Night Eating Syndrome – Symptoms and Treatment

Sleep disorder

In 1955, the American psychiatrist Dr. Albert Stunkard first identified Night Eating Syndrome (NES). NES is a condition in which the person wakes up several times in the night needing to eat even if he or she is not hungry. The food is usually unhealthy and full in calories.

Sleep-related eating disorder (SRED) is not the same as NES. Those who suffer from this illness eat while basically sleeping. You don't know what you're doing entirely.

They wake up frequently to discover food items in their beds or a huge mess in the kitchen and are puzzled by the way that happened. On the other hand, those with NES know what they are doing fully awake. But for this sleep disturbance, you may call our sleep clinic in OKC to see what your brain is doing while you should be sleeping.

NES creates depression, anxiety, stress, weight gain or other emotional disorders. A research has shown that relaxation technology has considerably reduced the chances of hunger and eating at night by 20 minutes during the night. The finding indicates the important element of treating NES and its associated insomnia, stress and anxiety.

Apart from this condition, almost 10% of individuals suffer from enhanced food intake and appetite later in the evening and many others enjoy a late-night snack on occasion. Here are some tips on how to snack wisely before bed and avoid insomnia for those who want to enjoy a night's snack.

Helpful for Sleep

Foods to help sleep are tryptophan-rich foods such as bananas, oats, honey, dairy products, carbohydrates such as crackers, and cereal, bread combined with dairy products in small portion.

Harmful for Sleep

Fluid intake before sleeping, food high in protein and fat, alcohol, spicy foods, nicotine and caffeine.

A man on a bed

Symptoms of NES

The individual is not very fond of breakfast and delays breakfast after waking up for several hours.  They may eat more than normal daily consumption of food, but after lunch and may snack in the night out of the bed.

If this pattern has been going on for two months or more, it may be NES, especially if the person feels tensed, anxious or guilty to eat.

NES has a relationship to stress and depression. The individual can be moody, tense, anxious, nervous, and agitated especially in the night.


NES is a treatable medical disorder starting with seeing a sleep clinic in OKC. Talk with your doctor of primary care and learn about the therapy if you believe you suffer from this syndrome. As with other eating disorders, effective therapy usually needs training and therapy in conjunction.

Nutrition and treatment, exercise physiology, cognitive-behavioral therapy integration (CBT), behavioral dialectics therapy (DBT), interpersonal therapy and stress management may be included in this study.

Contact our sleep clinic in OKC at OKOA.

**Disclaimer: The information on this page is not intended to be a doctor's advice, nor does it create any form of patient-doctor relationship.