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Night Eating Syndrome


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Note: Please don't confuse this with other eating disorders, such as eating in your sleep. If you don't know what it is, please take a look here.

OK, so I have a self-diagnosed, severe case of night eating syndrome. I eat about 40% - 75% of my food directly before going to bed. So far the only behavioral modification I've found that helps is waking up early in the morning and staying up the whole day, then repeating. The problem is I dose off and have difficulty functioning because of how sleepy I am. I've always had a bit of perpetual fatigue and sleepiness but this is very strong.

Does anyone have any suggestions for staying awake (BESIDES caffeine), or another remedy for NES that doesn't necessarily involve mild deprivation of sleep?

EDIT:

I have a history of eating disorders going back to age 15. Mild bulimia and moderate anorexia and body dysmorphic disorder.

EDIT: I'm 25 now.

Edited by item0
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1) are you taking any meds?

2) With night eating syndrome, the cure is really to eat healthily during the day, and to avoid food triggers at night.

As far as staying awake, do you have a pdoc you can talk to about this? Also, there are things you can do to reset your circadian rhythms with light boxes and things like that. This might be worth investigating. Also, you need to make sure you are on a consistent sleep schedule.

To avoid dozing, I'd suggest vigorous daytime exercise, doing things that keep your mind active, and trying to find ways to get out of the house during the day. Even if it's going to the library/volunteering, etc., doing things that will keep you awake.

Anna

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1) are you taking any meds?

2) With night eating syndrome, the cure is really to eat healthily during the day, and to avoid food triggers at night.

As far as staying awake, do you have a pdoc you can talk to about this? Also, there are things you can do to reset your circadian rhythms with light boxes and things like that. This might be worth investigating. Also, you need to make sure you are on a consistent sleep schedule.

To avoid dozing, I'd suggest vigorous daytime exercise, doing things that keep your mind active, and trying to find ways to get out of the house during the day. Even if it's going to the library/volunteering, etc., doing things that will keep you awake.

Anna

1) See my signature, I just updated it.

2) i'll have to remember that. thanks.

I have a strong aversion to sunlight when I'm drowsy, which is 99.99% of the time.

Lastly, thanks for the ideas. I'll think about trying some of them.

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Okay, on that med combo, it could be the meds contributing some to the night eating. Some AAPs make you hungry, do you take them at night? Also, do you need dose adjustments if you are that sleepy? How long have you been stable?

Anna

I was told that none of the meds I take should cause weight gain. I take the Abilify in the morning and the Risperdal is administered as an injection every 2 weeks.

The strange thing is that I take the majority of the medications that make me sleepy before I go to bed and my medications have been adjusted to make me less sleepy during the day.

I've been stable around a year and a half, if by stable you mean "not hospitalized".

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I heard that things like not watching TV late at night can help with this syndrome, the reasoning being that people tend to eat whilst watching in an unmindful manner and also that TV contains ads which trigger appetite and eating. It might help to switch off and do something relaxing instead.

I also find that if I avoid my feelings all day by distracting myself, last thing at night they will crowd in and I will binge (which is different) late at night. Sometimes working with my emotions during the day helps.

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I heard that things like not watching TV late at night can help with this syndrome, the reasoning being that people tend to eat whilst watching in an unmindful manner and also that TV contains ads which trigger appetite and eating. It might help to switch off and do something relaxing instead.

I also find that if I avoid my feelings all day by distracting myself, last thing at night they will crowd in and I will binge (which is different) late at night. Sometimes working with my emotions during the day helps.

I hardly ever watch TV, though, does that include ad-less youtube videos?

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I'm horrible about this...I have a habit of eating right before bed. Before I started sleep meds, I would wake up in the middle of the night and eat half a gallon of ice cream or make a couple hot dogs and then go back to bed....just way over the top PM snacking.

Sleep meds have kept me from waking up and I have just been working hard to avoid the triggers and change my behaviour right before bed. I stay out of the kitchen...come here before bed instead of watching TV etc.

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I'm horrible about this...I have a habit of eating right before bed. Before I started sleep meds, I would wake up in the middle of the night and eat half a gallon of ice cream or make a couple hot dogs and then go back to bed....just way over the top PM snacking.

Sleep meds have kept me from waking up and I have just been working hard to avoid the triggers and change my behaviour right before bed. I stay out of the kitchen...come here before bed instead of watching TV etc.

Wow, that sounds a lot like me. Do you also have the problem of not being able to sleep at all without eating, before ever falling asleep for the night?

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I'm horrible about this...I have a habit of eating right before bed. Before I started sleep meds, I would wake up in the middle of the night and eat half a gallon of ice cream or make a couple hot dogs and then go back to bed....just way over the top PM snacking.

Sleep meds have kept me from waking up and I have just been working hard to avoid the triggers and change my behaviour right before bed. I stay out of the kitchen...come here before bed instead of watching TV etc.

Wow, that sounds a lot like me. Do you also have the problem of not being able to sleep at all without eating, before ever falling asleep for the night?

Before the meds, YES...all the time. It's like I couldn't make myself feel like it was even appropriate to go to bed on an "empty" stomach...I just felt compulsions to stuff myself right before bed.

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I'm horrible about this...I have a habit of eating right before bed. Before I started sleep meds, I would wake up in the middle of the night and eat half a gallon of ice cream or make a couple hot dogs and then go back to bed....just way over the top PM snacking.

Sleep meds have kept me from waking up and I have just been working hard to avoid the triggers and change my behaviour right before bed. I stay out of the kitchen...come here before bed instead of watching TV etc.

Wow, that sounds a lot like me. Do you also have the problem of not being able to sleep at all without eating, before ever falling asleep for the night?

Before the meds, YES...all the time. It's like I couldn't make myself feel like it was even appropriate to go to bed on an "empty" stomach...I just felt compulsions to stuff myself right before bed.

what med is it that you take to help you sleep?

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I'm horrible about this...I have a habit of eating right before bed. Before I started sleep meds, I would wake up in the middle of the night and eat half a gallon of ice cream or make a couple hot dogs and then go back to bed....just way over the top PM snacking.

Sleep meds have kept me from waking up and I have just been working hard to avoid the triggers and change my behaviour right before bed. I stay out of the kitchen...come here before bed instead of watching TV etc.

Wow, that sounds a lot like me. Do you also have the problem of not being able to sleep at all without eating, before ever falling asleep for the night?

Before the meds, YES...all the time. It's like I couldn't make myself feel like it was even appropriate to go to bed on an "empty" stomach...I just felt compulsions to stuff myself right before bed.

what med is it that you take to help you sleep?

Doc put me on temazepam. I've been taking 30-45 mg per night but I've been backing off of it recently and mixing in a dash of melatonin so as of late my dosage is more like 15-30 mg of temazepam and 10 mg of melatonin.

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I'm horrible about this...I have a habit of eating right before bed. Before I started sleep meds, I would wake up in the middle of the night and eat half a gallon of ice cream or make a couple hot dogs and then go back to bed....just way over the top PM snacking.

Sleep meds have kept me from waking up and I have just been working hard to avoid the triggers and change my behaviour right before bed. I stay out of the kitchen...come here before bed instead of watching TV etc.

Wow, that sounds a lot like me. Do you also have the problem of not being able to sleep at all without eating, before ever falling asleep for the night?

Before the meds, YES...all the time. It's like I couldn't make myself feel like it was even appropriate to go to bed on an "empty" stomach...I just felt compulsions to stuff myself right before bed.

what med is it that you take to help you sleep?

Doc put me on temazepam. I've been taking 30-45 mg per night but I've been backing off of it recently and mixing in a dash of melatonin so as of late my dosage is more like 15-30 mg of temazepam and 10 mg of melatonin.

Thanks for your input. I googled temazepam. It's a benzo, and is only meant for short term use.

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Light sensitivity is a tough one. My light box has helped with both my mood and day/night cycles. It is subtle, but the difference is there. It was hard to use at first, since I also react poorly to bright light. But I started slow and worked up. It is easier to eat at the right time when my body actually "knows" what time it is.

You might want to check out a book called "Potatoes not Prozac" which is one of the first books I read that helps connect sleep/addictive behaviors directly to mood. It was one of the first that helped me see that my sugar sensitivity was part of a whole cycle with late eating, desire for carbs, addictive behavior, and low general mood. Some of it is outdated now with the whole "low carbs" thing, but I still think the book is eye-opening.

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I have been using temazepam for a sleep aid for several years now and it has given me no problems. I try to not eat after dinner and no longer allow ice cream in the house. I still have occassional insomnia, but don't eat when I'm up during the night.

Tommy

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i experience a strong temptation to eat before sleeping as well. something about the full feeling makes me comfortable enough to sleep. this is a BAD habit, as i "save up" daytime calories to do this at night. :(

i'm sort of in the harm reduction camp on this one. i KNOW i am going to obsess about needing something to eat or else take hours and hours to fall asleep (even on seroquel at night!). so i make sure there's no junk food in the house. you can't eat what's not there. i'll end up being grouchy about having to eat a plain bagel (i want chocolate dammit), but i WILL sleep.

so i haven't broken the habit, just reduced the bad consequences a little. i'm also trying out PGX right now, which makes me feel full most of the time anyway so i feel like eating less than i normally would (even at night). the jury's still out on whether i'll find it useful in the long term.

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One or two my meds, has brought me 25 pounds,

I always stayed at 195.

It was like overnight,the poundage appeared,

One of the culprits,though was a Three AM

get up and eat.

One of the crowd (haha) of friends,

mentions my only vice was ice cream,

OOOh,I just don't buy it,

I try like hell not to eat at these AM food festivals,

ice cream or no.

I get more than 50%,not eating,

Are the pounds slipping away??

NO.

I walk every day,unless we have a bad storm.

even then,my library

is half a mile,the streets are not busy at all.

It's a good goal,but not for the AM binge.

I have considered a 3 am stroll,

but, the city cops on me like a sasquatch eating a humter.

I'm disreputable looking,I guess.

One thing at a time

S

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  • 2 weeks later...

You might want to check out a book called "Potatoes not Prozac"

I haven't read a book since my psychotic break down. I don't see that changing soon as it is very difficult to concentrate.

The best method I came up was to get my food exhausted by the day, so that I don’t have anything to eat in the night. It really worked for me.

I've tried that, I start cooking ramen noodles, opening canned food and shit like that.

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