I used to struggle with this issue myself and it took me a long time to understand why I was doing it and stop myself. It sounds like this is a recent (and short) phenomenon for you, so you will probably have more success stopping it quicker than I did.
First, I'm an emotional eater, so when I went through this (in the midst of trying to lose weight) I attributed my night time eating to anxiety. I was anxious about eating too much or not enough. Exercising too much or not enough. And, then there was the anxiety that I felt due to deprivation (I was very strict with my diet). All of this anxiety led me to get up multiple times through out the night and eat (and eat).
Over time, and it was a year or so, I was able to calm my nerves and start sleeping more soundly again. I don't remember what exactly helped me, but I do vividly remember the helpless feeling I had while I was eating throughout the night.
I'm not sure if anxiety is what is keeping you up or waking you up in the middle of the night, but you may want to try to keep a journal by your bedside and, when you wake up (whatever time it is), write down what you are thinking about. It may just save you from running to the kitchen...
if you wake up in the middle of the night, don't get out of bed and do anything more fun. lay in bed, count the sparkles or the blobs on the ceiling and get up when you usually would. yes, it's boring. yes, you'll actually feel a tiny bit more rested the next day than you would of had you gotten up. and yes, you won't be rewarding yourself for getting off of your sleep schedule. if you have to go to the bathroom or get a drink, do so. but don't let yourself do anything else. i've always had problems getting to sleep and staying asleep. and keeping a strict schedule was one of the best things i ever did to fix it. ignoring that impulse that "well, since i'm up i should..." has helped me to get right back on track instead of messing up my schedule even more by reading or eating [i also eat right up until bed because otherwise i will wake up actually needing to eat in the middle of the night] or watching a movie since i am already up.
My husband has a hard time sleeping through the night, he's been taking melatonin, which helps.
I wholeheartedly agree with the person that said to read before bed and turn off the TV/computer 2 hours before bed. At least one hour, if you can't do two :) I get a MUCH better night's sleep that way!
I used to do this too, although in my case it wasn't so much the middle of the night as right before bed like 1am. I never really thought much of it (I didn't eat large amounts) but when I got married my husband was *shocked* that I did it (which I thought was kind of funny) - he said "why on earth would you eat something before going to bed? Food is for energy, what are you doing? You don't need energy to sleep! Just go to sleep." His reaction cracked me up ... BUT I also never did it again LOL. It was that little spark that made me change my mindset and realize I don't need to eat something, it's just a waste of calories since I've usually hit my calorie goal by the time dinner is over anyway. And I was able to retrain my brain so now when I get hungry at 1am, I just say to myself "the kitchen is closed, go to bed" and it works. It does take some getting used to but I am proof it can be done!
2/15/13 12:07 A
Find a good book to read. Reading will make you tired, too. To prevent from waking up in the first place consider not having TV or computer on within 2 hours of bedtime.
I was sometimes doing that to when I couldn't sleep. I have been doing better lately though. Hope you can get a hold on that.
Fitness Minutes: (1,099)
63 2/14/13 11:14 P
You're probably eating out of boredom, you're probably not really hungry. Grab a cup of water and drink, see how you feel after that - too often to we mistake thirst of hunger. If you're still hungry after 10-15 minutes, grab some yogurt or a piece of fruit and move on. Don't ruin your whole day by chowing down in the middle of the night. :)
Fitness Minutes: (4,404)
21 2/14/13 11:03 P
The past two nights I haven't been able to sleep so I get up and eat myself into oblivion; how do I stop the late night eating when I am bored and lonely? HELP!
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