Night Eating Syndrome
Night Eating Syndrome is a disease characterized by a lack of appetite for breakfast and the consumption of more than half of the daily calories after the evening meal. Night Eaters also wake up at least once during the night to consume high-carbohydrate meals and snacks.
Foods eaten during the nighttime binge are often high fat, and calorically dense. After the night binge, the person is usually not hungry for breakfast in the morning. Food intake tends to be limited during the day and in front of others.
It is believed that during the nighttime, individuals with night eating syndrome have a decrease in melatonin. Melatonin is the hormone that accompanies sleep and researchers believe that the decrease in melatonin contributes to sleep disturbances. Individuals with this disorder often have high levels of daytime anxiety and trouble with sleeping at night.
As with other eating disorders, people with Night Eating Syndrome often feel shameful, guilty and embarrassed about the behaviors, and don’t share them with other people.
A Team Treatment approach is most effective in treating Night Eating Syndrome, as it involves both psychological and physiological components. Standard Medical care, Psychotherapy/ Counseling and Nutritional Guidance with a Registered Dietician are all components of successful treatment for Night Eating Syndrome. Anti-depressant Medication prescribed by a physician can be indicated as well. Cognitive Behavioral therapy (CBT), has been shown to be effective in treating the mental and emotional aspects of Night Eating Syndrome.