Midnight Munch

More often than not I find myself experiencing a craving for food as soon as the clock strikes midnight. There is something in my system that automatically makes me feel hungry around this time and begin to go on the hunt for food. What is it exactly that leads me do this though? Most especially, what leads me to have very specific cravings? For example, I was awake earlier this week around 1am and suddenly started to crave caramel flavored ice cream. There are hundreds of different kinds of foods that I could have desired and somehow I had become transfixed on caramel ice cream. Although I do experience midnight cravings, it is on the lower end of the scale. For people that have severe late night cravings, they could have what is known as a Night Eating Disorder (NES). According to a modern lifestyle article, one can be diagnosed with NES when one wakes up in the middle of the night for the sole purpose of eating, eats 25%+ of their everyday food intake after dinner, and has trouble sleeping at night which could potentially be relieved by late night eating. This can be explained by the way our body’s internal clock operates. In accordance to a study published by the journal Obesity, people’s appetite for sweet, salty, and starchy foods drastically increased after 8 pm and people were found to be hungriest during the nighttime. Another study conducted by BYU confirms this. According to BYU, food that contains a lot of calories can create spikes in brain activity. Therefore, people are found wanting to consume unhealthier foods late at night. This can be detrimental to an individual’s health because according to research conducted by Steven Shea, Ph.D, the body’s internal circadian system results in hunger which leads to increase an increase of obesity. Obesity has become a serious issue in America. In accordance to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, 2 out of 3 Americans are considered to be either overweight or obese. At this rate, midnight eating would only help to make that statistic more valid. It also leaves millions of Americans at risk for obesity. So next time you want a midnight munch, think about the harmful consequences it could have in the long run.


(Photo: http://www.safebee.com/food/do-midnight-snacks-pile-pounds)

8 thoughts on “Midnight Munch

  1. Katherine Guerney

    I think that it is really cool that you brought this up. I don’t always get the midnight munchies, but when I do I wonder why. I found this article which explains that for adults their sleep is the strongest during the hours of 2-4am and eating correlates with your body’s circadian rhythm. One study found that eating midnight meals caused an increase in cortisol, a stress hormone, and a decrease in leptin, a hormone that reduces hunger. Therefore, as you mentioned, midnight snacks can cause people to gain weight but it can also cause an increase in stress too.

  2. Maura Katherine Maguire

    Great post, I really loved how informative yet intriguing this was. While I can admit I love a midnight snack as much as the next year I was not aware how major of a problem this is. I have noticed when I do eat before bed I find it hard to sleep whereas when I do not I feel better about myself and this post helped explain why.

  3. Yixiao Jiang

    It is the same thing happened to me. Someone told me the reason caused that problem is that I was eating every time I was hungry around midnight, so the body would ask me every day to eat around midnight. However,since it is a bad habit, I am working really hard on changing it. Thanks for your information. It told me a lot.

  4. Griffin Lambert Brooks

    EVERY NIGHT I HAVE A MIDNIGHT SNACK. Personally if i don’t eat during the middle of the night something might be wrong with me. Since the start of high school I’ve always have been a mid night muncher. Preferably I like junk food or fruit during this time of the night. Personally I don’t find it weird that we like to have midnight snacks just think about it. We wake up around 6 am during a work day and eat breakfast. Six hours later around noon we eat lunch. Then we get home from work or school 6 hours later and eat dinner at 6 pm. It makes sense that in 6 hours at midnight we will be hungry again! Then 6 hours later we start the same cycle over again. Midnight snacks I think are personally healthy because it gets you in a routine when to eat. Here is a link to an article if you feel like mid night snacking without eating junk food.

  5. Nicole B Sherman

    Every once in a while I will find myself craving a certain food right before I go to bed. I might not even be hungry at the time, I just know that, all of a sudden, I really want that piece of pizza, or those chips. That is what attracted me to your blog, I feel as if I can relate on some level. Although I don’t ever wake up in the middle of the night and eat, I do have a very close family member that does, and it always amazes me that he could want brownies or cookies at three o’clock in the morning, after he just woke up from a deep sleep. That’s why I found it intriguing, but very possible to believe, that people crave more unhealthy foods when they become hungry in the middle of the night. After all, when I get hungry around midnight, I find myself not craving carrots, but instead that bag of chips that has been sitting on the counter. What really sparked my interest from your post though, is that you mentioned that higher calorie foods usually increase the amount of brain activity that goes on. Why does this happen? Is it because there is usually more sugar in higher calorie foods, and that makes our brain jittery in a sense? Or perhaps it could be due to the high fat content, which can give us an initial rush, but then make us crash, just as how many people have described eating fatty foods, like McDonald’s hamburgers, makes them feel. Either way, I think that from now on I’ll think twice before grabbing that midnight snack.

  6. Imaani Allen

    Wow I didn’t realize that this was an actual condition affecting so many people. When I was younger I was always up at midnight snacking on cookies or ice cream. Thankfully I grew out of that habit as I got older. In America we have a serious problem when it comes to consuming unhealthy foods. This especially true for college students because our days are filled with work, school, homework, internships and so on.. There is barley enough time to fix a bowl of cereal. Here is a article article with advice on how to deal with midnight snacking.

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