Sometimes It’s More Than Just a Midnight Snack

By Rogers Memorial Hospital

Night eating syndrome, or repeatedly waking up to eat food, even after an evening meal, shouldn’t just be shrugged off as your “midnight snack.” Regular night eating can upset social or occupational relationships, or even impair your daily functioning due to lack of restorative sleep. Night eating can also disrupt your daytime eating schedule, making you not hungry enough to eat breakfast until much later in the day or eat less throughout the day.

Although this eating practice sounds similar to the excessive consumption commonly associated with binge eating, the two are not the same. People with night eating syndrome snack repeatedly throughout the night hours, while people with binge eating disorder eat a large amount of food in a single sitting. People who binge eat also do not typically over-consume during the night.

While people that have night eating syndrome are fully aware that they are waking up to eat, people with a sleep-related eating disorder are not. A person that has this disorder often sleepwalks, or has diminished consciousness while onhealthy cipro they roll out of bed, prepare food and eat it— that is until they find wrappers, opened containers or other evidence the next morning.

This disorder can easily become dangerous since a person may unknowingly harm themselves with kitchen appliances, flames from a gas stove or utensils while preparing food. People with a sleep-related disorder have also been known to consume non-edible materials or frozen food, all while in their unconscious or impaired state.

Even though a person isn’t fully conscious when they are eating, a person with this disorder may still feel tired throughout the day. There are also potential medical concerns that could arise from this disorder, including weight gain, diabetes and dental decay.

Although its name is deceiving, sleep-related eating disorder is not a type of eating disorder. Rather, it is a type of sleep disorder. Sleep-related eating disorder is not as prevalent as sleepwalking is and is also more common among women.

If you are experiencing disordered eating, contact Rogers at 800-767-4411 and request a screening or request one online at