There is a fairly new name for people who tend to overeat only during night time hours – “night-eating syndrome.” If you’re consuming most of your daily calories during the evening and just before you go to bed, you may be putting on loads of unwanted weight and feel sluggish during the day.
You may also tend to skip breakfast — you’re still full from all you ate the night before. Since breakfast is the main meal that you should eat to ward off unwanted pounds and to gain needed fuel for the remainder of the day, this is the absolute worst meal to miss. Not eating a nutritious breakfast can also set you up for health problems and overeating at lunch, dinner or between meals.
People with night-eating syndrome are also likely to get up to eat after they’ve gone to bed. If you find yourself leaving bed at night to binge eat, think about the mood you’re in. Was the day particularly stressful or have you been depressed for awhile and feel helpless and out of control?
Night time is the worst time to ply yourself with extra calories. Your body needs fewer calories when you’re sleeping, so the food you’re eating becomes less satisfying and can easily turn to fat – especially if the food you consume is high in sugars and carbs.
Evening hours are often associated with relaxation, watching television and rewarding ourselves with high calorie snacks. People who work at highly stressful jobs during the day may skip daily meals only to become ravenous in the evening – eating everything in sight.
If you suspect that you might have NES, try these tips to overcome it:
- Don’t eat in front of the television. Spend meal times at the kitchen table and concentrate on what and how much you’re eating.
- Have a healthy lunch and nutritious afternoon snack. You’ll be much less likely to gorge on unhealthy foods when you get home.
- Portions, portions, portions. – If you have to have that dessert at night, cut it in half or share it.
- Eat breakfast. It’s your most important safeguard against overeating during any time of the day, and especially at night.
There is a hormone called leptin that suppresses hunger and is found to be lacking in people with Night-Eating Syndrome. Melatonin, another hormone that helps induce sleep, can also be lacking in those with NES.