Dieting affects all of us differently -- some individuals can handle being on low calories pretty well for most of the day, while others feel incessantly hungry.
One thing virtually all dieters share in common is late-night cravings.
The after-dinner, before bed snacks quite frequently leads to overeating, thereby derailing your hard work during the day, and ultimately stalling your fat loss progress.
Ahead, we’ll discuss several ways how to stop late-night cravings, but first...
Why Do We Get Late-Night Cravings?
Basically, late-night cravings can be caused by a number of things, including stress, boredom, or tiredness.
For instance, after dinner, and before bed is the first time many individuals finally have time to unwind and relax after a long, stressful day. While relishing this brief moment of reprieve, the urge to indulge in a decadent snack is incredibly tempting.
After all, food is comforting.
And, while there’s nothing wrong in finding enjoyment and/or relaxation from a delicious meal, a problem does arise when we start using food to cope with stress. This behavior leads to overeating, and, you guessed it, fat gain.
How to Stop Late Night Cravings
Eat Dinner Later
The earlier you eat dinner, the more time there is between when you finish your last meal and going to bed for the night. This inevitably means there’s more time allowed for you to have a craving and slip up on your diet.
By pushing your dinner back an hour or two, you’ll have less time available in which a craving can sneak up on you.
Just make sure you don’t eat too close to bedtime, as eating too soon before laying down for the night can lead to sleep complications for some people.
Eat a High-Protein Dinner
Protein is highly satiating, meaning it keeps us feeling fuller for longer, and therefore less likely to feel hungry sooner and need (want) to snack.
Consuming a high-protein dinner will keep your belly full, reduce the likelihood of experiencing late-night cravings, and supply your muscles with valuable amino acids to make them stronger!
Fill Up on Fiber
Fiber is the indigestible portion of carbohydrates from plant foods, which means our bodies are not capable of breaking it down.
Now, that doesn’t mean that fiber serves no purpose in the diet. Rather, fiber helps fill us up and slow down digestion, which keeps us feeling satiated for longer. Together, these effects help reduce the possibility of experiencing late-night cravings.
Moreover, a number of studies have found links between high fiber intakes and greater digestive health as well as a reduced risk for several major diseases, including:
- Various GI disorders
- Type 2 diabetes
- Cardiovascular disease
However, recent studies indicate that significant portions of the population (as much as 95%!) don’t get enough fiber each day.
The Institute of Medicine suggests that women should get 25 grams of dietary fiber each day while men should get 38 grams.
Need help adding more fiber to your dinner plate?
Try beginning dinner with a tossed salad or steaming cup of vegetable soup. You can also invest in a quality fiber supplement, such as 1UP Fiber Plus, which delivers an impressive 8 grams of fiber per serving (including 5g soluble and 3g insoluble fiber).
Get Enough Sleep
Getting adequate sleep is vital not only to your ability to perform optimally (both mentally and physically) each day, it’s also critical in helping you maintain a lean physique and avoid late-night snacking.
Research has shown that not getting enough sleep impairs glucose metabolism and fat burning. It also disrupts several important hormones that govern our hunger and satiety cues, including leptin (the satiety hormone) and ghrelin (the hunger hormone).[2,3]
In other words, when you don’t get enough sleep, the following day you feel less satisfied with your meals and more hungry. Add this together, and you’ve got a perfect recipe for intense late-night cravings for high-calorie foods like ice cream, candy, and chocolate.
Adults should aim to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
If you need help going to sleep or staying asleep at night, try:
- Organizing a bedtime routine
- Avoid blue light exposure (TVs, laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc) 2 hours before bed
- Avoid engaging in any stressful activity (checking social media or work e-mails) in the hours preceding bed
- Wear light, comfortable clothing
Remove Temptation from the House
There’s a saying: “out of sight, out of mind.”
And nowhere is this truer than in the case of keeping junk food in the house.
If you know you have some kind of sweet, decadent treat in the house, the chances that you’ll end up snacking on it are very high.
If you find yourself in this predicament most nights of the week, the simple, quick-fix solution is to remove temptation from the house.
By not keeping it in close proximity, you’ll either have to forego the snack entirely, or get dressed, drive to the store, pick it up, and then drive back home.
After realizing the lengths you would have to go to satisfy this craving, you’ll likely realize that snack isn’t worth the effort.
Plan Your Treats
By carefully planning your meals and snacks throughout the day, you can limit the occurrence of cravings happening which subsequently reduces the chances you’ll eat give in to your impulses and overeat.[3,4]
Moreover, having a meal plan may also help reduce any anxiety you experience when you’re going to eat or about how much you are going to eat, both of which can help keep cravings in check.
Stress and anxiety are two of the biggest triggers for craving high-calorie foods. As we mentioned earlier, using food as a coping mechanism for when you’re stressed is a bad idea for a number of reasons.
If you notice that certain circumstances or situations cause you to head for high-calorie snacks, remember those triggers and write them down. Then, find a way to let go of these negative feelings and relax.
Some ideas for helping move past the feelings of stress include:
- Going for a walk in nature
- Having a cup of herbal tea
- Practicing breathing drills
Bouncing off our previous point about sticking to a meal plan, eating at regular intervals during the day prevents blood sugar levels from dropping too low and sending you into a feeding frenzy.
Research shows that individuals with regular meal schedules exhibit better appetite control as well as lower body weights.[6,7]
It should be mentioned, however, that not everyone always responds well to frequent meals. Some people actually feel more hungry by numerous smaller meals as opposed to a couple of larger ones.
As such, it may take some self-experimentation to figure out how many meals to eat during the day as well as when to space them out.
Help Stop Late-Night Cravings with 1UP Appetite Suppressant!
We’re all victims of cravings at some point or another. It’s just a part of life when dieting.
However, by incorporating the tips outlined in this article, you can help stop late-night cravings once and for all.
And, if you need extra help keeping those hunger pangs at bay, check out 1UP Nutrition’s Appetite Suppressant.
1UP Appetite Suppressant contains only natural ingredients, such as Chromium, Glucomannan, and 5-HTP, which helps keep blood sugar levels stable as well as enhance feelings of satiety, thereby helping you avoid cravings as well as overeating.
- Quagliani D, Felt-Gunderson P. Closing America's Fiber Intake Gap: Communication Strategies From a Food and Fiber Summit. Am J Lifestyle Med. 2016;11(1):80–85. Published 2016 Jul 7. doi:10.1177/1559827615588079
- Knutson KL, Spiegel K, Penev P, Van Cauter E. The metabolic consequences of sleep deprivation. Sleep Med Rev. 2007;11(3):163–178. doi:10.1016/j.smrv.2007.01.002
- Greer SM, Goldstein AN, Walker MP. The impact of sleep deprivation on food desire in the human brain. Nat Commun. 2013;4:2259. doi:10.1038/ncomms3259
- Schag, K., Schonleber, J., Teufel, M., Zipfel, S., & Giel, K. E. (2013). Food-related impulsivity in obesity and binge eating disorder--a systematic review. Obesity Reviews : An Official Journal of the International Association for the Study of Obesity, 14(6), 477–495. https://doi.org/10.1111/obr.12017
- Schag K, Teufel M, Junne F, et al. Impulsivity in binge eating disorder: food cues elicit increased reward responses and disinhibition. PLoS One. 2013;8(10):e76542. Published 2013 Oct 16. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0076542
- Harvey K, Rosselli F, Wilson GT, Debar LL, Striegel-Moore RH. Eating patterns in patients with spectrum binge-eating disorder. Int J Eat Disord. 2011;44(5):447–451. doi:10.1002/eat.20839
- Masheb, R. M., & Grilo, C. M. (2006). Eating patterns and breakfast consumption in obese patients with binge eating disorder. Behaviour Research and Therapy, 44(11), 1545–1553. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.brat.2005.10.013