Why Nighttime is Tougher with Food: Discover the Reasons!

eating at night

Written By:


Ryann Nicole

Why is food harder at night? If you’ve ever wondered about this, you’re not alone. It’s a question I asked myself for years. During the day, I felt in control around food, but every evening, like clockwork, I’d find myself tangled in food chaos. Does that sound familiar to you too? Here are five reasons why food tends to be more challenging at night:

Reason 1: Not Eating Enough During the Day

Sometimes, when you don’t eat enough during the day, it catches up with you as you slow down at night. Your body is smart, and it seeks to fulfill its needs. So, if you’ve been restricting your food intake throughout the day, your body can end up in a significant energy deficit by evening. This can leave you feeling too tired to resist your body’s hunger signals, leading to intense nighttime cravings.

Solution: Try adding more nourishing meals and snacks throughout the day. If you struggle with recognizing hunger and fullness cues, consider joining a hunger and fullness masterclass to reconnect with these signals.

Reason 2: Unprocessed Emotions

As you wind down in the evening, unprocessed emotions may start to surface. During the busy daytime, you might not have paid much attention to your feelings, but when there are no more distractions, your emotions can take center stage. At this point, your body presents you with two options: address your emotions in a healthy way or seek comfort in food.

Solution: Work on addressing and healing your emotions in a constructive manner.

Reason 3: Lack of Pleasure

Pleasure is a fundamental human need. If your day lacks experiences that bring you joy and pleasure, your body will look for ways to find that pleasure, which can lead to food cravings in the evening.

Solution: Incorporate other sources of pleasure into your day. If you need ideas, click here for inspiration.

Reason 4: Mental Restriction

Mental restrictions, such as rules, judgments, or strict beliefs about food, can resurface in the evening, making food more challenging to deal with. If you’ve been eating during the day but still have these restrictions, you may never feel satisfied. Your body might perceive food as a scarce resource, and when you return home at the end of the day, it may act as if you are still restricted, leading to intense food cravings.

Solution: Focus on healing your relationship with food and breaking free from these restrictive thoughts and beliefs.

Reason 5: Unmet Needs

Your body has three biological needs: functional, social, and emotional. If you’re not meeting all three of these needs, your body will try to satisfy them in its own way, which can trigger cravings for food in the evening.

Solution: Examine the unmet needs you might be trying to fulfill with food. Then, work on meeting these needs through healthier coping strategies. For instance, if you identify functional needs, ensure you’re eating enough and enjoying your food. For social needs, seek more connections, set boundaries, or change your environment. And for emotional needs, focus on healing your emotions, processing any trauma, or acquiring emotional regulation skills.

It’s clear that there are numerous triggers for nighttime eating, and here’s the spoiler: none of them are about the specific food you eat at night. Any form of physical, mental, or emotional restriction during the day can lead to the nighttime food struggles you may be familiar with. Recognizing these triggers is a significant step toward understanding and overcoming nighttime food challenges.

Feeling hopeless in recovery? Dive Into The Podcast:

The Best Guided Journals To Start A Journaling Practice 

Just so you know, I do review everything I recommend. When you buy through links on this page, we may earn a commission.

“The Five-Minute Journal”

A widely acclaimed guided journal designed for daily gratitude and self-reflection. This journal prompts users to express gratitude, set positive intentions, and reflect on daily achievements, fostering a positive mindset.

“Start Where You Are: A Journal for Self-Exploration” by Meera Lee Patel

This beautifully illustrated guided journal encourages self-exploration through a series of thought-provoking prompts, creative exercises, and inspirational quotes. It’s a visually engaging journey of self-discovery.

“365 Days of Wonder: Mr. Browne’s Precepts” by R.J. Palacio

Inspired by the best-selling novel “Wonder,” this guided journal offers daily precepts, quotes, and prompts to encourage kindness, empathy, and reflection. It’s a heartwarming and insightful companion for personal growth.

“The Mindfulness Journal”

Geared towards promoting mindfulness and reducing stress, this journal includes daily prompts for meditation, gratitude, and reflections on the present moment. It’s an ideal tool for those seeking a more centered and mindful lifestyle.

“Bullet Journal Method” by Ryder Carroll

While not a traditional guided journal, Ryder Carroll’s method has gained immense popularity. The Bullet Journal is a customizable organizational system that combines to-do lists, calendars, and reflections, offering a flexible and personalized approach to journaling. Click here for a bullet journal. 

“The Artist’s Way Morning Pages Journal” by Julia Cameron

Based on Julia Cameron’s transformative book, “The Artist’s Way,” this journal encourages the practice of “morning pages” – three pages of longhand, stream-of-consciousness writing every morning. It’s a tool for unlocking creativity and overcoming creative blocks.

“52 Lists Project” by Moorea Seal

This guided journal provides a year’s worth of weekly list prompts designed to inspire self-reflection, gratitude, and personal growth. Each list is thoughtfully curated to explore different aspects of your life and goals.

“Calm the Chaos Journal”

Targeted at those seeking stress relief and emotional balance, this guided journal combines mindfulness exercises, prompts for self-reflection, and spaces for creative expression. It’s a holistic approach to calming the chaos in daily life.

“Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal”

Perfect for those who prefer a long-term commitment, this journal offers a daily question for five years, allowing users to track their thoughts and experiences over time. It’s a unique way to witness personal growth and changing perspectives.

My other favorite guided journals

Ryann Nicole

Licensed Therapist, Certified Nutritionist, and Virtual Wellness Coach

Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.

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Ryann is a licensed therapist and virtual wellness coach who has assisted individuals worldwide in establishing a healthier relationship with food and their bodies.