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Night Eating Syndrome Causes Symptoms Treatment

Night Eating Disorder: Do you eat too much at night? Know early symptoms |  Health - Hindustan Times

Although it is classified as an eating problem, Night Eating Syndrome is closely related to sleeplessness. A pattern of frequent episodes of eating throughout the night or waking up during the night to eat is what is known as “night eating syndrome (NES),” according to Dr. Nikhil Kulkarni, a consultant in internal medicine at S.L. Raheja Hospital in Mahim. Individuals who have NES frequently eat most of their daily caloric intake after dinner or when they wake up at least once in the middle of the night to eat.”

We will examine the causes, signs, and available treatments for Night-Eating Syndrome in this post.

What Is Night-Eating Syndrome? 

The symptoms of Night-Eating Syndrome are diverse and individual differences may occur.

Regarding this, Dr. Ruchi Jain, a consultant in the psychology division of Jaslok Hospital & Research Centre in Mumbai, stated: “Eating disorders known as Night-Eating Syndrome (NES) are those that cause frequent disruptions in sleep. Individuals who have NES may wake up multiple times during the night to feed. They worry that they won’t be able to sleep again if they don’t eat, and they could feel miserable or guilty about it. A large amount of the calories consumed by people with NES are usually consumed in the evening and at night.”

Causes Of Night-Eating Syndrome:

The chief of the department of nutrition and dietetics at Medica Superspecialty Hospital, Sanghamitra Chakraborty, stated, “There are a number of reasons, but the circadian rhythm is the primary one, which gets thrown off by irregular sleep patterns, night shift work, or regular routines. Stress, narcotics, or any other cause could be to blame.”

People who have trouble sleeping at night due to disruptions in their circadian cycle are more likely to develop this type of disorder. It is frequently associated with insomnia, which can be brought on by drug misuse, sleep disturbances caused by circadian rhythm disturbances, stress brought on by events such as depression or grief, or other related diseases. Menopause-related hormonal changes may also be involved, the speaker continued.

According to Sanghamitra, there are a number of causes for this ailment, and most commonly, individuals have an open want to eat at night, a condition known as hyperphagia. Whether it’s an early or late supper, this usually happens thereafter. Even after eating, that hunger doesn’t go away.

“Almost one third or one fourth of their daily calorie intake occurs during the night, between dinner and early morning,” Sanghamitra remarked, discussing how it contributes to obesity. Therefore, at this time, a lot of calories are ingested, which causes obesity and creates a cycle problem. Hormonal abnormalities brought on by obesity might aggravate the issue and perpetuate the cycle.”

The Symptoms Of Night- Eating Syndrome: 

Dr. Ruchi Jain went on to list the symptoms commonly seen in people sufereing from Night Eating Syndrome.

    • Waking up to eat: People with NES usually have insomnia.


    • Eating many calories at night: People with this disorder eat more  than 25% of their daily food intake at night. They may eat late at night before they go to bed, during the night or both. 


    • Decreased appetite during the day: Intense hunger and overeating  happens later in the evening and during the night. Some people don’t feel hungry until later in the afternoon. 


    • Depression and anxiety: Mental health conditions such as  depression and anxiety often occur along with NES.


Who Are Affected By Night-Eating Syndrome? 

In this regard, Dr. Ruchi Jain said the following:

    • One is more likely to have Night- Eating Syndrome if he/ she is  obese or has another eating disorder. 


    • A history of depression and anxiety 


    • History of substance abuse  


    • The age of onset is typically in early adulthood (spanning from late teenage years to late twenties) and is often long-lasting.


    • The prevalence of NES is higher in women than in men.


    • Individuals who have a history of dieting, especially restrictive diets, weight fluctuations and who are obsessively concerned about their weight are more susceptible to developing NES.


    • Psychological Factors: Emotional distress, stress, anxiety, and  depression can be linked to NES. People with NES may use night  time eating as a way to cope with emotional issues. 


    • Genetic and/ or biological factors may play a role in NES. Imbalances in hormones that regulate appetite and sleep patterns could also be involved. 


    • Certain environmental factors, such as erratic schedule, working  night shifts, or living in a home where eating at night is common, may contribute to the development of NES. 


Treatment Of Night-Eating Syndrome:

“The treatment involves identifying and addressing the underlying cause of insomnia,” stated Sanghamitra Chakraborty. A person’s body can detoxify while they sleep if they go to bed on time and don’t feel hungry at strange hours. The liver starts its cleansing and detoxifying process about 11:00 PM. This process takes place when someone is sleeping. But if they’re overindulging, their digestive system is overworked. People usually seek high-calorie foods and sweets when they are extremely hungry. This results in the consumption of excess and incorrect calories.”

Furthermore, Dr. Nikhil Kulkarni added, “To help create healthier eating patterns and handle any underlying emotional or psychological problems, treatment may comprise a combination of therapies, including cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), medication, and nutritional counselling.



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