Sleep Related Eating Disorder (SRED) is a parasomnia which consists of repeated episodes of compulsive “out-of-control” eating and drinking after waking up at night. A parasomnia involves undesired events/episodes that happen during sleep and tend to occur when you are partially awake.
SRED can be detrimental to your mental and physical well-being due to the risk of injury by sleepwalking or consumption of toxic items. It can also take a toll on your health due to excessive weight gain and obesity from high calorie intake.
What are the symptoms of Sleep Related Eating Disorder?
Episodes of SRED usually occur in the first half of the night and the symptoms usually include:
- Frequent episodes of eating and drinking, mostly at night, in an uncontrollable manner
- Unconsciousness while preparing or eating food
- Little to no memory of the episodes or actions the next morning
- Eating high-carbohydrate and high-fat foods, or consuming odd combinations of foods
- Tendency to sometimes eat inedible or toxic substances such as frozen food, coffee grounds, cleaning solutions or cigarette butts
- Experiencing injuries or engaging in dangerous food preparation activities
- Difficulty in staying awake during the episode.
What are the causes of Sleep Related Eating Disorder?
SRED usually occurs during non-rapid eye movement sleep in the first half of the night and is associated with the transition from non-rapid eye movement to arousal during sleep. The exact cause is not known, however, it is often prominent in people who have a history of sleepwalking.
There is a higher risk of SRED when:
- You already suffer from other sleep disorders such as Obstructive Sleep Apnea, Sleepwalking,Insomnia, Narcolepsy, or Restless Legs Syndrome
- You regularly use drugs and sleep medications such as Zolpidem (Ambien, Edluar, Intermezzo, Zolpimist), and certain other antidepressants or antipsychotics
- You have a daytime eating disorder, such as bulimia or anorexia
- You have a mental health disorder, such as stress, anxiety or depression
- You have a first degree relative, a parent/child/sibling, who suffers from SRED
- You have been experiencing sleep deprivation for long time
How is sleep related eating disorder diagnosed?
SRED can be diagnosed by a medical professional through physical examinations, sleep-habit reviews and sleep studies.
- In a physical examination, the doctor goes through the medical history of the patient to rule out possible causes of SRED.
- In a sleep-habit review, the professional gives a questionnaire to the patient through which they determine their sleep/wake patterns and level of daytime sleepiness.
- In sleep studies, a polysomnography test is recommended by doctors. This test monitors and records body and brain activities, which include brain waves, breathing rate, heartbeat, and eye movements while you sleep.
How do you treat Sleep Related Eating Disorder?
Behavioral approach therapy provided by sleepcare professionals is very helpful in treating sleep disorders. These approaches try to reach the root cause of your problem and reduce its effect.
Other ways to treat SRED are behavioral changes that include avoiding or completely stopping the usage of medications that may be contributing to your disorders. As discussed earlier, underlying sleeping disorders can also trigger SRED. In such cases, treatment of the underlying sleep disorder will also treat SRED.
If you suffer from SRED, doctors may recommend safety measures and precautions when you are having an episode by offering advice to your household members. The last resort of treatment for this disorder is prescribed medication from a sleepcare professional. The drug that is prescribed is dependent on the cause of your SRED and your medical history.
Are there any home remedies or lifestyle changes that might help SRED?
1. Changes to your surrounding
Making your bedroom and kitchen safer to move around in can help avoid injuries while you are sleepwalking. Food storage cabinets and refrigerators can be locked or moved from their typical places to avoid eating while sleeping.
Creating a schedule for regular sleep and wake times is helpful when you are dealing with SRED. Sleep deprivation can lead to both mental and physical exhaustion, which can lead to severe health problems and disorders.
3. Focusing on a healthy lifestyle
Creating a balanced and healthy lifestyle reduces stress and increases metabolism. Intake of lots of protein and fiber, and avoiding alcoholic or caffeinated beverages will also help relax the brain and body.
Are you facing any kind of sleep-related problems?
Swacon International Hospital specializes in all types of Sleepcare Treatments. Our trained medical professionals and top quality equipment makes us the first choice for treating any kind of sleep disorders that might be affecting you, including Sleep Apnea or Insomnia.
Health for All