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Old 01-08-2008, 12:46 PM   #1
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Question Insomnia and Losing Weight

Hey guys,

I'm having a bit of a tough time recently - with exams, revision, not sleeping properly and trying to lose weight lol.

I just have a few quick questions. You see I suffer from Insomnia which means I find it very very hard to sleep, but luckily for me (which other insomniacs dont usually have) is that once I've fallen asleep and there has been no disturbances [cars outside, people talking, shuffling of bags, phone calls, alarms] I actually sleep! (well this has been the case recently, and I am loving it!)

Well what has happened today is I couldn't sleep till 7am this morning, but around 7.30am I actually fell asleep but unfortunately slept till 16:00!!!!! (first thing i want to say is YAAAY I seem to be getting better) but I also want to ask what do I do? Do I have the breakfast I planned at that time? Do I go straight to dinner? its confusing.

I always read when I'm looking up Insomia that it can effect your weight... which is scary - because I don't want all my efforts going to waste. any ideas?

Maybe some of you who work nights could lend a helping hand?

Thanks guys!!
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Old 01-08-2008, 01:00 PM   #2
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A couple of thoughts. I have trouble sleeping sometimes too, and it does seem like my weightloss stalls at those times. However, as soon as I start sleeping normally, my weight 'catches up'. Certainly, your efforts wouldn't be wasted - so don't use lack of sleep as an excuse to go off plan!

I'm a calorie counter, so as far as breakfast or dinner goes, it shouldn't make any difference at all IMO as long as you're within your calorie range for whatever 24 hour period you decide to use. What are you in the mood for?
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Old 01-08-2008, 01:00 PM   #3
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Seranab -

I've struggled with insomnia for years...and the good news is, the thing I did to FINALLY get it (mostly) under control was GREAT for weight loss. EXERCISE was the key.

For me, if I don't exercise, I don't sleep. Period. I can get away with maybe one rest day and be ok, but two days in a row and I'm NOT getting to sleep that night. I need a good hour of cardio, 4 or 5 hours before bedtime, to sleep well. So if there is any way for you to increase your exercise, give it a try...it can really help.

That being said, once your schedule is all over the place, I tend to eat when I'm hungry, with a max limit of whatever my calories for the day might have been. It is confusing not only for you, but also for your body, so I just try to listen to what it says more than anything else.
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Old 01-08-2008, 01:01 PM   #4
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I'm certainly no expert, but I'm pretty sure that the reason that insomnia can affect weight loss efforts is that (at least this is true at university) when people can't sleep at night, and they are fully awake and still functioning, their body continues to crave food, or you may feel a mental cue to eat again since you're still awake, but it's been 7 hours since dinner. As a result, you may take in a few, to an entire meal's worth of extra calories a day.

I think the way you handle your insomnia food schedule depends mostly on your sleep schedule for the following evening. If you're going to be up until 7 am again the next morning as a result of your altered sleep schedule, you definitely shouldn't simply skip to your dinner meal and deprive yourself of food until the next day.

If however, you're able to sleep at a regular time that evening, I wouldn't try to pack your regular breakfast, lunch and dinner meals into that "awake" time-frame either.

Lots of luck! As someone who spends two hours tossing and turning in bed most evenings, I am totally sympathetic to your issue!!
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Old 01-08-2008, 01:53 PM   #5
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I'd say to have whatever. As long as it's fuel for your body after a 'night' of sleep, it doesn't really matter. So have whatever you feel up to, within your caloric daily range/plan, of course.

(Yeah, I'm of these people who can eat veggies and meat for breakfast. In the morning, I just need fuel, I don't care whether it's sugary or whatever. The Breakfast Police hasn't put me under arrest yet. )
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Old 01-08-2008, 01:57 PM   #6
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Thanks guys,

You're all great - and thanks for the good advice. I'm a calorie counter too - so then yes I guess as long as I'm within my calorie range it shouldn't matter. I feel a bit silly asking that question lol - I should have known that already! lol thanks 3beans and Madalinn... and of course...Jelbb.

Madalinn I'm defiantely going to take your advice on the upping of exercise, I'm one of those "busy, busy, busy" people who believes that 24 hours is not enough time in the day. I get in 30/40 minutes of walking every day MAX. I would love to join a gym - and I may actually indulge that little want and use it as 'pampering' time for me. If its going to help my sleeping - I think its very much worth it.
Its funny though because my body is very sensitive to junk food - I'll become as hyper as a durex bunny if I eat something that is not remotely nutritious, so I guess I'll have to keep major tabs on additives and sugar and horrible stuff like that. Sometimes I'm amazed that food companies can pump our food with such junk knowing full well the damage it is doing to the people who consume said food. It makes me irate at the best of times.

Anyways guys, thank you once again for your fantastic advice. I'm always open for more suggestions and thank you... once once more.
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Old 01-09-2008, 05:45 PM   #7
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Lol thats what I always say to people, that I have an advantage over others because I have more hours to do work lol.
Unfortuantely being at university means that I have to be awake and asleep at certain hours of the day/night - but I'm hoping for the best. That to be honest is when its most frustrating - for example people who don't really know much about insomnia always say "well when you go to sleep get up early" and yes - thats all well and good, except I dont go to sleep until the same time the next night so it doesnt help to do anything but exhaust me and make me more anxious. Lol - that can really wind me up.
The funniest and most annoying thing is when my family are continuously giving me 'suggestions' and I just think, if my Dr. is giving me medication do you not think the suggestions have already been tried, tested and have failed? Ah well - they're only trying to be helpful and caring for me sO i cant get too mad lol.
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Old 01-09-2008, 06:17 PM   #8
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I have the same exact problem maybe once a week. When I sleep late, I just eat whatever I want! Sometimes it's soft boiled eggs and mushrooms, sometimes it's a sandwich and soup, whatever...
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Old 01-09-2008, 08:38 PM   #9
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Is your insomnia chronic or just when you are stressed at exam time? I had chronic insomnia for nearly 15 years and thought I'd lose my mind.

You've gotten lots of food suggestions that make sense, and YES, exercise usually helps. If you are at a major university with a medical school or anywhere near a medical school, my suggestion would be to go sign up for the first sleep study you can find. Or if you have good health coverage or can afford it on your own, get your doctor to refer you for a sleep study. Your body needs sleep to function correctly. Lots of different hormone levels depend on sleep, and visa versa. That alone can make losing weight harder even if you aren't munching while you are awake longer than most people.

Chronic insomnia is a miserable way to live, especially if you have to function like a normal person and go to work or classes.

Mel
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Old 01-09-2008, 09:07 PM   #10
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I actually take medication for chronic insomnia. I would sleep 2-3 hours a night for weeks on end. At other times I could sleep 16 or even 20 hours a day. It actually ended up being related to depression/anxiety for me, and taking medication that stabilizes my mood and helps me sleep, right before bed, has really improved my quality and length of sleep.
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Old 01-09-2008, 10:04 PM   #11
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Yes unfortunately it is chronic. I was originally diagnosed when I was thirteen years old - I would be running on 6 hours sleep a day - which seems like a lot compared to how much I sleep now, but for a growing girl begining to move towards puberty it was quite bad. And Mel like you said - trying to function like a normal human being is the worst. I usually find myself going off into dazes and just staring at a spot for ten minutes, my mind totally blank. BUT what has scared me the most is in the last few months i've noticed that my memory is a bit well bad, I used to have a fantastic memory - I would hear something and never forget it, but now I'm just forgetful for a twenty year old woman is NOT NORMAL.
I'm actually going to the Dr's later on today so I'll be sure to have a good complain about it lol.
Thanks guys for all your help and support - I just hope I dont crack and start eating everything. You see recently I've got Bronchitus, but also i'm revising and not sleeping much so I'm STARVING ALL THE TIME, can you imagine... fighting infection, trying to concentrate for hours at a time, and not sleeping - my poor body must be working overtime and so needing all the food it can get to function, one of my questions to the Dr will be, is it healthy - when my body is being pushed so much to restrict its calorie allowance as well? I dunno - its a sticky subject.
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Old 01-10-2008, 07:25 AM   #12
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Godd luck with your doc...tell ALL your symptoms. I hope you get some relief!

Mel
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