How to stop eating at night: Three top tips to curb evening hunger
We’ve all been there. Standing in the warm glow of the fridge, perusing its contents for leftover apple pie when we know we should be asleep.
But where a cheeky late-night indulgence can be fun as a one-off, it quickly turns into a problem if it becomes a habit; causing weight gain, unpredictable hunger spikes and trouble sleeping. So how do you curb those late-night cravings?
- Get enough beauty sleep
Make no mistake - no matter how perky you feel after that third cappuccino, there’s no excuse to skip on sleep. A lack of sleep completely disrupts your body’s normal eating responses, imbalancing your hunger hormones so that you crave sugar or caffeine as a quick source of energy - so not only are you inclined to snack, you also want to snack badly.
As you may have guessed, a good night’s rest is the answer. Use your evenings to relax, then go to bed at a suitable time - the average adult needs between seven to nine hours of sleep to function at their peak. If you struggle with sleeping straight through the night, try to balance the scales by taking a 30-minute nap during the day. However you choose to do it, a good sleep routine is vital in making midnight snacking a thing of the past.
- Eat well throughout the day
If you’re flirting with the biscuit tin late at night, chances are you’ve not had enough to eat during the day, and/or haven’t made very nutritious choices.
Enjoying healthy meals at set times is a hugely important factor in managing your appetite, as this establishes an eating pattern which, in turn, keeps unpredictable cravings at bay. Researchers suggest six small meals a day is the most effective approach, for stabilising your blood sugar levels and reducing overall hunger.
Along with your new routine, ensure you’re getting enough healthy fats, protein and fibre. Not only do these food groups help control your blood sugar, but they also work as appetite suppressants. Protein in particular can reduce cravings by a whopping 60% - so bring on the eggs and broccoli!
- Distract yourself
How do you feel at night? Anxious? Bored? Restless? It’s widely known that negative emotions can make us want to eat - even when we’re not hungry - as a form of fleeting distraction. The best way to kick this is to recognise your emotional triggers and respond to them effectively. When do you start craving something, and what are you feeling at the time? Is there a better way you could react?
Instead of grabbing the closest thing to eat, you could run yourself a bath, read a book or call a friend. Or, try popping into the gym for a little gentle exercise and get those endorphins flowing. Experiment with different activities to see what works and have some fun with it - with activities other than eating to keep you entertained, it’ll be easier than ever to avoid unnecessary snacking.