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Insomnia and eating at night?

(43 Posts)
KatyMac Fri 15-Jan-21 06:23:33

I am depressed and on medication, I have cfs/for and my sleep pattern has imploded

I rarely get more that 2-3 hours at a time and it's randomly through the day and night

So why am I unbelievably hungry at 3/4/5 am?

I feel like I havent eaten for days! I'm not eating substantially more just at odd/stupid o'clock (tin of soup at 3:30am yesterday and dear god I have wanted a bacon sandwich since about 4am today

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user184628462 Fri 15-Jan-21 06:41:46

I sometimes get this as an anxiety reaction to being awake, exhausted, unable to sleep and feeling totally out of control. But I have trauma connected to being denied food so I get why my brain sometimes demands access to food when I'm feeling frightened - not sure whether some of it would still happen anyway.

I suppose also ordinarily we would be asleep overnight whilst fasting and therefore oblivious to hunger pangs. And eating during that period has probably disrupted your body's rhythm even more.

KatyMac Fri 15-Jan-21 06:46:28

Yes I agree it isn't a great idea to give on (hence I am lay here with actual hunger pains - which I almost never get during the day as I do the little and often eating generally)

But I can feel my blood sugar levels changing and it is so shit! I cant keep juice by my bed to sip on (bad for teeth) yet I know is i stood now id be dizzy!

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PinkyParrot Fri 15-Jan-21 06:50:41

Some medication makes you hungry - mirtazapine, quetiapine.

I sleep poorly but I think it is partly that I have made my evening very lazy and relaxed (cos I'm tired!) and my brain thinks night time starts at 7pm, when I relax, and not 10pm when I go to bed. Hence I wake at 3 and feel hungry. I am trying to reswitch my body clock but, especially as it's winter and dark, it's hard to be busy and alert in the evening.

KatyMac Fri 15-Jan-21 06:54:04

And I wake up so thirsty (I mean waking to wee is normal at my age, but waking to drink?)

I am on prozac so I guess that could be affecting it

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KatyMac Fri 15-Jan-21 06:55:50

& the cfs makes it hard to force your self to stay awake - falling asleep at the dinner table or mid conversation is as common as dozing during a filmhmmconfused

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Eckhart Fri 15-Jan-21 06:57:59

Sounds like a carb addiction to me. Most people have it to some extent (in our society)
Your body is so used to living on sugar that it doesn't know how to get energy from anything else. 'Low blood sugar' becomes difficult to manage in this situation.
You can train your body to start turning its fat into sugar in your blood by upping your fat and protein, and eating significantly fewer carbs. Your body will then say 'Oh crap, I suppose I'm going to have to make the effort of converting this fat, then...' and then it'll get better at that over a period of time, which will be a bit difficult. But then once it's done, instead of going 'GIVE ME FOOD!!!' when your blood sugar gets low, your body will just quietly access your reserves, and leave you in peace.

KatyMac Fri 15-Jan-21 07:00:38

So is carb addition separate from the insomnia?

Is possible I guess I eat a good amount of protein normally I wonder if that has slipped a bit recently?

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CorianderBee Fri 15-Jan-21 07:03:01

Eat half an avocado or something before bed, that way if you wake up hungry you know it's not normal.

Have you tried a DoDow for when you wake in the night? It's useful.

I also find a hot water bottle handy and I've heard weighted blankets are good.

Eckhart Fri 15-Jan-21 07:10:27

They might be related, but each can definitely stand alone.

If you've had changes to your diet recently, it makes sense that your body will feel 'lacking'. In those circumstances, we crave the easiest fuel we can eat: carbs.

Are you getting enough kcal? If not, it's not just that you'll lose weight. Other body systems will also have to deal with not having enough energy, so they'll function poorly. Or, if you are primarily eating carbs, all body processes apart from physically moving won't be getting fueled properly. Growth, maintenance, repair, and all body systems run on fat and protein, and can't use carbs at all. So that could be affecting your sleep.

KatyMac Fri 15-Jan-21 07:18:44

Hmm ill start a food diary, christmas/lockdown and depression may be skewing my memory of what I am eating

Generally its pretty high protein, average carbs and low fruit/veg as I have bowel damage and I struggle to digest them. The high protein slows my transition time (which is currently 'normal for me')

Maybe eating before bed (not really hungry then but I can try)

Lots of ideas people thanks - off to make bacon now 7:30 is a reasonable breakfast time!!

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Eckhart Fri 15-Jan-21 07:29:40

Try eating a snack of some sort of meat (bit of deli stuff?) and some cheese before you go to bed, and dropping your carbs during the day. You have to make sure you're getting enough kcal. Eating fat will help you. You only mentioned protein and carbs, which is why I'm mentioning that. Fat and protein are the essential macronutrients. We don't need carbs. In fact, over consumption of them causes us untold ills.

KatyMac Fri 15-Jan-21 07:39:00

Yes I am reasonable on fat not high - I am dairy free and cant have soya, coconut or almond so I stick with olive oil generally and tiny bit of butter if the rest of my diet is causing a happy tummy

I hate having intolerance but I have it fairly well managed normally

Slice meat is my go to snack but to be honest I havent been snacking so much recently so maybe I am out of kilter

Its only by talking that I work things out - questions and comments help me with self assessment I think

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Eckhart Fri 15-Jan-21 07:42:46

Does it tally up, time-wise? ie, when your diet went off kilter, your sleep pattern changed?

I like the phrase 'happy tummy'! I can't digest fibre either and have only recently discovered that, having had years of doctors telling me I needed to eat more. I miss fruit and veg but my digestive system is sooooo peaceful!

LaLoose Fri 15-Jan-21 08:25:06

I know nothing about this, but just have an anecdote to share. I had a room mate at university who did this - woke in the night and ate. She was eventually diagnosed with an eating disorder. I'm not suggesting you do, too, but just sharing in case it rings a bell.

KatyMac Fri 15-Jan-21 10:30:57

I think the depression and insomnia started together

I think the thirst and hunger at night is probably due to sleeping at odd times in the day and being awake at night? Possibly a post Christmas blip in my diet but I dunno

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LaLoose Fri 15-Jan-21 12:15:58

There is a proven link between not sleeping at the 'correct' time and disordered eating. It's one reason why shift workers tend to have a higher ratio of weight issues than the general community. If you can regulate your sleep, you will find it far easier to control your appetite. So make that your priority.

Eckhart Fri 15-Jan-21 12:18:02


There is a proven link between not sleeping at the 'correct' time and disordered eating. It's one reason why shift workers tend to have a higher ratio of weight issues than the general community. If you can regulate your sleep, you will find it far easier to control your appetite. So make that your priority.

Really? Have you got a link to any articles on this? I'd love to pass them onto my shiftworking friend who is constantly in a war with weight!

KatyMac Fri 15-Jan-21 12:19:30

My brother wants to send me melatonin but im undecided; my gp doesn't want to give me sleeping pilss

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LaLoose Fri 15-Jan-21 14:18:31

This is a slightly junk food take on it, but @Eckhart if your friend Googles ghrelin, s/he'll find lots of proper science on it:,in%20appetite%20and%20food%20intake.

Eckhart Fri 15-Jan-21 14:28:59

@LaLoose Thank you, much appreciated.

spoonrace Fri 15-Jan-21 20:24:15

I had this and I was pre-diabetic. Have you had your sugars checked recently, especially as you are thirsty as well as hungry?

KatyMac Sat 16-Jan-21 06:07:53

@spoonrace would that show up in urine?

I just did a strip test (I get recurrent and symptomless UTI so I keep test strips at home) and the glucose level was normal

I dont know enough to know if that's a valid way of checking or if I need to go to boots/a chemist

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spoonrace Sat 16-Jan-21 12:28:42

A blood test from the doctor would be better as it shows your blood sugar over a period of time, not just the moment you choose to test your urine. You can get home testing kits as well that do a blood pin prick from your finger, as it's difficult to get doctor appts/blood tests at the moment.

KatyMac Sat 16-Jan-21 18:51:23

I'll see if I can buy something online

Today has been awful! Less than 4 hours sleep in the last 24- its just horrific!

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