9 Reasons Why You Eat More At Night & How to Stop

If you're like most people who want to work with me - you have probably asked yourself:


How do I stop eating so much at night!?


I've been there too...

If you’re asking yourself this question I know how you’re feeling, I’ve been here myself. Long before I was doing the work I do now - as a disordered eating specialist - I was struggling too.


I was frantically scrolling through the internet to figure out why I have the intense want to binge every night. And don't get me wrong, sometimes it was fine. Some nights felt like a miracle; no binging to be had.


When I was studying to become a nutritionist, it finally started to wear on me and I know I needed to sort this out. I was going to be an expert in food and health - I didn't want to have this shadow of binging coming along every night.


I know how you feel

You're feeling hopeless, upset, frustrated. You’re probably pretty annoyed at yourself right now - maybe you’re coming to the end of your patience with this. You feel totally alone with your overeating at night.


I’m here to tell you that not being able to stop eating at night is one of the top reasons people reach out to me for support.


Why do you eat more at night time?

There’s a whole bunch of reasons that you might be hungrier at night. Or, you might not be hungry at all but can't stop snacking.



These uncontrollable cravings and intense hunger that lead you down the food-rabbit hole have a root cause.


9 reasons for overeating at night:

  • A busy job where you might not ever feel de-stressed or like you can take a break

  • Not prepping breakfast

  • Having a difficult time with your mental health

  • Not taking time to eat through out the day

  • Skimping or skipping on food though the day

  • What you're eating is really unexciting and leaves you feeling unsatisfied

  • Loneliness or boredom.. It’s really common for unmet needs to present as food troubles

  • Hunger hormones peak at night


How to stop over eating at night time

1. Start eating more frequently


Eating every 3-4 hours to reduce physical hunger is a great way to reduce night hunger and intense cravings. It can take months for this to really take impact.



2. Check in with your self-care

I don't mean just bubble baths. I mean how you are taking care of yourself, even in the ''basic ways.'' We have a whole blog here on self-care - which speaks more to why self-care is essential when you're healing your relationship to food.



Some ways you could practice self-care may be…

  • Reading that book you have always meant to start

  • Setting boundaries with people, and your schedule

  • Lighting some candles and spending time taking deep breaths

  • Having a cuddle with a furry friend

  • Heading out for a coffee and listening to a podcast


3. Try to get organised with food

Can you buy food that makes you feel good, and food you love to eat? If that feels too out of reach right now - e.g. because you might binge on it - then start off with foods that feel safer.


I meet a lot of people who are over eating at night, but they aren't eating enough throughout the day. Or they have limited food available. Please note: food insecurity is not your fault, if this is your reason for laking food.


I recommend having meals that are low-prep that you can make quickly. Think eggs on toast, cereal, ramen, pasta with jar sauces, toasties and sandwiches. Making sure you have food available for when hunger comes on suddenly is also a big part of self-care.


4. Stop labelling food

I know it’s tough, and it’s never going to be as easy as “stop doing it!” But labelling food as good/bad, healthy/unhealthy, unprocessed/processed can lead to shame and guilt. Especially if you're also overeating or binge eating.


If I were to ask what foods you feel out of control with at night, is it the foods you label as good? Or the ones you label as bad?


The first step to reducing guilt and shame around eating is to challenge the idea of good and bad foods. Next time you notice yourself slamming a food, simply notice and ask “why do I think this? It’s just food!”



5. Listen to my podcast episode, 9 steps to binge freedom


I have a podcast on The Ease With Food Podcast that gives 9 steps to finally be free from overeating and binge eating. It's so popular and tops the charts on my most popular episode - I know it's going to help you too.




Listen to episode 9 of The Ease With Food Podcast on Spotify here and on Apple Podcasts here.






It isn’t easy


I really hope this article helped give you some ideas to stop eating so much at night.


You might feel like nothing works, or maybe they work for a short while and then you fall back into a “bad” routine. If that’s the case, please do reach out for support on this page.



References

  1. Scheer, F. Morris, C. Shea, S. (2013)

  2. Ruddick-Collins, L. Johnston, J. Morgan, P. Johnstone, M. (2018)