What is Night Eating Syndrome?

Night eating syndrome (NES) is a disorder characterized by nighttime overeating and sleep disturbances. You eat a lot after dinner, have difficulty sleeping, and eat when you wake up in the middle of the night if you have NES.

Night eating syndrome symptoms

After dinner, if you have NES, you consume at least a quarter of your daily calories. You’re both bothered by this truth.

If you have at least three of these symptoms and wake up to eat at least twice a week, you may have NES:

  • In the morning, you don’t feel hungry.
  • Between dinner and bedtime, a strong desire to eat
  • Insomnia 4 or 5 nights a week
  • A notion that eating is required to fall asleep or return to sleep.
  • A sad state of mind that worsens throughout the evening

Binge eating disorder is not the same as night eating syndrome. You’re more inclined to consume a lot in one sitting if you’re on BED. If you have NES, you are more likely to consume smaller portions during the night.

Sleep-related eating disorder is not the same as NES. You’ll remember what you ate the night before with NES.

Night eating syndrome causes

It’s unclear. Doctors believe it has something to do with problems with the sleep-wake cycle and hormones. Changes in your sleeping patterns and habits aren’t to blame.

If you’re fat or have another eating disorder, you’re more prone to develop night eating syndrome. People with NES are more likely to have a history of depression, anxiety or drug addiction.

NES affects about 1 of every 100 persons. There’s a 1 in 10 chance you have it if you’re fat.

Genetic reasons

A probable relationship between NES and genetics has been discovered by researchers. A gene called PER1 is considered to have a role in regulating your body clock. NES is thought to be caused by a gene abnormality, according to scientists. More investigation is required.

What is the process of diagnosis?

After interviewing you about your sleep and eating patterns, your doctor will make a diagnosis of night eating syndrome. A comprehensive questionnaire may be part of this. You may also be subjected to a polysomnography sleep test. It assesses your:

  • Brain waves
  • Blood oxygen levels
  • Heart and breathing rates

Polysomnography is usually performed at a hospital or sleep clinic.

You must overeat at night for at least 3 months to be diagnosed with NES. Substance abuse, a medical illness, medication, or any psychological issue cannot be the cause of the eating and sleeping patterns.

Health effects

Obesity is linked to NES, although it’s unclear if obesity is a cause or a consequence of NES. One thing is certain: the condition makes losing weight difficult. Not all studies have found that having NES causes you to eat more, and not everyone with NES is fat.

Sleep disturbances associated with NES may also lead to weight gain. You’re more prone to gain weight if you don’t get enough sleep.

Night eating syndrome treatments

Although little research has been done on NES, antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy seem helpful. Relaxation training was reported to help shift hunger from night to morning in short research.

Antidepressants were found to improve night eating, mood and quality of life in several trials.

Melatonin or melatonin-boosting medications can also help with NES.

Always consult your doctor before taking any medication.                   

A word from Depressionals

You may feel humiliated and hesitant to seek therapy if you are having symptoms that are consistent with night eating syndrome. Please don’t be afraid to get treatment; eating disorder specialists can assist you in your recovery.

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