends.
7. Play With Pets
Petting or playing with a dog is easy to keep your hands busy. Petting animals also lowers blood pressure and reduces stress. And no, it doesn't make you look insane! If you have pets at home, ask them for some help in reducing your stress levels.
Your pets are more than happy to oblige! You can also play with friends' or neighbors' pets or visit any nearby animal shelter and interact with their pet residents. You can find the best pet foods in the Ulti Best Products category The Best Pet Food Express Dog Food.
8. Read Something Fun
When you're bored and hungry, it can be tempting to reach for something unhealthy. You could forget about your hunger pangs when you're reading a book or engaging writing piece.
People are more likely to give in to cravings when they feel tired or bored. So, try taking up a new hobby (or reviving an old one) to keep your mind off your stomach. Ulti Best Products lists the best novels by Delia Owens in the products category The Best Delia Owens Books.
9. Write In A Journal
According to research, folks who keep food diaries eat fewer calories than those who don't. Studies have also found that eating very few calories (about 1,000 per day) in a short period can cause your body to make more efficient use of its stored fat.
Keep track of what you eat, how much you exercise, and how you feel every day to be aware of changes in your overall health that might impact your weight loss efforts.
10. Volunteer Your Time
The next time you want to snack, resist the impulse. Volunteer your time instead—the benefits are endless. Not only will you become less hungry while spending a few hours doing good, but studies also suggest that volunteering may increase overall health and wellness.
One study found that participants who volunteered for just four hours a month had a 50% lower risk of death from all causes than those who did not.
Late-night eating can be harmful to health as well as gastrointestinal and heart health. When dealing with late-night eating, start by finding a cause or trigger. Use this method to avoid eating late at night.
Why Do I Overeat At Night?
Boredom, depression, frustration, sadness, anxiety, anger, and any negative emotions can cause nighttime eating, which is a real problem if you want to influence weight loss (or get healthier).
We all occasionally engage in unhealthy evening eating, even when we're not experiencing any stress or sadness.
Jacked Vegan: HUNGRY AT NIGHT? HERE’S WHY (AND WHAT TO DO ABOUT IT).
Poor Sleep Patterns
DW: Why alcohol makes us hungry
Stressful Life Events
Everday Health: Depression's Effect on Your Appetite
How To Stop Nighttime Eating Syndrome
Follow The 90/10 Rule
NCBI: Junk food-induced obesity
Don't Go to Bed Hungry
Sleeperholic: Is it Bad to go to Bed Hungry? [7 Reasons Why it may be Bad for You]
Eat Protein at Night
Nutrisense: Protein and Blood Sugar: How Protein Affects Blood Glucose
Drink Water Before Going to Bed
Now With Purpose: You’re Dehydrated If…
Have a Snack Before Bedtime
Calm Sage: What Is Night Eating Syndrome? How To Overcome NES?
Get Plenty of Sleep
Study Finds: World’s largest sleep study
Have Supper at the Right Time
Life Should Cost Less: At what time should you stop eating?Benefits Of Not Eating At Night
How to Pass Time Without Food
Healthy Eating: What Are the Dangers of Overeating
Exercise For At Least 15 Minutes
Mayo Clinic: Meditation: A simple, fast way to reduce stress
Play An Instrument
Country Living: How petting a dog can lower your blood pressure by 10%
Read Something Fun
Basmo: 22 Advantages of Reading That Will Make You Pick Up a Book Today.
Write In A Journal