Ever woken up to a suspiciously empty looking fridge or a messy kitchen? You could have Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (NS-RED)
Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (NS-RED) is a mild disorder where people tend to eat in their sleep. Although not as common as sleepwalking, it is often known to occur during sleepwalking. While many may just shrug this situation off or shy away from taking consultation, it is a lifestyle-related disorder that requires help occasionally. There are a number of reasons for the same. Says Taryn Samuel, dietician and fitness expert, “People who diet rigorously during the day may find themselves sneaking towards the fridge in their sleep. Alcoholism or nicotine addiction are also factors, extreme stress can also infuse the desire to binge in one’s sleep.”
The eating mostly occurs during delta sleep, which is basically deep sleep. Most sleep disorders are known to occur during this stage of sleep, when the mind is known to have very minimal control over the body. Interestingly, this is also the stage of sleep where sleepwalking and sleep talking is most likely to occur. Since sleep eaters are known to often wake up during the night, this could severely affect their day functioning because of lack of proper sleep.
If the syndrome is unheard of to you, this is what Renita D’Silva, a victim of the same has to say, “NS-RED can be quite annoying in terms of what you end up eating in your sleep. It greatly interferes with your nutrition pattern. I remember instances of waking up with peanut butter smeared across my face or even uncooked pasta! There is virtually zero control over your eating.”
Is there any treatment available for the same?
Says obesity consultant Dr Seema Paranjpe, “Its quite a mysterious condition. An extensive sleep evaluation is the first step in order to diagnose the basic problem. Sleep eating often gets induced during times of stress, learn to manage your stress to take control of your eating habits.”
Experts also stress that weight gain and other dietary issues might be related to sleep eating. Hence, it becomes crucial to eat a balanced diet and allow yourself a few treats here and there.
If you suspect you have this disorder, there are ways you can prevent it. Seek help before it gets any worse. Or start putting a lock on your fridge.
Symptoms of nocturnal eating disorders:
– You find yourself waking up at night with a gnawing hunger in your stomach.
– You have very little or practically no appetite for breakfast.
– You wake up to food left out in the open.
– You notice a major weight gain despite keeping a check on your eating habits.
– You don’t have much of an appetite throughout the day
Causes of nocturnal eating disorders:
– Excessive dieting can lead to sleep eating.
– Depression, stress or being overworked can also add to this disorder.
– An irregular eating pattern can be a possible cause.
– A history of medical problems like sleep apnea or bulimia.
– Past alcohol or nicotine addictions