Late Night Snacking (aka the 4th Meal)

There are heaps of fast food commercials that start playing back to back after 9 pm. How do these companies and marketing teams know when to do this? If you have symptoms of adrenal fatigue, you will be subject to the temptation of these foods on display.


The adrenal glands sit over the kidneys, where they play a significant role in the body, secreting more than 50 hormones necessary for life, including epinephrine (adrenaline), cortisol, dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), progesterone and testosterone. Since they produce so many essential hormones, the adrenal glands are responsible for many of the functions we need including:

  • Energy production — carbohydrate, protein and fat conversion to blood glucose for energy
  • Fluid and electrolyte balance
  • Fat storageAdrenallocation

One hormone in particular, Cortisol, is extremely important for keeping our body’s systems in balance.  However, under extreme or pro-longed stress the output of cortisol increases and after awhile the adrenals can not keep up with the demands and the body starts to break down muscle for energy which can lead to adrenal exhaustion. (which we definitely don’t want)

A day in the life of someone with adrenal fatigue:

  • Morning fatigue — You don’t really seem to “wake up” until 10 a.m., even if you’ve been awake since 7 a.m.  Need caffeine or sugar to “get going” in the morning.
  • Afternoon “low” (feelings of sleepiness or foggy thinking) from 2 to 4 p.m.
  • Burst of energy at 6 p.m. — You finally feel better from your afternoon lull.
  • “Second wind” at 9-10  p.m. that lasts until about 1 a.m., when you finally go to sleep.
  • Cravings for caffeine and foods high in salt, sugar, unhealthy fats.

How to get out of adrenal fatigue and not grab the late night snacks:

  1. Eat breakfast first within an hour of waking BEFORE any coffee or other stimulants.
  2. If you do drink caffeine, have a glass of water with lemon 30 minutes after consumption to hydrate and replenish electrolytes.
  3. Take a 20 minute nap when symptoms occur or Meditate.
  4. Have a handful of nuts on stand-by anytime of the day for energy vs. any sugary foods or other quick fixes. Also, your body may be craving water for hydration vs. more unsupportive foods.
  5. Increase your Omega-3’s, such as chia seeds, flax seeds, walnuts, salmon, Fish or Krill oils.

Also, there is an emotional component for late night snacking. If you are feeling bored, lack of passion in your life or purpose, or too much television, here are a few questions you can ask yourself, complements of Jenn G., a Conscious Nut client who is experiencing amazing success.

  1. Am I hungry?
  2. Will this food make me feel bad?
  3. Will I feel bad in the morning?
  4. Is this food worth it?
  5. Is there a healthier snack alternative?
  6. Am I happier when my pants fit better?

Have a relaxing week,
Heather Fleming

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  1. You make my life better! And by better, I mean healthier!!! Oh, and way happier when my pants feel better.