Sleep Eating: More Than Nocturnal Snacking
September 07, 2004
Sandra G. Boodman, Washington Post
Some people wake up to eat several times each night, a condition known as night eating syndrome. Because they are fully conscious during these episodes and are more likely to have a history of clinical depression, this is considered to be a different problem than sleepeating.
Night eating syndrome was first described by University of Pennsylvania psychiatrist Albert Stunkard in 1955, when he studied hospitalized obese patients.
Stunkard noted that some patients woke up multiple times during the night to eat and were unable to fall asleep until they did. Unlike sleep eaters, they did not try to consume unusual substances, like raw meat or paper, and rarely have a history of sleepwalking.
Treatment for night eating syndrome often involves a combination of behavior therapy and medications.