Nightime Eating

How to Stop Night Time Eating Habits. [4 tips]

Night Eating Syndrome Treatments

Night eating syndrome or NES is characterized by late night eating habits and very little eating during the daytime. People who suffer from night eating syndrome will likely not eat very much when they wake up and throughout the day. But they tend to wake up sometime during the night and binge eat.

Night eating syndrome and binge eating are not the same, although those who suffer from NES will often be binge eaters. They will likely hide their eating habits, particularly the binge eating, from other people. They may be ashamed of how much they eat and what kind of foods they consume. They will typically eat a lot of unhealthy foods, particularly snacks, when eating during the night.

This can cause obesity and lead to other unhealthy eating habits, creating a very unhealthy relationship with food. Night eating syndrome sufferers typically have a lot of guilt about what they eat and about their weight. They may not be able to stick to a diet for very long, and they may have a long history of failed diet attempts.

This kind of condition can be very serious, causing heart problems, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, and more. Is there a way to treat it? What are the treatments for night eating syndrome? I’ll discuss some of those with you, but if you believe you are suffering from this condition, you should seek expert medical advice. 

Identifying Triggers

Do you know what causes a person to binge eat late at night? What might cause them to wake up sometime during the night and start eating a bunch of unhealthy foods?

These are the questions an NES sufferer should be asking themselves. This can help them to identify what their triggers are or what is causing NES. If you understand why you suffer from a condition and what triggers the negative behavior, you can start to make some progress.

There are many reasons why someone may binge eat at night, and here are a few possibilities:

  • lack of nutrition
  • busy work schedule
  • poor sleep schedule
  • stress
  • loneliness
  • depression
  • food addiction

These are generic triggers, and specific triggers will vary from person to person. For some people, it may be a fight with their significant other. For others, it may be an overly busy workday. In some cases, it could be a bad breakup or a lot of anxiety that’s causing these kind of dangerous eating habits. The problem is that NES is not a one-time occurrence. It’s a pattern of behavior that turns into a habit and becomes a very hard one to break.

Changing Grocery Shopping Habits

Something that can help people who suffer from night eating syndrome is to make a significant change in the kinds of foods they buy. If a person stocks their cupboards and fridge with healthy foods, they’re less likely to get up in the night with hunger cravings and eat a bunch of food that’s not good for them. First of all, there won’t be unhealthy food available to them if they’re not buying it. Secondly, they’re less likely to get severe hunger cravings for healthy foods.

Which kinds of foods cause the most common hunger cravings? That would be foods that are rich in salt, fat, or sugar.

Of course, there are other ways to get ahold of unhealthy foods than just a trip to the grocery store. Someone who’s suffering from NES will need to carefully control their shopping no matter where they go, as unhealthy snacks are widely available outside of grocery stores. They may also need to let their friends and family know that they’re making dietary changes so that unhealthy food is kept out of their house and is not served to them. Changing what is eaten during meals can help to change the eating habits that they tend to late at night.

A Well-Regulated Sleep Schedule

One of the more effective night eating syndrome treatments is a change in sleep schedule. A person who gets up in the middle of the night to eat a lot of food is probably not on a very good sleep schedule.

It can make a huge difference in how often someone wakes up in the night if they are going to bed at the same time and waking up at the same time each day. It’s common for those who suffer from night eating syndrome to have erratic sleep hours. It’s also common for them to stay up very late using electronic devices, which can keep them from falling asleep easily and keep them awake longer than they intended to be. They are unlikely to be getting restful sleep, which could be contributing to their waking up in the middle of the night.

Change in Eating Habits

A lot of the recommended treatments for night eating syndrome involve therapy, but behavioral changes are some of the most effective treatment methods. The problem is, these kinds of changes can be very tough for people to make on their own. It usually helps to have someone overseeing their treatment and their changes in sleep schedule and dietary habits. 

Changing up what kind of food you buy can significantly help with this medical condition, but it’s not just about shopping for the right groceries. You also need to change what kind of foods you’re eating and when you’re eating them. It’s important to eat a full meal before bed so that you don’t feel hungry while you are sleeping.

Someone who suffers from NES should also be eating plenty of fiber, especially for the last meal of the day. Fiber digests in the body slowly, which means that you’ll feel full for longer.

Another eating habit that should change is how quickly a person eats their food. People suffering from NES will tend to eat very quickly. They can often eat well past the point where they are full too. If they slow down when they are eating their daytime meals, that can help them to change nighttime eating habits as well. That means that when the sufferer wakes up in the middle of the night to have a snack, they might not eat as quickly or overeat as much.

Closing Thoughts

All of these changes are likely to be ones that will need to take place gradually. If someone is suffering from night eating syndrome, they need to expect that they won’t get it right the first time. Just like those failed diets, there may be a few failed attempts to correct the problem. That’s perfectly normal, though. They can learn from their mistakes and try to pay attention to their triggers as they make these changes.

Night eating syndrome can considerably impact someone’s health, both physical and mental. If you know someone who’s suffering from this problem, or if you are experiencing it yourself, then it’s important to get professional medical help as soon as possible. This is the kind of problem that can get worse over time if it’s not treated properly.

There is hope for those who suffer from NES, though. It can be cured, as long as a solid treatment plan is followed. It’s not a condition that has to haunt someone for the rest of their life.