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Night Eating Syndrome

What is Night Eating Syndrome?

Night Eating Syndrome is a condition characterized by a lack of appetite for breakfast; the consumption of more than 50 percent of daily calories after the evening meal, and waking up, at least, once a night to consume high-carbohydrate snacks and insomnia.

Foods eaten during the nighttime binge are often high caloric in content and unhealthy. After the night binge, the person is usually not hungry in the morning.

During the nighttime, individuals with night eating syndrome have a decrease in the hormone that accompanies sleep, melatonin. Researchers believe that the decrease in melatonin contributes to their sleep disturbances.

Night Eating Syndrome was first described in 1955.

Who is at Risk of Developing Night Eating Syndrome?

Night-eating syndrome is believed to occur in 10% of obese people seeking treatment for their obesity.

Are there Specific Triggers for Night Eating Disorder?

Research indicates that depression, anxiety, interpersonal stressors, boredom, prolonged dieting, and body image dissatisfaction can trigger night eating syndrome.

How is Night Eating Syndrome different from Binge Eating and Bulimia?

Night-eating syndrome is different from binge eating and bulimia. Individuals with night eating disorder consume relatively small snacks (with high calorie content) at night but far more frequently. Individuals with binge eating disorder and/or bulimia have very large and infrequent binges.

Can Night Eating Syndrome be Treated?

Yes. If you suspect that a family member has night eating syndrome. Suggest that your family member see an eating disorder expert. Be prepared for denial, resistance, and even anger. A doctor and/or a counselor can help them battle their eating disorder.

Treatment involves counseling, and paying attention to medical and nutritional needs.

The treatment should be tailored to the individual and will vary according to both the severity of the disorder and the patient's particular problems, needs, and strengths.


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