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If you suffer from an eating disorder now or have in the past, please email Joanna for a free telephone consultation.



Eating Disorder Recovery
Joanna Poppink, MFT
Eating Disorder Recovery Psychotherapist
serving Arizona, California, Florida, Oregon and Utah.
All appointments are virtual.


sleeping person head pillows"Sleep that knits the raveled sleeve of care." William Shakespeare

Body signals often are misinterpreted by a person with an eating disorder. You may have a tendency to avoid sleep when you are tired. When feelings of tiredness transform into food cravings rather than getting needed rest trouble is brewing.

When you suffer from an eating disorder, you've made an unconscious contract that involves your mind, spirit and body. Your contract states that any thoughts or feelings that are painful or disruptive must be blocked. Your body must deal with its energy so you can be unaware of your authentic responses.

So you eat or starve or binge and purge or compulsively or mindlessly eat to block your feelings and thoughts. Over time, the contract gets refined so you can feel almost anything and register the feeling as hunger.

When you feel tired you will experience that feeling of fatigue as a trigger to eat. This situation develops into a pattern where you may avoid sleep by eating instead of sleeping.

You may not be able to rest without eating. You may lay on the couch in front of the TV, eating to relax and soothe yourself instead of simply washing your face, brushing your teeth, changing into sleepwear and going to bed.

Yes, you will gain weight by night eating. When you interpret tiredness as hunger, you will consume calories you don't need and deprive yourself of the sleep you do need.

The more tired you are, the more you will eat. But, the food doesn't provide the energy restoration that comes with nourishing sleep. So, you are in a weaker and more fatigued state every day and especially every night.

Going to bed doesn't mean you have succumbed, failed, or given up on the day. Going to bed and getting reasonable and necessary hours of sleep on a regular basis restores you.

Before you reach for a "snack" and some comfort food, before you turn on the TV, try going to sleep in your bed. You may be surprised at the many benefits you receive and how grateful your body is.

And you won't weigh more in the morning.

For details about sleep deprivation, see:

Brain Basics: Understanding Sleep

  1. Do you avoid going to bed?
  2. Does your couch and TV seem more comforting than your bedroom?
  3. Can you identify what prevents you from creating a cozy and serene bedtime routine?
  4. How can you make a start toward going to bed at a reasonable hour in comfort?

Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

Written by Joanna Poppink, MFT. Joanna is a psychotherapist in private practice specializing in eating disorder recovery, stress, PTSD, and adult development.

She is licensed in CA, AZ, OR, FL, and UT. Author of the Book: Healing Your Hungry Heart: Recovering from Your Eating Disorder

Appointments are virtual.

For a free telephone consultation, e-mail her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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