Night time is dedicated to sleep and rest. It’s not a good time to satisfy your appetite and eating snacks. Unfortunately, some people have a problem trying to refrain from eating at night, which results in gaining weight. If you also happen to go on night time adventures to the fridge when you should be sleeping, it’s worth looking into what the cause for it could be. Only then you can take appropriate action and eliminate night time snacking.
Nightly trips to the kitchen can be caused by Night Eating Syndrome. You can suspect that you suffer from this syndrome if you have problems falling asleep, if you didn’t eat or drink anything before going to bed, and in the morning you’re not able to eat breakfast. In case of NES, the need to eat or drink occurs even when waking up in the middle of the night. Satisfying the hunger doesn’t improve the mood. Often there is also regret, but problems with falling asleep inclines to reaching for more food. Unfortunately, as for now there is no medicine for NES. However, you can battle the symptoms. The regularity of meals plays an important role here, as well as eating a hearty breakfast. If you don’t feel like you can eat anything in the morning, force yourself to first eat something small, for example a pear, a cup of natural yoghurt of a piece of crispbread. Gradually increase your morning portion of food, until your breakfast looks like it should do. The last meal should be eaten 3 hours before bedtime. Leave a bottle of mineral water by your bed, and drink it if you wake up during the night.
Another cause for midnight snacking is Sleep-Related Eating Disorder – a disorder that is a type of sleepwalking. People suffering from it, eat without realising it. They think that they are just dreaming of eating, but they are actually doing it in real life. They often reach for the first product they can find, so they can eat things that they don’t usually like. Sometimes they try to even cut or cook them. They only find out about the meal being real after waking up, and finding out that some food is missing and the kitchen is messy. If you are conscious of going to the kitchen and getting food, then you are not suffering from SRED. Otherwise, consult a specialist. This disorder usually doesn’t lead to obesity, because people suffering from this disorder don’t usually eat much, but they can eat something inedible or hurt themselves.
Not everyone who eats at night suffers from NAS or SRED. The causes of this problem can be different. Night time eating can be caused by somatic diseases, for example diabetes, or psychical, such as depression. In both cases you would need to consult a specialist. Often, the cause of the night time trips to the fridge is stress, which makes it harder to fall asleep, or bad eating habits. If you experience a lot of stress in your life, then you have to think about how to relieve and reduce it without reaching for food. Think about some type of sports activities and relaxation techniques. You can also take supplements that improve sleep. If you go to the kitchen at night to eat, and you do it since you can remember, you also have a chance to change and eliminate this bad habit. In this situation, you can limit the food at night gradually, as stopping it all together suddenly can be a real challenge. Sometimes people that are used to eating at night are not able to deal with this problem. Then, it’s worth asking the other people in the house to lock the kitchen at night and hide the key. Obviously this method will only work if you remove any snacks from your own room. You can only leave yourself water.
Night time eating can be conscious or unconscious. In both cases it can be dangerous, but for different reasons. People consciously eating at night can do it because of a disorder, stress or bad eating habits. Regardless of the cause, it’s possible to eliminate it. Sometimes a specialists help is needed, in other situations the help of your family or friends living with you can be priceless.