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Night Eating Syndrome

Posted Aug 31 2009 10:57pm

by Maria' s Last Diet

Have you heard about night eating syndrome? Here are some signs, some facts, and some things you can do about it.

  • Not feeling hungry in the morning
  • Waking at night and eating
  • Finding it hard to fall asleep
  • Overeating in the evening

These are just some of the signs of a night eating syndrome.

Night eaters eat about 30% of their total daily calories after dinner compared to normal eaters who eat less than 10% of their calories after dinner.

Night Eaters don' t have to be overweight. Their weight can be normal. But on average about a third of overweight people have night eating syndrome. You can become overweight when you establish a pattern of night eating.

Night eating can be a problem for men as well as women. Night eaters can suffer from excessive sleepiness during the day because of their disrupted nighttime sleep pattern.

OK. So how can you take the bull by the horns if you are a night eater? Here are some ways.

  • See what makes you vulnerable to night eating. Is it boredom, loneliness, anxieties, worries about the night (e.g., not being able to sleep), bad mood, or something else? This is the first step that you can take: raise your awareness.
  • See what changes you can make to your vulnerability. For instance, can you take steps to reduce those thoughts and feelings that are affecting you? Can you take steps that are more directly connected with these disruptive thoughts and feelings, and not use eating and food to correct them?
  • See what changes you can make directly to your night eating behavior itself. Will it change, for example, if you begin to shift more calories to daytime eating? Can you try not to eat after a certain time in the evening and tough out the emotional and physical consequences? (You might even use a subjective rating scale from 0 to 10 to measure the amount of distress you are experiencing from going cold turkey.)

If you are and even if you aren' t a night eater, what insight and what strategies would you recommend to help break the night eating syndrome?

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