Eating in the middle of the night increases your total calories for the day, making it more difficult to maintain or lose weight. You also increase your risk for tooth decay, according to the American Diabetes Association. Learning to control your nighttime eating gives you better control of your overall diet and weight management.
Your daytime eating schedule affects your hunger levels later in the day. Start your day with a large breakfast with proteins and carbohydrates on the menu. Nighttime snacking sometimes makes you less hungry in the morning, but always eat something healthy when you wake up for the day. Continue your day with a nutritious lunch and dinner, along with snacks in between. This keeps your hunger at bay throughout the day. If you consistently feel hungry in the middle of the night, try a light snack before bed to tide you over until breakfast.
If you end up in the kitchen in the middle of the night, you're more likely to snack. Clean up the kitchen immediately after dinner and stay out until breakfast the next morning. If you wake up in the middle of the night and need to get out of bed, choose another room to sit in besides the kitchen. Avoid keeping a lot of snacks or convenience foods in the kitchen. Even if you do end up digging through the pantry, a lack of snack foods makes it more difficult to eat in the middle of the night.
Before giving into middle-of-the-night cravings, stop yourself to make sure you are actually hungry. Drink a glass of water and wait several minutes before actually eating anything. If you still feel hungry, ask yourself again if you really need to eat or if you are simply doing it out of habit, from being tired or for another reason. Try going back to bed without eating.
Conquer Sleep Problems
If you wake frequently or have difficulty falling asleep, you are more likely to indulge in middle-of-the-night snacking. Dealing with insomnia or poor sleep habits makes it easier for you to fall asleep and remain sleeping until morning. Remove stimulating elements in your bedroom and reduce stimulation from the TV and computer in the hour or two before bed. Stay consistent with your routine before heading to bed. Practice relaxation techniques to calm your mind for easier sleep. If you continue experiencing sleep difficulties, consult with your physician.