Night Eating Syndrome

Night Eating Syndrome is an eating disorder characterized by a lack of appetite at breakfast and by a person consuming over 50% of their daily calories after the evening meal. People with this condition wake at least one time per night to consume high carbohydrate snacks and often suffer from insomnia. The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine has published research that suggests that approximately 6% of all people who seek treatment for obesity have Night Eating Syndrome. Other studies suggests that as many as 27% of people who are at least 100 pounds overweight have this problem.

Because indicators of this disorder take place at night, it is difficult to identify. In most cases, the individual with this disorder comes to the realization that they have this problem themselves, or with the assistance of their spouse. Some behaviors to watch for are as follows:

  • little or no appetite for breakfast
  • Eats more than half of daily food intake during and after dinner but before breakfast
  • Has trouble falling asleep or staying asleep. Wakes frequently and then often eats.
  • pattern has persisted for at least two months

If you suspect a family member or someone you know of having Night Time Eating Syndrome you should encourage them to see an eating disorder specialist. As with most eating disorders, you will probably encounter resistance, anger, and denial.

Medical Risks:

  • Obesity
  • Digestive problems
  • Heartburn
  • Acid reflux
  • Insomna

External Resources

WebMD Overview of Night Eating Syndrome
WebMD Overview of Sleep Related Eating Disorders
Wikipedia documentation on Night Eating Syndrome
ANRED Overview of Night Eating Syndrome Overview of Night Eating Syndrome