Night Eating and Poor Weight Loss


NES means night eating syndrome. As the name suggests, this syndrome is characterised by a continuous eating schedule through the evening, which continues through the night.

About 6% of obese people have this disorder. It results in poor outcomes of weight loss.


Melatonin, leptin and cortisol are the three hormones that are behind this disorder. Melatonin helps us to fall asleep and keep sleeping through the night.  Leptin is the hormone that functions to suppress hunger pangs at night. Low levels of either one can cause the person to have disturbed sleep and be hungry enough to stay awake. Cortisol or stress hormone keeps the patient awake and tempts them to go and fix a midnight meal.

Besides hormonal imbalances, this disorder can also run in the family. However, the entirety of how exactly it works is not yet known.


It might start to show with how you eat in the morning. If you have this disorder, you might not feel hungry in the morning for breakfast. The person may also keep delaying their first meal.

The patient may also end up eating more after dinner compared to eating during dinner.

He/she may eat 50% of their daily intake after dinner.

They may even wake up in the night to eat.

The eating is always accompanied by feelings of guilt, tension or general upset feelings.

They often tend to eat more sugary foods.

Unlike bingeing, this involves eating almost continuously through the evening.


The cause remains little known and therefore, treatment becomes little bit dicey. Taking hormone supplements can be an option to compensate for the low levels of certain hormones that cause the disorder.

Serotonin encourages sleep. Taking food high in carbohydrates will elevate the levels of serotonin. Therefore, taking serotonin supplements can also be another option.

Therapies helping modify behaviour patterns and reducing stress can also prove to be helpful. Altering diet patterns like including smaller and more frequent meals in the day, avoiding carbohydrate while taking protein, can be some ways to deal with this disorder.

Making social events an evening affair, can help to evade the chances of eating.