You weigh the options in your head, fighting with all of your might to resist the urge. After minutes of torment, you finally get out of bed and head for the fridge.
Does this sound like you? If it does, you’re not alone. Thousands of Americans suffer every evening with symptoms of late night eating. It is a disruptive pattern of behavior that can affect nearly every aspect of a person’s life.
Night eating syndrome is an actual diagnosable eating disorder and is characterized by: consuming at least 25% of daily calories after dinner, frequent trips to the fridge after going to sleep, skipping breakfast or having a lack of appetite for breakfast, and often eating less during the day. Many behaviors can trigger night eating syndrome, and often these are emotional ones. Depression, anxiety, and prolonged dieting are all factors in setting off a night eating disorder.
If you suspect you have a night eating disorder, there are options and treatments available.
First, get rid of the anxiety in your life. Often, night eating disorders begin because of unresolved conflicts or an onset of anxiety. Determine the source of the anxiety and manage it. This might include lessening your load at work, finding a hobby that helps you relax, or spending time alone meditating.
Next, check with your doctor to make sure your hormones and other bodily systems are in check. This will help you be aware of imbalances that may be facilitating your late night eating.
Along with a check-up, consider exercising. Exercising earlier in the day helps start your morning off right by releasing endorphins and balancing out chemicals in your body. An evening walk can help, too– it allows you to let go of stresses from the day and unwind before bed time.
Night eating disorders are real. They have the ability to control our lives unlike anything else. Take control of your symptoms and reverse your habits of late night eating.