When you suffer from an eating disorder you've made an unconscious contract that involves your mind, spirit and body. Your contract states, anything thoughts or feelings that are painful or disruptive must be blocked. Your body must deal with their energy so you can be unaware of your authentic responses.
So you eat or starve or binge and purge or compulsively or mindlessly eat to block your feelings and thoughts.
Over time, the contract gets refined so you can feel almost anything and register the feeling as hunger. When you feel tired you will experience that feeling of fatigue as a trigger to eat. This situation develops into a pattern where you may avoid sleep by eating instead sleeping.
You may not be able to rest without eating. You may lay on the couch in front of the TV eating in order to relax and soothe yourself instead of simply washing your face, brushing your teeth, changing into sleep wear and going to bed.
Yes, you will gain weight by night eating. When you interpret tiredness as hunger you will consume calories you don't need and deprive yourself of the sleep you do need.
Going to bed doesn't mean you have succumbed or failed or given up on the day. Going to bed and getting reasonable and necessary hours of sleep on a regular basis restores you.
Before you reach for a "snack" and some comfort food, before you turn on the TV, try going to sleep in your bed. You may be surprised at the many benefits you receive and how grateful your body is.
And you won't weigh more in the morning.
For details about sleep deprivation see:
Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep
- Do you avoid going to bed?
- Does your couch and TV seem more comforting than your bedroom?
- Can you identify what prevents you from creating a cozy and serene bedtime routine?
- How can you make a start toward going to bed at a reasonable hour in comfort?
Joanna Poppink, MFT Los Angeles eating disorder recovery psychotherapist; http://www.eatingdisorderrecovery.com author: Healing Your Hungry Heart: recovering from your eating disorder