Tips to Manage Night Eating Syndrome
Do you often find yourself snacking late at night? Do you wake up in the middle of the night feeling so hungry that you must eat before returning to sleep? Do you avoid foods until later in the morning?
If you answered yes to these questions, you might have, or be at risk for, night eating syndrome. Night eating syndrome has yet to be recognized as an official eating disorder, but it still poses problems for about 1-2 percent of the population, according to the Anorexia Nervosa and Related Disorders website.
While there are steps to treatment for night eating syndrome, there are also things you can do at home to try to manage night eating.
Get a Good Night's Sleep
If your body is well-rested, you are less likely to be woken up by cravings in the middle of the night. Try getting 6-8 hours of sleep each night. Eating and sleeping patterns are related to hormone imbalances, so leading a healthy lifestyle may help to correct this.
Eat a Full Meal for Dinner
If you skip out on a healthy and filling meal at dinnertime, you may develop cravings for salty and fatty foods a few hours later. Try eating a well-balanced meal and give yourself enough time to digest it before your head hits the pillow.
Sometimes you just can’t help but feel hungry in between meal times. When this happens, choose a snack that has enough protein to fill you up. Turkey slices on crackers and peanut butter on apples are quick, simple snacks that won’t leave you hungering for more.
Exercise and Diet
According to the Anorexia and Eating Disorders website, only 1-2 percent of the population experiences night eating syndrome, but about 6 percent of the people who seek treatment for obesity have the disorder. By losing weight, you may be able to decrease your risk for developing night eating syndrome. Exercise and a balanced diet is the tried and true weight loss method.
Night eating syndrome can be brought on by excess stress and anxiety. If you’re experiencing conflict at work or at home, try relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, or tai chi. Eliminating stress helps reduce the desire for emotional eating, a key component of night eating disorder.