Why am I always hungry late at night?

As we approach the cold winter evenings its nice to get cosy in front of the tv with a hot cup of tea, but……thats not enough!Then follows the entourage of late evening snacks. Sound familiar?


Do you find that your hunger levels always seem to elevate as soon as you sit down after a long day at work?


After your evening meal, do the hunger cravings return just as you’re settling down for bed?

I think it’s fair to say that we’ve all experienced or currently do still struggle with these scenarios. Eating in the evening isn’t bad for you, however there are increased risks of over consumption. Today’s blog will look at potential reasons for these scenarios as well some tips to help overcome them.

Causes of late night overeating 

– Insufficient calorie consumption during the day. If we focus too hard on eating low calorie meals during the day and trying to eat as little as possible this can cause late night overeating as your body will most likely crave food

– Stress can trigger late night craving responses, in particular sugary carb based snacks in an attempt to improve mood

– Nutritional imbalances can be a major cause. If you have spent the day on a high sugar based diet then you will continually crave sugar into the late evening. Likewise a lack of carbohydrates can also cause your body to want extra calories

– Lack of sleep can also be a cause of late night binges. Research has shown that when we are sleep deprived this has a negative effect on our appetite hormones. The hormone ghrelin is increased, which signals to our body that we are hungry. In addition leptin levels are decreased, which are responsible for telling our body that we are satisfied (that full feeling)

– Late night stimulation via smartphones and television affects melatonin levels, a hormone which regulates sleep cycles. The longer and later you’re awake the more likely the chances of the late night overeating

Suggestions to help combat late night overeating 

– Consider getting to bed earlier. This way there’s less risk of you being tempted to raid the cupboards

– Plan some down time before bed whereby your brain isn’t stimulated by tv, phone or computers 

– Address your daily nutrition. There are many smartphone food tracking apps to give you a better idea of what’s going on with your food intake. Alternatively seek advice from a medical or fitness professional

– Take a look at a past blog of mine relating to stress and ways to help reduce it. 

Click here to read my blog on stress

The less stressed you are the in control of your hormones decision making late at night 

– Source low calorie food options. If you are peckish in the evening rather than going for the high calorie options look at lower calorie protein based snacks which will give you some satisfaction. Examples could be cold meats, low fat Greek yoghurts, stir fried vegetables (with optional protein based foods alongside).

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