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Sleep-related eating disorders – what can happen while you think you’re asleep

Monday 9th September 2013

Waking up to a rustling sound coming from the kitchen could only mean two things in my mind at 4.30am, either a rat or a burglar. Braving my self up by grabbing the heaviest thing around me (my hairdryer), I head quietly along the hallway avoiding the creaking floorboards and peak my head through a gap to see a silhouette of a man, which closely resembles my brother, searching inside the fridge. I mutter his name to which I get no reply, by this point I know it is my brother as he is wearing the same pyjamas to when I said goodnight. After no reply from him I settle that he is probably ignoring me over something petty, so I head back to bed.

Watching the TV the following morning my brother greets me as if he hadn’t seen me since he said goodnight. I perk up and ask him what he was looking for or eating from the fridge. He seemed totally clueless to my accusation until we looked in the fridge and saw bite marks in the cheese, a half eaten yoghurt and a deep finger print in the butter.

With me seeing my brother in the fridge in the early hours of the morning we could only put this strange event down to him, but what was it that he was suffering from? After speaking to a number of people that we know, one neighbour (a doctor) suggested that he may be abnormally eating overnight and can be put down to one of two conditions; Nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder (NSRED) or night eating syndrome (NES).

According to WebMD around 1-3% of the American population is affected by one of these disorders and 10-15% of people with an eating disorder will develop a sleep-related eating disorder.

Category: Sleep Research

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