What is night eating?
Night eating is a pattern of not eating much during the day and overeating late in the day.
If you think your child may be a “night eater”, please read this list of eating behaviors. Notice if any fit with your child’s pattern of eating over the last 3 months.
• Eating or drinking 25% or more of food or calories after dinner.
• Eating during the night at least two times a week.
• Waking up in the morning and being aware of eating the night before.
• Not feeling hungry for breakfast or skipping breakfast at least 4 days
• A feeling of needing to eat to fall asleep or stay asleep.
What causes night eating?
Your child’s body may have learned to feel hungry at night because of an eating pattern. It starts by eating less during the day. This leads to feeling very hungry in the evening and at night.
How do I help my child change this pattern?
• Have your child eat breakfast.
• Create a schedule of healthy meals and 2 snacks at the same time each day.
• Set a time each night for your child to stop eating. Slowly decrease access to
foods by 20 minutes each evening until the last meal or snack is at a set
• Create a night time routine to decrease the time it takes your child to fall
• Coach your child to stay in bed all night. Help your child learn relaxation
techniques instead of eating to fall back asleep.
• Take your child to a doctor to look for depression or a depressed mood.
Please contact Pediatric Preventive Cardiology Clinic at 608-263-6420 if you have further questions.
Adapted from Wendy L. Ward, PHD, Department of Pediatrics, UAMS College of Medicine.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 08/01/2013
Copyright © 08/01/2013 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7537
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