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Sleeping and Eating?

I've just gotten used to recording what I eat, when I exercise and have started getting a rhythm done and a plan to eat my fruit and veggies, etc. Now that I feel really comfortable with my "routine" I realized something. I often work 1st and 2nd shifts (10:30am-6:30pm and 2-10pm). Now one day a week I'll be working 3rd shift (2:30am-10:30am) a large portion of when I usually sleep. Any ideas on how to deal with sleeping and eating?

Thu. May 11, 1:24pm

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I read an article a while back that discussed the connection between lack of sleep and messed up appetite. Apparently one of the hormones involved in signaling appetite and satiety to your brain is "reset" by sleep. So when you sleep in weird hours or you don't get enough sleep, the hormone doesn't get reset, and communication between your stomach and your brain breaks down.

I definitely experience this - the day after I don't get enough sleep, my appetite is hugely suppressed. If I don't get enough sleep the next night also, I have a huge appetite, and all I want to eat is fat and sugar.

So...what all this adds up to is that I would say keep high-fat and high-sugar foods out of your way as much as possible whenever you are going to be missing sleep. If you keep fresh fruit and vegetables and other healthy things right at hand, it will be easier to avoid eating crap.

Thursday, May 11, 2006, 6:14 PM

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Plan ahead for what will work for you. Keep your meals light if you have to eat before you will be sleeping. Maybe you can also do something to relieve stress, because stress can make your body hold onto fat.

I gained a lot of weight working nights in college, because I would always eat a huge "breakfast" and then go to sleep. Also, I only slept about four hours a day, and the stress just made me eat so much.

Friday, May 12, 2006, 11:10 AM

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I recently heard a report about melatonin on NPR talking about the benefits of helping you sleep. But they mentioned that it should actually be taken at certain times during the day, instead of right before bed, for the best sleep results. I would probably talk to a doctor more about it, but that may help you have an easier time getting to sleep since your internal clock will be messed up with the different sleep patterns.

Friday, May 12, 2006, 1:04 PM

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Once upon a time, I used to work the midnight shift once or twice a week. I never thought about how to distribute my eating and pretty much just ate a huge late dinner at ~9pm, took a nap if I could, and got through the shift on just water. Is this the best way to do it? I don't know...I had a minor (15-lb) weight problem at the time, and in retrospect I'm kind of surprised I didn't eat or even want to eat during those shifts.

I never had the option of sleeping after my shift -- I either had another job to go to or a class to attend. I would try to nap (usually with very little success) 9:30-11:30pm and, well, that was pretty much it until 7pm the next night. Be warned: this shift will leave you with a feeling best described as jetlag.

I also recommend melatonin capsules to help knock you out -- they take about 15-20 minutes to kick in with that pre-sleep tingle. I use them when travelling or when I need to sleep but am not tired.


Monday, May 15, 2006, 1:42 PM

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