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Habitually Snacking at Night Could Mean You Have This Disease

habitual snacking

Are your food cravings keeping you from losing weight? You might not have a weak willpower after all! If you binge mostly at night, you might have a medically recognized disorder that your doctor can actually treat!


Many people raid the refrigerator or the kitchen cupboards late at night for a snack. If you’re eating healthy food there’s nothing to worry about. However, there are those who eat large amounts of food after dinner or even wake up through the night to eat – they may have a disorder that is called night eating syndrome. Night eating syndrome is a treatable disorder, and if you believe you may have it consult your doctor as soon as possible.

What Is Night Eating Syndrome?

A few key symptoms of night eating syndrome is having no appetite when you get up in the morning and then eating way too much at night after dinner or getting up randomly at night to eat. The syndrome is defined by two major factors: If an individual gets approximately 25 percent of their caloric intake after dinner or through the night and continues to get up through the night to eat every day of the week.


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Medications such as serotonin reuptake inhibitors have been found to be very effective. This type of drug helps those with night eating syndrome by reducing the times they wake up at night to eat. By reducing the number of times they get up at the night, it reduces the overall amount of food they ingest through the night. Both serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors are used.

Cognitive Therapy

With cognitive therapy, patients are required to relearn how to eat during the day instead of through the night. This type of therapy also helps patients get over bad thinking, such as if they don’t eat they can’t fall asleep. Some examples of the activities included with the treatment are keeping track of food that is eaten through the night and sleep logs. The therapy teaches patients how to eat more food throughout the day and not at night and how to handle the desires to eat after dinner. Another part of the treatment is to remove all foods patients would eat through the night from their homes.

Other Types of Treatments

There are other types of therapy that address why patients eat through the night, such as from anxiety or mood disorders. Addressing conditions such as sleep apnea or restless leg syndrome can also help to reduce the symptoms of night eating syndrome. There are also other measures which are a bit more drastic, such as chaining the refrigerator door closed after dinner. Another possible treatment is phototherapy, which increases the production of melatonin which is needed for normal sleep.

Even if you can't stop eating at night, you can prevent the habit from making you gain weight by selectively choosing to eat zero-calorie foods. Leave a bowl of very low-calorie xylitol candies by your bedside. You can also pre-prepare chocolate cakes sweetened by zero-calorie stevia. These chocolate cakes are very healthy for you if they contain pure cocoa and only stevia for sweetening (without sugar). They're great for your heart and stomach – and have even been found to boost your fat burning if you eat them every day of the week!