Waking Up in the Middle of the Night to Eat

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As the title explains, I wake up every night and eat. Usually , it is junk food and it happens sometime more than once a night. I am disgusted with myself for doing it every night and I want it to stop, but when the time comes, it is almost like I cannot stop myself. The times when I do try to fight the compulsion and go back to sleep, it seems like a will keep waking up throughout the night. This habit has been going on for a very long time and I can't seem to stop it.

I appreciate any thoughts or advice.

Thanks

Replies

  • deborahmills22
    deborahmills22 Posts: 44 Member
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    I removed all junk food from my house. And I have a snack before bed time that is high in protein. Seems to help.
  • chouflour
    chouflour Posts: 193 Member
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    What about trying to make better choices instead of just going back to sleep? Then you can try to save some calories from the day for overnight.
  • grimendale
    grimendale Posts: 2,153 Member
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    Consider leaving some margin in your daily calories to have a late night snack, if this is a regular occurrence. Nothing wrong with eating late if it fits your calories.
  • SergeantSausage
    SergeantSausage Posts: 1,673 Member
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    I find simply rolling over and going back to sleep solves that problem in a hurry.

    It's a choice - only you can control whether you *choose* to eat or not.

    Take some responsibility for your actions.
  • Want2bthin135
    Want2bthin135 Posts: 30 Member
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    If you want to succeed you have two options
    1. Leave enough calories to have a middle of the night snack
    2. Don't have a middle of the night snack.


    It's your choice. Remember the more your resist temptation the better you will become at resisting them.

    Good luck.
  • 100andOnward
    100andOnward Posts: 145 Member
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    As echoed, get rid of junk food and have healthier choices in the house. If it's not impacting your sleep or sleep quality, leave enough calories for a snack.

    If it's a compulsion and you can't control it, and it IS disrupting your sleep/sleep quality, talk with your doctor. There might be something else going on that needs attention, such as a chemical imbalance. Perhaps tools to help you sleep through the night like meds, supplements, meditation, exercise regimen... I'm not a doctor, but I had anxiety issues in the past that led me to behaviors like what you're describing. A good care team can help a lot.
  • HeySwoleSister
    HeySwoleSister Posts: 1,938 Member
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    Are you eating enough during the day? If your appetite is waking you up at night, I'm wondering if your daily calorie intake might be too low.

    Otherwise, I agree with the PP who suggested considering a visit to a mental health professional to talk about compulsion and anxiety. Because, unless you are exaggerating, what you are experiencing is not normal.
  • bogwoppt1
    bogwoppt1 Posts: 159 Member
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    No junk in the house and no easy snacks in the house. Not like you are going to go shopping at 2am.

    Look in to sleep health, you have created a set of circumstances where a few mid night feasts are what you need. You need to work on changing that.
  • rin080382
    rin080382 Posts: 19 Member
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    I am bad for that too. I used to eat something bad every night...at least once. Now I either have a glass of water and force myself to go back to sleep, or I save a few calories and try to choose something more filling. Usually a tablespoon of peanut butter does the trick. Or some grapes. Better than the chips it used to be.
  • RoxieDawn
    RoxieDawn Posts: 15,488 Member
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    If you have to drive somewhere to get it, most likely you won't do that! Keep healthy snacks at bay!

    I used to eat right before midnight and around 2 am. Got rid of the snack food and I actually stopped getting out of bed to look for it. I now sleep and do not have anxiety and look at the clock any more.

    It will take a couple or three weeks, then you will get it. If you are logging correctly and you go over board on your calories for the day, you will start to be mindful and you will not want to keep doing it. Especially if you start to gain or you cannot lose which means you are eating too much!

    It is a behavior change that you must control.. No one can do this for you...
  • mburgess458
    mburgess458 Posts: 480 Member
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    mkveli2pac wrote: »
    As the title explains, I wake up every night and eat. Usually , it is junk food and it happens sometime more than once a night. I am disgusted with myself for doing it every night and I want it to stop, but when the time comes, it is almost like I cannot stop myself. The times when I do try to fight the compulsion and go back to sleep, it seems like a will keep waking up throughout the night. This habit has been going on for a very long time and I can't seem to stop it.

    I appreciate any thoughts or advice.

    Thanks

    Sounds like a sleep related eating disorder (or night eating syndrome):

    http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-related-eating-disorders

    I did exactly the same thing for roughly 30 years (age 16 or so to age 46). Some nights I would "only" get up once or twice, some nights it would be more like 6 or 7 times. I had sleep studies done and they just came back with "multiple spontaneous arousals" as the diagnosis. I wouldn't even realize I was awake until I was in the kitchen (no memory of getting out of bed or walking down the stairs) so simply rolling over and going back to sleep wasn't an option. When I would try to not eat I would end up pacing like a junky and would wake up in the kitchen again a half hour later.

    I tried pretty much ever sleeping drug out there. They just made me more out of it. I would wake up as my face hit the wall/door while sleep walking. I was afraid of falling down the stairs so I gave up on drugs.

    I tried other things that I don't really believe in like hypnotherapy and acupuncture with no success.

    For the past 8 months or so MFP has really helped. I still wake up about an hour after I fall asleep and have a small snack that I planned out in advance, but I don't pace like a junky and I don't wake up nearly as often. I think I still sometimes wake up later in the night but the knowledge that I'd need to input whatever I eat into MFP and it would count against the next day is strong enough for me to just roll over or go the bathroom and back to bed without visiting the kitchen. Really just knowing that I would have to log everything I ate was enough for me to not want to graze all night long.

    For me I think the night eating was a sort of eating disorder. I was a fat kid and lost a lot of weight and got popular (and a girlfriend) when I was 15-16. Back then I would eat next to nothing during the day and then eat at night when no one was around.....if no one sees you eat something it doesn't count right? After years it became a strong habit. I'm really hoping I can keep it behind me.

    You aren't alone. I hope this helps. Hang in there.
  • Joelley1007
    Joelley1007 Posts: 36 Member
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    I have the same problem :(. I wake up numerous times to pee and when I wake up I tend to reach for whatever is near me. My boyfriend loves candy and I would eat tons of candy because it was there. The next morning I would wake up and feel disgusted with myself , just to do it again and again. Sometimes I go into the kitchen too and just look for whatever I can shove in my mouth without any prepping.
    I went grocery shopping and stocked up with healthy snacks. I just started using MFP yesterday again , but I've been changing my eating habits for the past week and a half or so. Im proud to say I am no longer eating candy at night which is major and I substituting with healthy snacks such as bananas , granola bars , watermelon etc. Adding MFP helps too because I know i need to track Everything I eat. I sure as hell don't want to stay within my range all day just to go over at night or lose calories for the next day. I wish I could just sleep through the night , but even if I stop drinking early I still am up often to pee. Anyway sorry for rambling , but when I read your post I could totally relate. Good luck!
  • AFMOMX2
    AFMOMX2 Posts: 18
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    I did that for years--I would say atleast 10 years. I felt so out of control. It started during my first pregnancy then just kept going. Usually it was a huge bowl of sugary cereal. I'm not much help though because I stopped about 6 years ago but I don't remember if I did something to stop it or if the "need" just went away. Your post brought back memories, I didn't realize it happened to other people.
  • GaleHawkins
    GaleHawkins Posts: 8,160 Member
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    mkveli2pac wrote: »
    As the title explains, I wake up every night and eat. Usually , it is junk food and it happens sometime more than once a night. I am disgusted with myself for doing it every night and I want it to stop, but when the time comes, it is almost like I cannot stop myself. The times when I do try to fight the compulsion and go back to sleep, it seems like a will keep waking up throughout the night. This habit has been going on for a very long time and I can't seem to stop it.

    I appreciate any thoughts or advice.

    Thanks

    I find eating mainly Fat vs Carbs at the last meal of the day helps keeps me full longer.

  • jillmarie125
    jillmarie125 Posts: 418 Member
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    I have the same problem. I found out it was mainly due to anxiety. I was able to control emotional binges during the day. But at night, my thoughts would wake me up and I would binge. I'd realize what I was doing mid-binge. I would sleep walk to my kitchen. I have it somewhat under control, but not fully. It's hard.
  • LeftHandCyclist
    LeftHandCyclist Posts: 11 Member
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    I have the same problem especially when I am full bore into my season training plan which is now. I get the munchies late at night. I will grab anything and the sweeter the better to assuage my hunger. Just recently I have been doing the following to kill off the bedtime or post bedtime munchies. I will pour myself an 8 to 12 oz. glass of skim milk and I will add a half scoop of protein powder to the milk. I'm talking like a whey protein or something similar(low in sugar). Anyway mix it up well and drink it down. I find it seems to get rid of the munchies. Plus you can build this protein concoction + milk into your daily calorie budget. It's been working for me and I usually get the munchies really bad. No munchies of late!
  • mkveli2pac
    mkveli2pac Posts: 31 Member
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    I wanted to thank everyone for their posts to my topic. I am also thrilled to say I have not been eating in the middle of the night recently. I have a streak of 18 nights going right now. I don't know what it is that caused the change but now when I wake up I have been fighting the temptation. I don't want to say I kicked this bad habit completely, but I am very proud of the progress I made so far. Thanks again for everyone's advice and encouragement.