How to Stop Sugar Cravings at Night

sugar cravings at night, stop sugar cravings

Sugar cravings at night are super common.

These cravings can feel irresistible and often out of control. Unfortunately, they can also bring feelings of guilt and shame, especially if you’ve been meticulously trying to watch what you ate earlier in the day.

Fortunately, there are some realistic ways to reduce sugar cravings at night, without relying on willpower or restriction.

5 Ways to Stop Sugar Cravings at Night

sugar cravings at night

1. Eat more magnesium-rich foods.

A constant state of low-grade stress (i.e. traffic, busy schedules, work, etc.) depletes your body’s magnesium stores and increases your stress hormone, called cortisol. Elevated cortisol levels may cause an increase in appetite and cravings for sugary foods (1, 2).

Eat more magnesium-rich foods during the day to help balance your stress hormones and reduce sugar cravings at night:

  • Almonds
  • Spinach
  • Cashews
  • Black beans
  • Peanut butter
  • Avocados
  • Banana
  • Salmon
  • Yogurt

Find a stress management activity, like meditation, journaling, or prayer, that can help you lower your stress hormones as well.

2.  Eat regularly scheduled meals and snacks during the day.

Drastic changes in your blood sugar levels throughout the day can worsen sugar cravings. Also, skipping meals can cause your blood sugar level to eventually drop, which then causes your body to crave quick absorbing sources of energy (sugar).

Take time out of your day to fuel your body with wholesome protein, fats, and fiber. Plan your meals ahead of time, if possible, to reduce decision fatigue.

Decision fatigue occurs when we force our brains to make too many decisions during the day. Our willpower slowly decreases with every decision we have to make. So, at the end of the day, we find ourselves with less willpower and more cravings. Make it easier on yourself by planning ahead of time!

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3.  Eliminate technology during dinner.

In today’s age, we rarely ever JUST eat. Whenever we’re eating, we’re also driving, working on the computer, scrolling social media, or watching TV. This type of mindless eating can often lead to sugar cravings.

When you’re distracted at dinnertime, you aren’t listening to the hunger and fullness cues your body is sending you. This often leads to overeating and mindless munching later on in the night.

To become a more mindful eater, begin by eliminating tech devices during dinner. Turn the TV off, put phones away, and step away from the computer. Begin to JUST eat and enjoy the company of others, which naturally makes you slow down and listen to the cue telling you, “I’m full”.

4.  Rethink your habits.

Around 40% of your day is dictated by your habits. Craving sugar at night may be due to habits that you have developed over time.

So, all you have to do is change your habits. Easy, right? ?

Changing your habits can feel really freaking hard! But, here are a few tips to make it more manageable.

  • Don’t keep easy to grab desserts in the house. This advice is controversial in some crowds. But, the fact is that breaking a habit requires you to create some friction. We need to step in and interrupt the automatic habits that may not be honoring our health. This does not mean that you can never have something sweet. Rather, it means that when you DO desire something sweet, you make a conscious decision, rather than it being an automatic habit.
  • Keep healthier, easy to grab options at eye-level. I kind of hate the advice to “just eat a piece of fruit” when you’re craving sugar at night. BUT, in this case, having healthier options more visible to us in the refrigerator and pantry makes us more likely to choose those items. Keep fruit on hand, but make sure to pair it with a protein or fat source to balance your blood sugar and reduce future cravings.

Related Post: Dysbiosis: Is Your Gut Bacteria Causing Sugar Cravings?

5. Don’t restrict yourself during the day.

Following a restrictive diet that eliminates full food groups can often lead to sugar cravings at night. Make sure you’re getting a wide variety of wholesome foods like fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, legumes and protein in your earlier meals.

If you follow a diet that is too restrictive, your body may simply be telling you that you need more calories and nutrients! But instead of restricting and then binging on sugar-laden calories at night, try to get a variety of foods into your diet during the day.

But remember, life is too short to stress about a cookie.

Eating a cookie will not derail your health goals. Going out for ice cream with your family doesn’t make you weak or less disciplined. It’s real life!

Don’t get caught up in trying to micromanage your food in a way that just ends up creating more stress in your life.

Creating a healthy foundation of balanced meals, healthy habits, and mindful eating behavior can reduce excessive sugar cravings at night.

But, make sure to enjoy real life indulgences too, in order to create a happy, healthy balance.