Are you a midnight snacker? It’s one thing to know that when you get up in the middle of the night, you go to the fridge and find something to eat before returning to bed. However, if you have THIS disorder, you don’t even know you’re doing it!   I know what you’re thinking; there’s no way you could eat a whole box of cookies in the middle of the night and not even know that you did it. Think again. This is one of the hardest disorders for doctors to treat, and it’s called ‘Sleep-Related Eating Disorder.”


Sleep-Related Eating Disorder is also known as ''Sleep Eating', a condition where a certain part of the brain wakes up while the rest of the brain continues to sleep. It happens during the slowest, deepest stage of sleep called delta sleep.

If you have this disorder, you don’t have any control or restraint over what you are eating. You will typically wake and reach for foods that will satisfy the body’s need for gratification, usually ultra-processed foods like cookies, doughnuts, chips, crackers, and candy.

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There is a treatment center in Minneapolis, The Hennepin County Medical Center at the University of Minnesota, where Dr. Carlos Schenck is a professor and senior staff psychiatrist. According to an online article he said, “Of all the parasomnias, sleep-related eating disorder has the worst impact on people’s lives. These people have dis-inhibited eating almost every night. They gain weight. They feel miserable in the morning. It affects their whole life and is just horrendous.”

He also said that it can be dangerous. “People can consume foods they’re allergic to and then have an allergic reaction.”

Restless Leg Syndrome is one of the possible causes of sleep eating. “We studied a group of sleep-related eating patients in the lab, and they had periodic limb movements along with the sleep eating,” said Schenck.


If you think that this might be something someone in your family, a friend, or yourself could be suffering from, there is help out there. There is medication that can be given for this disorder that can help control it. It is recommended that you have a sleep study done and if your doctor doesn't listen, keep trying until you find someone that will listen.

You can learn more about this disorder by clicking HERE.


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