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Can't sleep without a full stomach

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I have trouble sleeping and I normally treated that by gorging myself at night until I'm so full I get sleepy. Before I started trying to lose weight I'd eat a big, greasy, fatty meal before bed to help me sleep. It wasn't uncommon for me to be making beurre blance sauce to pour over gorgonzola filled tortellini at 2am. I'm guessing this is what contributed to my weight gain, lol.

Now that I started dieting I find it easy to eat well all day, but once it's night time I can't fall asleep unless my stomach is stuffed. Even if I'm not hungry(but not full) I can't fall asleep, and I end up staying awake all night until I eat a meal, or I just don't go to sleep at all.

Going to bed hungry is the worst because I won't sleep and then I get even hungrier. By the morning I'm so weak from lack of sleep and food that my fiance has to bring me something to eat in bed otherwise I'm too weak to get up. Last time I tried to go to bed feeling hungry because I ate too much during the day I was oddly very nauseous by the time the morning came around, and I couldn't move until I ate something because I was afraid I'd puke.

Should I just save up calories for a nightly meal, or shift my breakfast to noon, my lunch to supper, and my supper to a bedtime meal? I've heard it's bad to eat at night, or is that a myth?

I've tried sleeping pills but they all make my legs feel so uncomfortable that they keep me awake from needing to move my legs around all night.

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I think you need to focus on getting over needing a bedtime meal. I know that is not terribly helpful advice, but those calories are more likely to turn into unwanted weight than any other meal you eat because those meals have better opportunities to be burned off. It might be a good idea to eat some lean protein a few hours before you go to bed. You can start at like an hour before bed and gently push it back fifteen minutes when you feel comfortable. Definitely do not eat processed carbs as part of your bedtime meal or anything with too much sugar (this might even stimulate you to stay up until 2 am!)

Shrimp are low calorie and high protein and I sometimes use boiled or steamed shrimp as an evening snack. Try preparing your high protein, low processed carb/sugar snack earlier in the day so that you can retrieve it from the kitchen without lingering in there too long during unwise snacking time. I find that if I'm preparing the food while I'm very hungry I taste it a lot more and therefore consume more calories than planned. It's not something I freak out about in general, but it would be a concern if I was consuming more before bedtime.

I googled 'healthy midnight snacks' and there were a few articles with little more than junk food in them, but I think this one is pretty good: http://www.sheknows.com/health-and-wellness/a rticles/815799/7-healthy-midnight-snacks-1 Vegetables with a lot of fiber look like a nice way to stay filled too.

Good luck with your journey. :)

If it's just the fullness you need, why not try eating an enormous bowl of vegetables?  I know it may not exactly be comfort food, but it will definitely fill your stomach on far fewer calories.  If raw ones don't do the trick, you can also saute them with a bit of soy sauce- really yummy, good texture, and still not too many calories.  

im guessing the vegetables dont give you the same feeling. have you seen a dr about BED?

It's going to be a hard habit to break, but I think this is more in your mind than your body. You believe you need to be stuffed full to sleep, and if believe that you won't sleep lo and behold, you don't. Have you tried hot milk, hot chocolate, etc? Try and move it to drinks instead of food because they still give you that full feeling before bed, then in time you can switch to lower calorie options like herbal tea. I feel your pain, I had a similar problem for a while when I had trouble sleeping, I believed that I couldn't sleep without sugar before bed. I switched to hot chocolate, then eventually tea with milk or now even herbal tea, but it wasn't an easy switch. I had lots of late night chocolate munchies on bad days, but now I pretty much don't eat before bed.

Original Post by tinylittlefractures:

I think you need to focus on getting over needing a bedtime meal. I know that is not terribly helpful advice, but those calories are more likely to turn into unwanted weight than any other meal you eat because those meals have better opportunities to be burned off. 

I agree that she should try to resolve this issue, so she can sleep on a not full stomach, but your logic is flawed.  When you eat does not impact your weight loss or gain.  If you burn 2000 calories a day, don't eat all day and then eat 1500 calories right before bed, your deficit is 500.  It's the same as eating 1500 calories at the beginning of the day before you did anything and then burning 2000 calories.  The food you eat before bed doesn't instantly turn into stored fat.  Even if it did, that wouldn't matter because you would burn said fat the following day. 

I don't recommend eating all of your calories before bed, but night time eating doesn't make people fat.  Eating too much food makes people fat.  Eating at night and during the day gives people more time to overeat, but it's the overeating that is the culprit.

5 Replies