T Nation

Nocturnal Eating Syndrome


#1

Hey guys, i wanted to know whether anyone else here has had a similar exeprience and can offer some advise or insight into this very annoying condition.

Whenever i incorporate some cardio into my workout routine i find that i can never balance out the number of carbs that my body requires each particular day to curb the cravings i get at night. I have come to a point where i am able to control it a lot more than previously, my food choices are now primarily fruit, tuna, and ham. (They used to be really bad. It became such a condition that it would happen automatically and a lot of the time i woudln't even realise that i had done it!) The times where i was aware, being in that half dazed state, i was in no frame of mind to exercise any control.

I am pretty sure that it nothing more than me not having the proper balance of carb/proteins/fats for the day and therefore the body automatically craves that which is required.

It happens almost synchronistically at around 2am (not sure if it is because i have become completely accostomed to the condition of addiction or that it is actually a homeostatic regulatory byproduct of my imbalanced nutrition).

I'm currently doing Waterbury's total body workout, and running 30 min 6 days a week. (i'm running porimarily for meditative purposes, keeps me sane with all the shit going on in my life, only my time i get thats not in a garage - since having quit smoking i can do this, so i'm not willing to give it up).

My diet is primarily as follows:

Breakfast: wheat biscuit, organic muesli with a cup of yogurt with fruit.
mid morning: protein shake or tuna or nuts
lunch: salad with olive oil and some meat (turkey, roast beef, chicken) or salmon/tuna (rotated)
mid evening: protein shake / tuna / nuts
dinner: salad/vegetables with some meat
evening: protein shake before bed.

Thats pretty much what i each each day.
On my weight days i run at night (i workout in the mornings) and after the run i'll have a standard dinner, but i will have some fruit aswell to supplement the carbs.

I have JB's Precision Nutrition, came yesterday, looks really good. I am very sensitive to carbs and my body fluctuates incredibly. The carb cycling he talks of (ie. post workout meal, workout drinks etc i'm already doing). My meals aren't as perfect as he has outlined of course.

I had a blood test about a year ago, just to check that all my levels were in order and that came out fine.

Its just really irritating when you wake up and realise that everything that you are about to do that day, you'd be lucky if you cancel out the damage you did about 4 hrs ago.

I am 5'11" bout 190lb (87kg) bout 14% bf. In Feb 05 i got to 209lb (95kg) and was 8% bf. But i had cut out a lot of carbs. I wasn't doing much cardio either, maybe 2 x weekly.

I have tried really increasing my carbs (mainly fruit and a more veg) to see if that would curb the nightly cravings but it hasn't really helped.

Any comments or suggestions on nutrition that would assist with this would be greatly appreciated guys. I really don't want to go down the path of supplements, i'd rather rectify this via food choices.

And any suggestions on possibilities of deficiencies that could be leading to this would be helpful.

Much Respect.

Jobe.


#2

I experienced something very similar about 5-6 years ago. It was the wierdest shit ever.... I'd wake up at 2am and eat 3-5 peanut butter sandwhiches. We're talking JIF (the bad PB), white bread, sugar-loaded jam, the works. The weirdest part was I wouldn't think anything of it at all when I committed the act... it was almost like I was sleepwalking. But then I'd wake up the next morning and be like OH SHIT...

I really don't know how I stopped doing it. I guess I just outgrew the behavior.


#3

I've got the same problem, I just don't keep much food in the house that I would not want to eat at 2am were I more conscious. This, of course, translates into going to the store very frequently (3-4 times weekly), which may not be desirable depending upon your daily schedule.


#4

Shit you guys are nuts....get some ZMA..i'd be scared if you guys had bloodlust, instead of carb cravings.


#5

Anybody found solutions/tricks/help for this?
It’s killing me also


#6

So I know this is an old thread, and I don’t think I’ve even posted before, but NES was such a huge part of my life for so long I figured I would chime in on how I solved it.

First, some history. Going back probably 10 years or so, I would wake up a few hours after falling asleep, and no matter what I ate for dinner, I would be RAVENOUS. First thing I’d go for was anything sugary or starchy, and failing that, literally whatever I could get my hands on. I would not be able to get back to sleep unless I did this.

It became such a problem, that my wife had to lock up our pantry, and eventually started sleeping in a separate bed as I was disturbing her sleep so much.

Issues I had from this:

  • Obviously very bad sleep, tired the next day, etc.
  • No appetite in the morning, felt sick sometimes.
  • Impossible to diet down, no matter how perfectly I ate during the day, NES screwed it up.
  • Indigestion and irregularity.
  • Psychological issues, anxiety.

So what did I do? After reading a bunch of stuff on leptin resetting, adrenal fatigue, circadian rhythms etc.

  • I started eating a big breakfast, with a large amount of protein. This was very hard to start, and stick with at the beginning, as I had been skipping breakfast for years.
  • I stopped grazing. One of the things I read about, and that seemed intuitive to me, was training my body to go longer without food. I don’t know if this would help everyone, but my thought was, Why would I eat every 2-4 hours during the day, but then expect to go 8-9 overnight?
  • I ate three solid meals a day, a large breakfast and dinner, and a lighter lunch (bigger on training days as I always train just before lunch). This helped “set” my clock in the morning, gave me good energy all day, and wound me down nice in the evenings.
  • All my meals have protein, fat, and carbs. I try to keep them fairly balanced, and I’ll eat my protein/fat first to help with blood sugar, which I think is a large contributor to NES in general. The exception being post workout.
  • Stopped training after noon. I figured if my cortisol was already higher in the morning, that’s when I should train. When I trained in the afternoon or evenings, things got out of whack for me. Obviously this wouldn’t coincide with everyone’s schedule, but I think the earlier you could train the better.

Now, all of this was purely my own experience, and I am definitely not saying that everyone will react the same way, but after maybe a ten day transition period, I haven’t gotten up to eat in the night AT ALL.

I hope this helps, and just remember to keep a good sleep schedule in general as well.