Night hunger: what to do and why does it come?
Waking up in the middle of the night or being unable to sleep because of an attack night hunger. And at that point, warn themUrge to eat to finally be able to sleepThen he struggles with the guilt of succumbing to the temptation of eating.
There night eating syndromefirst codified in 1955 by Albert stunk cardsa psychiatrist at the University of Philadelphia, is perhaps the least known eating disorder. you can heal However, you need to rely on more specialists and change your lifestyle first.
Night Hunger: The Spread of Night Eating Syndrome
Night eating syndrome is not very common: it is estimated that around 2% of the world’s population suffers from it. AND is common in obese or overweight people. But how do you actually differentiate this suffering from the occasional urge to indulge in one that we almost certainly all know? midnight snack? Who are the most affected people and what are the causes?
It is a reversal of the normal circadian hormonal rhythm
A study conducted by Dr. Stunkard itself and the University of Philadelphia in collaboration with the Norwegian University of Tromsø and later published in the Journal of the American Medical Associationhe identified a change in hormonal mechanisms as the cause of nocturnal eating syndrome. Based on this study, which observed patients admitted to Tromsø University Hospital for 24 hours, it turned out that those affected by the disorder experienced intermittent reversals of normal circadian hormone rhythms melatoninThe affects sleepand the leptinwhich has the effect of instead stimulate the appetite.
They use the night to eat unseen
The habit of eating in the dark it also conceals psychological mechanisms which should be taken into account to better understand the problem. It’s like taking advantage of nightfall not be seen by your partner or family members. At the same time the Night represents a moment in which Those who are alone feel their loneliness even more and may feel inspired to allay his fears by venting them through food.
The identity of those who suffer from night hunger
Different and similar in their nocturnal feeding needs. The profiles of people suffering from night hunger can vary greatly.
- people with a history of eating disordermostly women, are usually controlled in daily life and aim their explosive charges at food.
- The stressed people Use food as an outlet. Under pressure, they have a strong appetite: eating becomes a source of satisfaction and relaxation.
- Some compulsive eaters They prefer to eat at night because it makes them feel less observed and more free. In this case, the food looks like this dependency: some, as is the case with many bulimic patientsThey pounce on any kind of food that comes their way without paying attention to the taste or the order of the food; others, on the other hand, focus on tasty and rewarding foods.
The alarm bells are ringing
When it comes to mental disorders, one should not generalize. However, there are signs that those suffering from night eating syndrome have in common.
- loss of appetite in the morning: Eating during the night, tiredness, waking up not wanting to eat breakfast;
- Tendency to concentrate food intake in the evening hours: Typically, those suffering from nocturnal eating disorder consume the majority of their daily calories in the evening, starting with dinner;
- difficulty falling asleep and frequent nocturnal awakenings: It is difficult to sleep, sleep is difficult and often interrupted. Eating or binge eating seems to be the only way to get back to sleep;
- Low mood, depression, low self-esteem: Often people affected by eating disorders are depressed or anxious. Eating is one way to relieve anxietyWhen this is not the case, as is the case for people with bulimia or binge eating disorder, guilt takes over. We blame ourselves for not controlling ourselves and suffer the effects of binge eating on our physical appearance.
Awakening occurs in certain stages of sleep
Those who can fall asleep but wake up at some point usually do so at certain times sleep stages. In particular, these are those in which the dream activity is particularly intense. For example, it may happen that this is the case a bad dream Have him suddenly wake up in fear and go straight to the fridge. Here are the tips to enter a vicious circle that you can get out of.
The first steps to getting better
lifestyle interventionTaking into account bad habits that can interfere with sleep hygiene is the first step to recovery.
- Avoid tea, coffee, ginseng and cola: The substances contained in these foods not only have a stimulating effect, but also suppress the production of serotonin and melatonin, two vital substances for a correct sleep-wake cycle.
- Always go to bed at the same time, without worrying too much if you wake up several times a night, especially for the first few days. In this case, it is important not to let it overwhelm youI really want to go back to sleep Immediately you can direct your energy to activities other than eating, such as taking a shower or reading a book.
- Avoid strenuous activities in the eveningsuch as watching TV, meeting friends, or doing a very intense job or training. It is much better to prioritize relaxing activities, such as taking a hot bath or listening to classical music.
The experts ask for help
He will be able to support the patient in this Nutritional Rehabilitation Program which, in this case, leads him to distribute meals properly throughout the day. It is necessary to divide meals into 4-5 per day, and concentrate more substantial meals in the first part of the day.
If necessary, he can intervene drug therapy to manage depression, common in patients with night eating syndrome. Typically, benzodiazepine-based medications are used to relieve anxiety and relax, as well as specific treatments that can restore the balance between feelings of hunger and satiety.
L’Approach psychological can be of type first behavioral insight, with the aim of immediately correcting the attitudes that lead to nighttime eating. With that in mind, it makes sense to detach yourself from the situation and not let thoughts of self-humiliation overwhelm you. The path must then be oriented Identify the underlying reasons from the problem.
Group therapy and mindfulness
Group therapy can be very effective from the start Comparison with those living in the same situation change their behavior to find a positive outlook on life. also learn Practicing relaxation techniques helps the ability to manage, to make decisions and thus to cope with the problem.