Facts About Night Eating Syndrome

Introduction:A relatively new eating disorder named "Night Eating Syndrome" effects over six-million Americans. Night eaters consume over 25% of their calories after dinner and skip breakfast the next morning so they won't feel guilty.

  • 01

    Medicate With Food

    In one of those vicious cycles, night eaters experience insomnia and use food to medicate themselves. They get up several times during the night, which contributes to sleep deprivation. Generally they load up on carbohydrates to increase serotonin and help them get back to sleep.

  • 02

    Depression High In Night Eaters

    Studies at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine concluded that night eaters are depressed. Some leading causes of their depression are dislike of body image and prolonged dieting. Experts believe snacking during the night is the body's method of coping with depression.

    It is interesting that over 33% of the morbidly obese suffer this syndrome.

  • 03

    Is Night Eating the Same As Binging?

    Not really. Night eaters consistently eat high-calorie high-carbohydrate snacks as frequently as four times during the night. Usually they indulge of small portions of non-nutritious food.

    Binge eaters consume large amounts of food on a sporadic basis.

  • 04

    Are There Consequences?

    Yes, weight gain is a major consequence of night eating because of food choices high in sugar and carbohydrates. During the daytime, they exhibit a form of anorexia, usually foregoing breakfast and eating small portions at other meals.

    Some night eaters are not conscious of their actions, similar to those to walk in their sleep. If they do remember, there is accompanying embarrassment, guilt and shame.

  • 05

    What Is Suggested Treatment For Night Eaters?

    Like anyone with an addiction, the night eater is in denial and will probably not seek help. They honestly may not remember their trips to the kitchen during the night. If family members or spouses learn of their condition, they should help the person get nutritional counseling and see an eating disorder specialist.

    The anti-depressant Zoloft and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors seem to be effective. Natural melatonin supplements are also suggested treatment for night eaters.


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