Are you noticing food missing from your kitchen upon awakening? Are there unexplained crumbs on your sleepwear? If so, you might be a sleep eater. Although this condition sounds quite strange — it is absolutely real. Some experts classify sleep eating as a sleep disorder, whereas others view it as a combination sleep and eating disorder. Needless to say, this condition is not conducive to dieting, and it can be quite dangerous should kitchen appliances be used while asleep. The official name for this condition is sleep-related eating disorder (NS-RED), and those who suffer from it exhibit the same pathology as typical sleepwalkers.
Sleep eating can obviously prove to be a great detriment to getting a full night’s sleep, and most who suffer from it have no idea it is even happening. Those who exhibit this behavior often have parallel anxiety, emotional distress or other underlying condition. Sleep eating usually entails the consumption of high-fat foods, and sleep eaters often experience unexplained sudden weight gain. Injuries have also been reported from using hot cooking surfaces or knives when in a sleep-like state. Consequently, it is imperative to ascertain whether you are prone to sleep eating — and if so, get appropriate treatment immediately.
Treatment for sleep eating most usually focuses on attacking the underlying condition causing it. In some cases, pharmaceuticals such as Mirapex can prove helpful, although psychotherapy is also recommended consequent to any medication regimen. Sleep eating is quite rare — estimates are that between 1% and 3% of us suffer from it. However, that still translates to potentially over 10 million people in the United States exhibiting this behavior — if you are one of them it is imperative to seek professional guidance sooner rather than later. Alleviating yourself of sleep eating will help fight insomnia as well as your growing waist line — in some circumstances it can also save your life.