Contributed by: Nancy Dixit
If you or someone you know engages in frequent nighttime eating without feeling hungry, now is the time to be concerned and take appropriate action.
An eating disorder characterized by binge eating at night, but not always outright bingeing, may be a warning sign of a more serious mental health problem and should be taken seriously, according to new research.
People with night eating syndrome (NES) often describe feelings of a lack of control over their eating behavior, leading to feelings of guilt and shame associated with their condition.
Did you know, some studies have shown that night eating syndrome can run in families and certain genes may be involved?
What is Night Eating Syndrome (NES)?
Night eating syndrome (NES) is usually defined as consumption of at least ≥ 25% of total daily calories after dinner and/or frequent nocturnal awakenings.
Night eating syndrome (NES), also known as a nocturnal eating syndrome, is a condition characterized by excessive eating at night combined with disturbed sleep (insomnia).
People who suffer from night eating syndrome tend to eat large amounts of food after the evening meal and may wake up frequently during the night.
It can increase the risk of diabetes, obesity, high cholesterol levels, and some chronic diseases. High blood pressure (high blood pressure).
How is NES different from other eating disorders (such as SRED and BED)?
Night eating syndrome (NES) is different from binge eating disorder (BED).
With BED, you’re more likely to eat too much in one sitting. However, in the case of NES, you probably eat fewer calories throughout the night.
It is also important to distinguish between NES and sleep-related eating disorder (SRED).
NES people are awake and fully aware that they are eating. On the other hand, people with sleep-related eating disorder (SRED) get out of bed and often consume large amounts of food without conscious awareness.
The following symptoms are associated with NES:
People with night eating syndrome may be overweight or obese.
Nighttime is a time when they tend to be depressed.
People may also have sleep problems, including difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep.
- Decreased appetite in the morning
People with NES usually don’t feel hungry early in the day. They can go several hours without eating their first meal of the day. Later in the evening, they can eat more than a quarter of the food they eat every day.
- Strong urge to eat between dinner and sleep
People with this disorder eat more than 25% of their daily meals at night. They eat countless calories at night. They often seek out high-calorie, high-carbohydrate or high-sugar foods.
People experience sleep deprivation or poor sleep at least four or five nights per week.
- Believe that eating is an essential part of falling asleep or returning to sleep
It is characterized by symptoms such as waking up at night to eat or feeling like you can’t sleep without eating something.
Among the causes or causes of night eating syndrome, NES is usually caused by several contributing factors, including:
- Delay in the circadian pattern of food intake
Circadian rhythms are the body’s natural “clock” that keeps your sleeping and eating patterns on track. If you suffer from NES, your body releases certain hormones responsible for hunger and alertness at night than during the day.
- Gene changes in sleep-wake rhythms (sleep onset and end times).
Genes may play a role in influencing who develops the disorder and sleep-wake rhythms.
Melatonin and leptin levels (hormones that regulate sleep and appetite, respectively) tend to decrease at night in patients with NES, which may contribute to nocturnal awakenings associated with food intake.
- Anxiety and sadness are common mental health problems that can contribute to NES.
- Extreme dieting during the day
People who limit their food intake during the day may be more likely to binge eat at night.
Treatment of Night Eating Syndrome (NES)
- In general, night eating syndrome is treated with a combination of behavioral therapy, interpersonal therapy (IT) and stress management.
- Educating and counseling patients about their condition. Explain how to reduce symptoms and achieve independence and control.
- Antidepressants and cognitive behavioral therapy.
- The production of melatonin, or substances that increase melatonin production, helps regulate our sleep-wake cycle and circadian rhythm.
Night eating disorder, due to the effects on the body of eating too much food in a short period of time, can make the person overweight, which itself acts as a catalyst for certain treatments e.g. heart diseasehigh blood pressure, Diabetes etc
Additionally, night eating syndrome (NES) may have genetic roots. For people who are genetically predisposed, stress can trigger low serotonin levels, which can alter the body’s internal clock and interfere with feelings of fullness.
To determine how vulnerable you may be Hereditary night eating Syndrome (NES), customized DNA test Your best option.
People with this condition may consult a health care provider and seek therapy to help them deal with their abnormal eating patterns.
Additionally, you should undergo preventive health checkups. These health tests give a complete report on your health, allowing you to take necessary precautions to improve your health and ward off many illnesses.
Book a full physical health exam today!
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