For the last TWO WEEKS I have been getting up 3-4 hours earlier than my usual waking time. It had been brutal; I was falling asleep at my desk, my eyes burnt all throughout the day, red and teary. The big payoff, I thought, would be the ability to sleep, not eat at night and finally beat NES.
The first night I fell asleep the minute I touched the pillow (after I dragged my exhausted body to bed) and the next thing I heard was the alarm going off the next morning. I had slept through the night without eating!!! I couldn’t tell you how happy I was.
The experiment is really going well. I am getting up ravenous but happy, and I eat what I want during the day. Pasta for breakfast? Why not? Since NES sufferers usually skip breakfast, it’s best to eat non-breakfast food that is more nutritious and doesn’t feel like it belongs to those early hours. I also eat a nutritious meal around 9-10 so I don’t wake up hungry. But believe me, by the minute I am in bed I can’t wait to get that rest – and I simply have no energy to get up even when I do wake up (a couple times a night).
The last couple of days I gave myself some slack since it was weekend, and I reverted to NES the last two nights, the first night for some cookies, and the second for an apple. To avoid this, I would recommend sticking with the early hours even at weekends, until NES is on the ground, unmoving and not breathing.
For sufferers of NES who feel it’s not primarily an eating disorder but a sleeping disorder, this method is definitely worth trying out. If you are exhausted enough for a deep sleep, chances are you won’t be getting up. Going to bed with peace of mind helps too so try to plan the day ahead (if it calms you down), write down all that bothers you (that bastard got me yellow gold instead of white!) and let it go. Doing breathing exercises, counting, visualising a pleasant landscape may also help. When you wake up at night, popping up into an upright position, keeping eyes closed and breathing deeply instead of going to the kitchen for NES binges may save you.
Resolving any problems you have is crucial, whether on your own or in therapy. NES is beatable, and part of the solution is believing you can beat it.