Sleep Related Eating Disorder

1 What is Sleep Related Eating Disorder?

People with sleep related eating disorder have frequent episodes of compulsive eating while sleepwalking during night.

The person has impaired consciousness while preparing food and eating it, with little or no memory of these actions in the morning.

This sleep related eating disorder may include dangerous use of kitchen appliances.

Person during episode of sleep eating consumes high carbohydrate and fat containing food but may also consume coffee grounds, frozen food or cigarette butts.

Sleep disorder is mostly seen in women starting at the age of 20 years.

Often seen in people who have restless leg syndrome. And can be a side effect of short acting sleep medications such as zolpidem.

2 Symptoms

Sleep walking, cooking food at night and eating food are the symptoms of sleep eating disorder.

The person might remember little or nothing about this next day morning.

Some other symptoms include:

  • irritability
  • tiredness
  • sleepiness in the day due to inadequate rest given to the body.

3 Causes

Some of the following can be cause of sleep related eating disorder:

  • abnormal sleeping patterns,
  • abnormal eating pattern,
  • stress,
  • insomnia,
  • side effect of drugs like zolpidem,
  • abuse of alcohol and drugs.

4 Making a Diagnosis

Diagnosis of sleep related eating disorder will start with physical examination along with symptoms and history of disease. Mental ability of the person is also assessed by the doctor.

Some studies such as electroencephalography with a camera recording patient is done over the night to study the waves produced by brain and things done by patient at night. 

5 Treatment

Medications which are used to treat sleep related eating disorder are as follows:

  • opioids,
  • sedatives,
  • combination of bupropion,
  • levodopa and trazodone.

Hypnotherapy is also used to treat sleep eating disorder. Psychotherapy is also proven to have positive effects. 

6 Prevention

If sleep disorders can be avoided automatically, sleep related eating disorder will be also prevented. Following steps must be taken to prevent sleep eating:

  • maintaining a strict sleep wake schedule,
  • sleeping for adequate amount of hours,
  • peace of mind,
  • alcohol and drug abuse must be reduced,
  • drugs causing this side effect must be stopped consuming.

Proper meditation for stress free life must be done, yoga or mild physical exercise must be done, eating food on time and in regular intervals must be maintained.

7 Alternative and Homeopathic Remedies

Alternative remedies to treat sleep related eating disorders are as follows:

  • Meditation - an ancient method that reduces stress to keep sleep disorders away.
  • Yoga can also help reduce sleep disorders, following proper timetable to sleep, proper timetable of eating.
  • Hypnosis is another alternative to cure sleep eating disorder.

8 Lifestyle and Coping

Lifestyle modifications are necessary in order to cope with stress caused by sleep related eating disorder.

Sleep eating disorder is not a severe life threatening situation. However, people might get frustrated over the fact that they get up in midnight to cook food and eat.

Some socioemotional stress which is caused by this disorder might be cured by consulting other people who suffer from same disease.

Support groups are always available to provide emotional support.

9 Risks and Complications

There are several risks and complications associated with sleep related eating disorder.

People with sleep disorders are at higher risk of contracting this disease. Sleep disorders such as sleepwalking is mostly associated with cooking food and eating.

Women around the age of 20 are mostly seen doing this process which is cooking food and eating at night.

Complications of sleep eating disorder might include:

  • obesity due to high fat food intake,
  • diabetes food with more carbohydrates,
  • trauma caused while sleepwalking and cooking food in partial consciousness.
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