Do you have poor appetite before breakfast or lunch? Do you have good appetite before dinner? Do you have the feeling that you cannot help eating foods especially after 9pm or before going to bed? Do you have the feeling that you cannot fall asleep without fill your stomach? Are you a fun for sweet foods before going to bed? Do you have low sleep quality so that you are awake several times during the whole night and every time you are awake you cannot control yourself to have something to eat? You may have Night Eating Syndrome if you have all or several of above symptoms. In this article I will introduce what is night eating syndrome, what is the root cause and what is night eating syndrome treatment, especially natural ones.

What is Night Eating Syndrome?

eat during night

“Night Eating Syndrome” is a kind of illness caused by unhealthy life style. Generally this illness happens on young or middle-aged people who like to stay up late or have to take night shifts. Now the definition of Night Eating Syndrome is clearly defined by medical community which include anorexia in the morning, eating too much in the late evening and symptoms of insomnia… “Night Eating Syndrome” can easily cause diseases like gastrointestinal disorders and peptic ulcer. Take a closer look, people with night eating syndrome have similar problems of people with eating disorders, includes unbalanced nerve and endocrine, emotion problems. They usually eat too many times and get more calories, thus easily gain weight. Discovered by newly research, this kind of people produce insulin normally but melatonin and ketosteroid are produced less in their body.

What causes Night Eating Syndrome?

In order to find natural treatments for night eating syndrome we have to find out what causes it.

Early in the year of 1955 Doctor Albert J. Stunkard who is the research pioneer of night eating syndrome diagnosed it was existed. He pointed out that this is caused by high mental stress which causes unbalanced hormone.

As a professor of psychology in University of Pennsylvania, Doctor Albert J. Stunkard found that most of the patients feel high mental pressure and have low sleep quality through several years’ research. Those patients normally wake up three or four times during whole night and every time when they wake up they will directly run to kitchen to have some snacks, such as biscuits, cakes, chips or other foods with high carbohydrate. To them the insatiable appetite of eating is out of their control.

Also, those patients get fewer calories than normal people during the day time since they don’t have breakfast but they will get at least a quarter of the whole day calorie amount between 9pm and next morning. On average, they will get 500 calories which is more than that for normal people. Thus, most of them are overweight.

night eating syndrome

Doctor Albert J. Stunkard pointed that these patients actually have three syndromes – Bulimia Nervosa, sleep disorder and Emotional disorder. The three syndromes are affected each other: during night, the more anxious and depressed they are the more food they will have. The patients subconsciously try to improve mood, reduce stress and get sleepy through eating foods. And high carbohydrate foods are good choices for them since carbohydrate can help body produce serotonin which can help people feel peaceful and get sleep easily.

Doctor Albert J. Stunkard thought high mental stress is an inducement of night eating syndrome. He also said that eating to the patients is not enjoyable anymore but an impulse of eating things. He pointed out that 1% of overweight people have night eating syndrome and 1.5% of people on earth have this syndrome in which the proportion of females is 60%. This syndrome is rare in young people and children.

What are treatments for night eating syndrome?

1. Change to healthier life style

It is hard for you to get to kitchen and have something to eat during night if you can fall asleep easily and sleep through the whole night. So the most important is to make yourself fall asleep fast and improve your sleep quality. Please check article “How to Go to Sleep Fast? – 4 Best Breathing Exercises” and try the breathing exercises to see if it can help you. You can also check article “How to sleep well at night – 10 Best Tips for Setting up Sleep Environment” to make sure you environment is good for high quality sleep.

2. Put away or throw away all the junk foods

By doing this you have to force yourself to have some healthy foods if you really want to eat something before sleep or during night. There is an article “What to Eat before Sleep? – Top 10 Foods Help Sleep Well” for your reference just in case you don’t know what to eat. You can seek the advice of a nutritionist or dietitian on how to arrange your meals properly.

3. Conversation therapy or behavioral cognitive therapy

You can have a conversation if you have someone who enjoys talking with you, such as friends or family members. You can talk about your worries if you want or anything that is relaxing and can abstract your concentration of anxieties.

4. See a Psychologist

You may have to see a psychologist if above steps do not work for you since you may have psychological problems, such as depression and anxiety. You may need to have prescriptions. Anticonvulsant such as Topamax, SSRI and Zoloft are good for this syndrome.


Now you understand all the aspects of night eat syndrome and you can diagnose for yourself but remember that even if you have all the symptoms it doesn’t mean that you have this syndrome. Only if you have the symptoms and last for at least two months then you need to see a doctor and check if you have this syndrome. But it is a good idea to change your life style and make yourself healthier. Try the night eating syndrome treatments, especially the natural ones and let me know how it works. I really hope this article can help you. Good night!

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