Sleep Habits in Binge Eating Disorder Recovery

March 16, 2022 Emma Parten

Getting good sleep in binge eating disorder (BED) recovery is important to me. However, I've been visiting my family the last few nights, and I haven't been able to sleep well. I've been staying up way later than normal, watching movies with my cousins, and sipping whiskey or snacking on sweet treats before bed. After weekends like these, I am so ready to get back to my regular sleep routines. When I can't get good quality sleep, I tend to overeat all day. Eventually, a lack of good sleep can trigger my binge eating disorder.

Late-Night Cravings and Lack of Sleep Affect BED Recovery

I had no idea until I started recovering from BED that the quality of my sleep directly affects my appetite and urges to binge eat. Getting better, more regular sleep is a hugely important aspect of recovery. In the article, "Why Sleep Is So Important in Binge Eating Recovery,"Dr. Julie Friedman talks about how sleep-deprived patients are more likely to experience stronger cravings between dinner and bedtime and are more likely to give in to cravings. 

Breaking Bad Sleep Habits in BED Recovery

A few years ago, when I lived alone in a studio apartment, I'd come home from work exhausted from the full day. I felt too tired to start creative projects like journaling, painting, and crafting. I've always been a night owl, though, and the time between dinner and bedtime would stretch into the 1-2 a.m. territory. Binge eating and watching YouTube videos felt like the time at the end of the day when I could turn my brain off.

Staying up too late is a hard habit to break. More recently, in my recovery, over the last year, I've been weaning myself off from my late nights. Luckily, as Dr. Julie Friedman mentions in the article, 

". . . sleep is a behavior. This means that sleep can be taught and modified like any other behavior."1

Better Sleep Routines for Binge Eating Disorder Recovery

Since staying up late is so appealing for us night owls, I've found it helpful to focus on rituals to add instead of only focusing on what you want to stop doing. A nighttime routine should ideally be something to look forward to. A healthy routine before you sleep will also help train your body to be ready for sleep.

For example, I've been trying to give up screen time an hour before I want to be asleep. I also know I love reading. If I find a book to get excited about, I'm more likely to get into bed sooner to read. I also know that the warmth of a cup of tea in my hands at the end of the night is very comforting when my mind is restless and resistant to sleep.

In my experience recovering from BED, having a bedtime routine and an earlier bedtime has helped so much with regulating my appetite and cravings. There are still times when my routine gets jostled, like when I stay over at my family's house, but I know how to get back on track.

What are your bedtime routines? If you don't have a routine or a specific bedtime at the moment, what is something small you want to try doing before bed? If you need some help with ideas, try searching for "bedtime routine" examples online and picking one thing from the list that sounds comforting to you. 

I hope you're able to get better sleep this week. I'll be trying to get to bed at a decent hour, too.


  1. Friedman, J. and Weatherston-Yarborough, L., "Why Sleep Is So Important in Binge Eating Recovery." Eating Recovery Center, April 26, 2017.

APA Reference
Parten, E. (2022, March 16). Sleep Habits in Binge Eating Disorder Recovery, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 25 from

Author: Emma Parten

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March, 29 2022 at 5:15 pm

Hi Emma,
Thanks for share your experience, and as you mentioned, to get a good and for instance quality sleep hours are important, I don’t have one yet but I would like to start with less screen time at night, I ve been overestimated it’s effect before bed
The best energy and vibes and keep strong with this, I’m sure you will get good sleep hours

March, 31 2022 at 1:09 pm

Thank you for your comment! Progress and improvements come in waves. For instance, I was doing so well limiting screen time for a couple of months, but in the last couple of weeks, I've been up late again on my phone. Thanks for reminding me that I need to be mindful of that. Take it slow with changes and celebrate your little victories. :)
I send my best energy to you as well. Keep going! I hope you get some good sleep.

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