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Is Your Night Eating a More Serious Problem?

Posted Dec 13 2008 10:43pm

It’s 9:00 at night and I have a craving to eat something.  I’m not sure what I want, but I know that the kitchen is calling me. For some of us, this is a more serious problem than just snacking our way through the evening.  This could be a serious eating disorder called Night Eating Syndrome

Night Eating Syndrome (NES) affects any where between 10% and 27% of the obese population depending upon which study you read. But if you have a problem with wanting to raid the refrigerator at 9:00 PM, does that mean you have NES?

Here is how NES is different than just want to snack at night. Those having NES:

  • Eat at least ½ of their daily calories after they have finished dinner
  • Wake up during the night 2 or more times craving a high calorie carbohydrate snack
  • Do not eat breakfast because they have eaten so much during the night
  • Suffer from insomnia
  • Have been doing this for at least 2 months

Those having NES have higher levels of cortisol, signifying high levels of anxiety and low levels of melatonin which helps to promote sleep. The craving for carbohydrates is a way to trigger tryptophan which eventually calms the anxiety and promotes sleep.

Compare yourself to the check list above.  If the symptoms sound like you, consult with your physician and an eating disorder counselor.  You may have a condition that is more than you are able to handle on your own.

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