What Is Sleep Eating Disorder – Causes, Symptoms, And Treatment

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sleep eating disorder

Sleep Eating Disorder is a kind of sleep disorder in which a person goes through regular episodes of uncontrollable eating as well as drinking habits even during a sleeping state. 

During this episode, you may be fully or partially unaware of eating and drinking behavior; maybe you are preparing or eating the food.

In this sleep eating disorder, you will remain unaware and what actions you have done during this episode in the next morning. 

Sleep Eating Disorder may be sounding funny, but it is really dangerous. It is because people with this disorder may harm themselves while preparing food, or they might consume inedible and toxic things. 

This disorder is not only dangerous in that you may eat harmful food items, but it also leads you to face a serious impact on your health.

Sleep Eating Disorder may lead to weight gain issues. There is also a chance to increase the risk of obesity by eating lots of high carbs and high fat-containing food. 

This sleep-related eating disorder due to the side effects of certain types of medication, other types of sleeping disorders, and uneven eating patterns.

Considering these issues may help in improving this condition as well as help in resolving sleep eating disorder. (Source 1)

Symptoms Of Sleep Eating Disorder

This is a condition that comes under the parasomnia, abnormal behavior, or activity that occurs during sleeping, asleep, or waking up. 

This episode may occur during the first half at night after you are in a completely sleepy state. These symptoms include:

  • Some people face frequent episodes during the night in which they eat and drink without any control over themselves. 
  • You may get into impaired consciousness during preparation or eating and drinking.
  • You may not remember your actions during this episode. 
  • There are chances that you may eat inedible or any toxic food substance like coffee grounds, frozen food, cigarette butts, raw vegetable, candle, or home cleaning agent products. 
  • You may eat a high carb or high fat-containing food items or a combination of different food. 
  • There is a risk of getting injured and engage in dangerous food preparation activities. 
  • You will not become awake or redirect during this episode.
  • You may experience a negative impact on health after such uncontrollable eating during the night. 

Causes Of Sleep Eating Disorder

Sleep Eating Disorder mostly occurs while you are in the NREM or non-rapid eye movement sleeping stage. 

It usually occurs during the first half during night sleep and is related to the transition from the NREM to the arousal while you are sleeping and have no control over your body.

However, the exact cause of sleep eating disorder is unknown and not clear. But most of the people who have reported with this show that this condition occurs in people with hereditary or family history in sleep disorder or sleepwalking.

In case anybody in your family goes through such conditions, then there are higher chances that you may also face this kind of problem. (2)

Risk Factors Associated With Sleep Eating Disorder

Sleep Eating Disorder can occur in anyone, but most of the cases are reported by women. This condition usually occurs in people with other sleep disorders. 

Most of the patients start experiencing such episodes in their early 20’s or even sometimes in their teenage. 

These increased sleep eating disorder risks are directly linked with: 

  • Due to other types of sleep disorders like sleepwalking, restless of legs syndrome, narcolepsy, and sleep apnea.
  • Due to the medication of sleep hypnotic-like zolpidem and other types of medicational treatment like antipsychotics and antidepressants.
  • You may have experienced eating disorder problem even during the daytime called anorexia or bulimia
  • There are chances of experiencing mental health issues like anxiety, stress, and depression
  • You can experience sleep eating disorder due to any genetic or hereditary problems like those derived from your parents or grandparents. 
  • You may get this sleep disorder if any first-degree relative has the same experience as a child or sibling
  • In case you are suffering from sleep deprivation

Some Complications That You Experience

Sleep Eating Disorder has so many consequences on your health. These effects can result in many problems like: 

  • Risk of using dangerous kitchen tools like knife, getting burns, fall down, injury caused due to appliances. You may mistakenly eat toxic products or eat something allergic causing the item
  • Face health issues like weight gain, dental issues like cavities, obesity, and poor control over diabetes
  • You may start feeling helplessness and guilty for not controlling your brain and doing any activity during the night
  • You may also feel exhausted during the daytime, and it is hard for you to focus on work and complete essential daily tasks.(3)

Some Frequently Asked Question On Sleep Eating Disorder

Who Have Higher Chances Of Getting Sleep Eating Disorder

It can occur in both men as well as in women, but it may usually be reported among the women.

It is found that among 100 people, there are chances of finding one patient with sleep eating disorder. 

However, the number of patients is increasing day by day, and more people are reporting with such sleeping issues.

It is found that most of these people eat more in day time due to which they start feeling hungry late at night.

Their hunger level increases and they get up from their bed even while they are asleep. 

Some people who are already having any other type of sleep disorder or hereditary issues have higher chances of experiencing sleep eating disorder too. 

Those who intake drugs, alcohol, or other kinds of heavy addiction may also have higher chances of experiencing sleep eating disorder.(4)

How You Can Treat Sleep Eating Disorder

The doctor will monitor your sleep activity while asking you to stay at the clinic overnight.

Accordingly, they suggest medication, depending upon the severity of the sleep eating disorder or any other kind of sleep disorder.

There are also natural ways, but most of the people are recommended to keep their stomach full. So that they don’t feel hungry while sleeping. 

This is the reason why people go through sleep eating disorder episodes. Thus, it is recommended by the doctors that such patients should take meals three times a day and not sleep empty stomachs. 

Final Words

Sleep Eating Disorder is common among women, and it is mostly due to hereditary issues.

However, your daily life situations like stress, anxiety, intake of antidepressants. Other medications may also be the cause of sleep eating disorder. 

Remember to always ask your doctor about how to treat sleep eating disorder instead of getting panic.

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