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Old Thu, Oct-17-02, 12:54
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suze_c suze_c is offline
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Post Sleep-Eating Info & LC'ing

Sleep eating or nocturnal eating disorder is a parasomnia,or a disorder that disrupts sleep, sort of along the same lines as sleep talking or sleep walking. I have found several references and articles on it, browsing the web, and have included a few of them here.Stress seems to play a high role in this... maybe keep track of what stressors are going on, and the relation to the incidences of sleep eating.There are also several other causes,and it may be that one would fall under another category, including medical conditions and hypoglycemia. I have also heard that sleep eating occurs when the person is not getting enough caloric intake in the daytime hours. Anyhow~ I hope that some of what I have found may be able to give you some answers.

Sleep Eating Article info Nocturnal Eating Syndrome Sleep Eating Discussion

Sleep eating: Disorder victims hide deeper issues
Published on Thursday, April 11, 2002

Susan Powell
Kansas State Collegian

Ever stumbled out of bed, gazed at the mirror and noticed a chocolate mask covering half your face? No, you weren't the victim of your roommate's boredom. You were probably sleep eating.
Sleep eating is a parasomnia (a disruptive sleep-related disorder). It's basically sleepwalking with a side of fries.

In fact, sleepwalking and sleep eating are similar in many ways. Sleep eaters, like sleep walkers, are at risk of self-injury during an episode. They might feel excessively tired during the day and they tend to be emotionally distressed, angry or anxious, states the Web site

Sleep eaters, like emotional eaters, use food to cope with daily or deep-seeded stressors. The only difference between these compulsive eaters is sleep eaters are unconscious while they binge.

Sleep eaters not only are prone to consume those precious calories we work so hard to shed ("we" being that small percentage of health conscious Americans), they also are at risk of choking while eating and cutting or burning themselves when preparing their food.

The type of food these somnambular chefs prepare are usually either high-sugar or high-fat content and often strange in combination. A sleep eater might spread peanut butter on her hotdog, or dip potato chips in mayonnaise (oh wait, that's my dad).

So, who is possessed by nocturnal noshing tendencies? The average sleep walker is a young woman in her mid to late 20s.

It's best to lock up your toiletries underneath the bathroom sink if you suspect your roommate is stricken with this unconscious hunger. Sleep walkers don't confine themselves to the kitchen, or to food, for that matter. reported many sleep walkers eat non-food items as well. A woman was found cutting a bar of soap and eating each slice as if it were cheese.

Sleep eaters are unaware of their behavior; so much of it goes unnoticed. So, if you're wondering where your keys are, I have an idea where to look.

Although this disorder affects only 1 to 3 percent of the population, that population is concentrated on college campuses around the nation.

Although the disorder still is somewhat mysterious, episodes of sleep walking usually are linked to stressful situations. Also, since many parasomnias run in families, sleep eating might be genetically linked as well....
And I thought that the following, that I copied out of the last link, is especially of importance to LC'ers.
For an adult, it is important to first recognize that the behavior is not normal. (If the pattern of eating at night has been persistent for a long time, a night eater may only complain of insomnia and weight gain.) Secondly, a night eater should schedule an appointment with a physician. Night eating may be the result of a medical condition or hypoglycemia, both of which can be treated. If not, the habit of eating in the middle of the night can be broken with behavior modification and/or stress reduction. Eating frequent small meals during the day beginning in the morning, reducing carbohydrate intake, and increasing protein intake before bedtime are diet patterns that may help. Protein metabolizes slowly and will stabilize blood sugar levels during sleep. Contrary to protein, sugary snacks raise the blood sugar quickly, then cause it to plunge. So, avoid sweet foods before bedtime.
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