Thank you all for your thoughts. Some back ground on the sleep. The lack of sleep is primarily related to the time of year combined with a newly diagnosed bout of depression. As part of the strategy to address the depression, which includes drug therapy and working with a psychologist, I'm also focussing on good nutrition and exercise. I have taken many sleep aids over the years including prescription and over the counter (incl. melatonin) and the side effects are prohibitive for me (for some reason I become oddly aggressive!). I have good sleep hygiene - steady sleep and waking times, dark cool room, established bedtime routine etc.
As a way to try and get a handle on this insane hunger, I initially followed my standard clean eating routine. However, the hunger seems go have gotten worse so I'm trying lower carb eating with the focus on protein/fat with some carbohydrates. I'm not going extreme low carb, just lower as eating breads etc seems to make it worse.
1/21/13 8:18 P
I have no advice for you, but I wanted to say that I understand your pain. When I don't get enough sleep, I am so hungry, there is no food or healthy meal that can satisfy me. Let me tell you about what just happened to me...
I had eaten perfectly for over 3 months straight. (That includes over the holidays.) I never ever ever ate over my calorie range, didn't have one cheat meal, didn't eat one holiday cookie/treat/etc. PERFECTION. Then on Monday January 7th, I went to bed and could not sleep. I was awake the whole night. The next day I was literally was so hungry, and so mentally exhausted, that I ate over 4000 calories!!! Now you might think that I got some sleep and was back to normal the next day... but I didn't. I binged for 10 days straight. One night of no sleep, completely messed up my head. I'm finally back on track, but it was awful.
That hasn't happened before, and I certainly hope it doesn't happen again. But I know exactly what you mean. When I don't get enough sleep, I'm starving. I can eat the most nutritious, satisfying foods, but it just doesn't help. :-/
Inadequate sleep really messes with your hormones that regulate hunger and fullness. This is well documented. I am going to be very honest. Until you have the sleep issue in better control---weight loss may not be in the immediate future. I suggest working closely with your doctor and tackle the sleep issue first. Eat healthy meals. And do exercise. Once sleeping better then focus more on the eating issues (it will be so much easier when those hormones are in better control). SP Dietitian Becky
The OP said she is already working with her doctor on a solution. And no--you do not have to have a prescription for Melatonin but you should ALWAYS talk to your doctor about ANY supplement you may be taking. Some will interfere with prescription meds. A big problem seems to be many brands contain too high a dose. 3-5 MG.
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310 1/21/13 6:52 P
Re Melatonin; you don't have to ask a doc to take melatonin. I haven't heard of any major contraindications for melatonin, and have seen many doctors prescribe it in hospitals for patients with mild sleep disturbances (can't sleep due to whatever), as a far simpler and safer alternative to other sleep aids...and according to some doctors, since the body breaks down excess, the pills have little more than a placebo effect anyway, so take that as you will. Its safer than most of the other pills that make you fall asleep, and while its a regulatory hormone as the article said, its increase basically mitigates you getting tired, so it indirectly *does* make you want to sleep. Also, a lot of the melatonin in the pills isn't usable (gets broken down before it reaches its target since the body has machinery to do just that to its hormones, so the "larger" doses are actually fine. Having said that (and I do take melatonin sometimes, when stress simply won't let me sleep), there are far better ways to regulate your sleep, and that is to change your habits! The brain is a powerful thing, and often the associations it makes are enough to mitigate the process. -Don't lie in bed, and certainly don't read, watch tv, etc. Make it a place that has one purpose and one purpose only... and your brain will realize that getting into bed = sleep time and will act accordingly. The reason hotels provide those chairs/tables is exactly this; they found out that forcing occupants to do stuff on the bed (for lack of a desk/chair) made guests more likely to find the bed 'uncomfortable' due to not being able to fall asleep as easily. - Don't eat a few hours before bed. Eating food makes you sleepy, yes, but digesting while trying to fall asleep makes both processes harder. - Stick to a schedule. Try to go to bed as close to the same hour as possible. This will make you more able to get melatonin the natural way, and your body will be tired when it should be, not when you need to be up and about. hope that helps!
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1/21/13 4:43 P
I feel for you...i am the same way. Over the past year i have been taking melatonin approx 1 hr before i try and go to sleep, it's really helped me. And it sounds silly, but i also have a pattern before i go to bed. This might not be something that you are able to do (work, children etc...), but as i said it helps me. I watch TV for a bit, take a melatonin, read in bed for a bit, then lights out. Maybe this is something you've tried as well. I know back in the days (and still occasionally), when i have a rough night of sleeping, i also feel like i could eat all day long and still not have enough energy. :-l Hopefully you and your doctor can work it out!
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9,717 1/21/13 3:36 P
What kinds of meals are you eating? Could you provide some specifics?
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1/21/13 2:43 P
there is a specific hormone that gets out of whack when you don't get your zzz's... it causes you to not feel full, regardless of your calorie intake. The hormone is Leptin, and when it is in balance, you can control your hunger much better.... I fully believe leptin had a huge role in my weight gain over the last 3 years, with a little boy who was up 5 times a night. Now that he sleeps through, finally, at almost 4 years old, I feel in control of my appetite.
1/21/13 2:31 P
I very frequently have problems sleeping and only get 3-4 hours a night. I'm working on this with my doctor with various strategies. In the meantime, I find that on days after a bad night I am starving all day. No matter how big, healthy, or satisfying my meals and snacks are I'm starving within about 1.5 hours. Why is this? Also, besides the obvious of getting more sleep, is there anyway to control or prevent this?