The Dangers of Sleep Eating

July 16, 2012

Moments before calling the day and sleeping, some individuals have this unhealthy urge to eat first. This “midnight hunger” is considered an eating disorder and is called sleep eating or night eating syndrome (NES). Let us take a look at why sleep eating can be scary so we can be alarmed to avoid this disorder.

1. May lead to nightmares or insomnia

If you binge a few minutes before sleeping, your body will be in a high metabolic and active state; and as the body digests food while you sleep, your brain will be in an active state too. Instead of shutting down in our sleep, the brain may bring about activities like dreams and nightmares. Sleep is hampered as the body is not at ease and is in an abnormal active state.

2. Causes unnatural eating habits

People with sleep eating disorders normally skip breakfast, and will probably go through most of their day before eating their first meal. This unnatural eating habit may cause negative effects like not having sufficient energy to study or work. 25% of the calories taken in are after dinner instead of early in the day. Fatigue and poor resistance to diseases are also some of the undesirable effects.

3. Leads to obesity

It is common knowledge that our bodies spend energy during the day, and when we eat, most of the calories we take in the morning gets consumed right away when we work. Sleep eating promotes eating late at night, at a time when we do not usually work or move around, so calories get stored and leads to fat. Obesity is a common side effect of sleep eating so make sure to take in food several hours before sleeping.

4. May lead to sleep walking and even death

Besides dreaming, some people experience sleep walking, which is being in an awake yet unconscious state. Eating late at night may trigger slow wave sleeping that makes it hard to fall asleep and forces the body to act unconsciously. Some actions include simply sitting up in bed, walking to the bathroom, cleaning or even extremely dangerous activities such as cooking and driving. Some sleep eaters binge while in an unconscious state too!

5. May cause anxiety and among others

People who binge late at night may have issues that relate to low self confidence, anxiety, and depression. Some pour their bad experiences and stress on food and this becomes a disorder, more so if they eat late at night. The mentality of sleep eaters is that they enjoy their time in eating late at night, and this leads to social isolation which is not good at all.

Treatments to Sleep Eating

Sleep eating can be cured in numerous ways. One good way to treat this disorder is to contain food cravings. This can be done by certain bypass surgeries in the digestive system or simply by undergoing a strict diet to encourage healthy eating habits. Therapies too like those that reduce adrenaline and stress levels will certainly help to promote a peaceful and timely sleep. Meditation and relaxing stretching exercises before sleeping will help too.

If you do not want to have the negative effects of sleep eating, observe a healthy lifestyle and diet to maximize a good night’s sleep. Sleep eating may be potentially dangerous if left unchecked, so let us take this disorder seriously and prevent it as much as possible.