Eating Habits You May Not Recognize

What is Sleep Eating Disorder?

Sleep eating disorder (SED-NOS), also known as nocturnal sleep-eating disorder, is a disorder in which someone unconsciously eats in the middle of the night. Sometimes, people suffering from this disorder will also prepare their own meals, a great hazard. Those with nocturnal sleep-eating disorder rarely remember these instances, leaving embarrassment and feelings of self-hatred when clues of their behavior are later discovered.

This disorder can either be classified as a sleep disorder or an eating disorder. Foods high in sugar and fat are most commonly eaten, although there have been cases of people eating non-food items, such as soap, or some bizarre food combinations. Eating disorder treatment is offered for those with this disorder or for those suffering from a variation of different eating disorders.

Who has Sleep Eating Disorder?

Sleep eating disorder can affect nearly anyone. In fact, approximately 1 to 3% of people have this disorder. Two thirds of its sufferers are women. Obesity, or being overweight, is a common factor among those with sleep eating disorder. Obese individuals who think that they may be suffering from some form of an eating disorder may seek treatment at various eating disorder treatment clinics across the country. These places range from New York to California eating disorder centers.

It is common for those with nocturnal sleep-eating disorder to diet during the day, leaving them more susceptible to eating at night. Also, many people with this disorder suffer from chronic stress and anxiousness. Poor sleep quality, due to sleep disorders such as sleep apnea and restless leg syndrome, is another factor contributing to the onset of this disorder.

Ten Common Signs of Sleep Eating Disorder

  1. Eating while still asleep
  2. Preparing meals unconsciously in the middle of the night
  3. Feeling angry
  4. Food or wrappers left over from sleep eating the night before
  5. Rarely hungry for breakfast
  6. Easily stressed out
  7. Little or no memory of what happened the night before
  8. Sleepwalking
  9. Tired during the day
  10. Feeling anxious

Risks/Complications of Sleep Eating Disorder

People with nocturnal sleep-eating disorder face many of the same risks as people suffering from the disorder, compulsive overeating. Risks associated with this disorder include:

  • Obesity, weight gain
  • Self-injury from cooking during sleep eating episodes
  • Anger, stress, anxiousness
  • Poor sleep quality

Eating disorder residential programs are offered for people seeking recovery and advice.