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Night eating syndrome

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Night eating syndrome
Frequency1–2% (general population), approximately 10% of overweight individuals

Night eating syndrome (NES) is an eating disorder, characterized by a delayed circadian pattern of food intake.[1] Although there is some degree of comorbidity with binge eating disorder,[1] it differs from binge eating in that the amount of food consumed in the night is not necessarily objectively large nor is a loss of control over food intake required. It was originally described by Albert Stunkard in 1955[2] and is currently included in the other specified feeding or eating disorder category of the DSM-5.[3] Research diagnostic criteria have been proposed[1] and include evening hyperphagia (consumption of 25% or more of the total daily calories after the evening meal) and/or nocturnal awakening and ingestion of food two or more times per week. The person must have awareness of the night eating to differentiate it from the parasomnia sleep-related eating disorder (SRED). Three of five associated symptoms must also be present: lack of appetite in the morning, urges to eat at night, belief that one must eat in order to fall back to sleep at night, depressed mood, and/or difficulty sleeping.

NES affects both men and women,[4] between 1 and 2% of the general population,[5] and approximately 10% of obese individuals.[6] The age of onset is typically in early adulthood (spanning from late teenage years to late twenties) and is often long-lasting,[7] with children rarely reporting NES.[8] People with NES have been shown to have higher scores for depression and low self-esteem, and it has been demonstrated that nocturnal levels of the hormones melatonin and leptin are decreased.[9] The relationship between NES and the parasomnia SRED is in need of further clarification. There is debate as to whether these should be viewed as separate diseases, or part of a continuum.[10] Consuming foods containing serotonin has been suggested to aid in the treatment of NES,[11] but other research indicates that diet by itself cannot appreciably raise serotonin levels in the brain.[12] A few foods (for example, bananas[12]) contain serotonin, but they do not affect brain serotonin levels,[12] and various foods contain tryptophan, but the extent to which they affect brain serotonin levels must be further explored scientifically before conclusions can be drawn,[12] and "the idea, common in popular culture, that a high-protein food such as turkey will raise brain tryptophan and serotonin is, unfortunately, false."[12]



NES is sometimes comorbid with excess weight; as many as 28% of individuals seeking gastric bypass surgery were found to have NES in one study.[13] However, not all individuals with NES are overweight.[9][14] Night eating has been associated with diabetic complications.[15] Many people with NES also experience depressed mood[9][16][17][18][19][20][21][22][23] and anxiety disorders.[21][22][24][25]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Allison; et al. (2010). "Proposed Diagnostic Criteria for Night Eating Syndrome". International Journal of Eating Disorders. 43 (3): 241–247. doi:10.1002/eat.20693. PMC 4531092. PMID 19378289.
  2. ^ Stunkard A.J.; Grace W.J.; Wolff H.G. (1955). "The night-eating syndrome; a pattern of food intake among certain obese patients". The American Journal of Medicine. 19 (1): 78–86. doi:10.1016/0002-9343(55)90276-X. PMID 14388031.
  3. ^ American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Washington, DC: Author.
  4. ^ Striegel-Moore R.H.; Franko D.L.; Thompson D.; Affenito S.; Kraemer H.C. (2006). "Night eating: Prevalence and demographic correlates". Obesity. 14 (1): 139–147. doi:10.1038/oby.2006.17. PMID 16493132.
  5. ^ Rand C.S.W.; Macgregor M.D.; Stunkard A.J. (1997). "The night eating syndrome in the general population and amongst post-operative obesity surgery patients". International Journal of Eating Disorders. 22 (1): 65–69. doi:10.1002/(sici)1098-108x(199707)22:1<65::aid-eat8>3.0.co;2-0. PMID 9140737.
  6. ^ Stunkard A.J.; Berkowitz R.; Wadden T.; Tanrikut C.; Reiss E.; Young L. (1996). "Binge eating disorder and the night-eating syndrome". International Journal of Obesity. 20 (1): 1–6. PMID 8788315.
  7. ^ Wal Jillon S. Vander (2012). "Night eating syndrome: A critical review of the literature". Clinical Psychology Review. 32 (1): 49–59. doi:10.1016/j.cpr.2011.11.001. PMID 22142838.
  8. ^ Lundgren J.D.; Drapeau V.; Allison K.C.; Gallant A.R.; Tremblay A.; Lambert M.A.; Stunkard A.J. (2012). "Prevalence and familial patterns of night eating in the Quebec adipose and lifestyle investigation in youth (QUALITY) study". Obesity. 20 (8): 1598–1603. doi:10.1038/oby.2012.80. PMID 22469955.
  9. ^ a b c Birketvedt G.; Florholmen J.; Sundsfjord J.; Østerud B.; Dinges D.; Bilker W.; Stunkard A.J. (1999). "Behavioral and neuroendocrine characteristics of the night-eating syndrome". Journal of the American Medical Association. 282 (7): 657–663. doi:10.1001/jama.282.7.657. PMID 10517719.
  10. ^ Auger R.R. (2006). "Sleep-related eating disorders". Psychiatry. 3 (11): 64–70. PMC 2945843. PMID 20877520.
  11. ^ Shoar S.; Shoar N.; Khorgami Z.; Shahabuddin Hoseini S.; Naderan M. (2012). "Prophylactic diet: A treatment for night eating syndrome". Hypothesis. 10 (1): e5.
  12. ^ a b c d e Young, SN (2007), "How to increase serotonin in the human brain without drugs", J Psychiatry Neurosci, 32 (6): 394–399, PMC 2077351, PMID 18043762.
  13. ^ O'Reardon J.P.; Stunkard A.J.; Allison K.C. (2004). "Clinical trial of sertraline in the treatment of night eating syndrome". International Journal of Eating Disorders. 35 (1): 16–26. doi:10.1002/eat.10224. PMID 14705153.
  14. ^ Lundgren J.D.; Shapiro J.R.; Bulik C.M. (2008). "Night eating patterns of patients with bulimia nervosa: a preliminary report". Eating and Weight Disorders - Studies on Anorexia, Bulimia and Obesity. 13 (4): 171–175. doi:10.1007/bf03327503. PMID 19169072. S2CID 39452993.
  15. ^ Morse S.A.; Ciechanowski P.S.; Katon W.J.; Hirsch I.B. (2006). "Isn't this just bedtime snacking? The potential adverse effects of night-eating symptoms on treatment adherence and outcomes in patients with diabetes". Diabetes Care. 29 (8): 1800–1804. doi:10.2337/dc06-0315. PMID 16873783.
  16. ^ Gluck M.E.; Geliebter A.; Satoy T. (2001). "Night eating syndrome is associated with depression, low self-esteem, reduced daytime hunger, and less weight loss in obese patients". Obesity Research. 9 (4): 264–267. doi:10.1038/oby.2001.31. PMID 11331430.
  17. ^ Calugi S.; Grave R.D.; Marchesini G. (2009). "Night eating syndrome in class II-III obesity: Metabolic and psychopathological features". International Journal of Obesity. 33 (8): 899–904. doi:10.1038/ijo.2009.105. PMID 19506562. S2CID 22424244.
  18. ^ Boseck J.J.; Engel S.G.; Allison K.C.; Crosby R.D.; Mitchell J.E.; de Zwaan M. (2007). "The application of ecological momentary assessment to the study of night eating". International Journal of Eating Disorders. 40 (3): 271–276. doi:10.1002/eat.20359. PMID 17177212.
  19. ^ Allison K.C.; Ahima R.S.; O'Reardon J.P.; Dinges D.F.; Sharma V.; Cummings D.E.; Stunkard A.J. (2005). "Neuroendocrine profiles associated with energy intake, sleep, and stress in the night eating syndrome". Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism. 9 (11): 6214–6217. doi:10.1210/jc.2005-1018. PMID 16131578.
  20. ^ Striegel-Moore R.H.; Franko D.L.; Thompson D.; Affenito S.; May A.; Kraemer H.C. (2008). "Exploring the typology of night eating syndrome". International Journal of Eating Disorders. 41 (5): 411–418. doi:10.1002/eat.20514. PMID 18306340.
  21. ^ a b De Zwaan M.; Roerig D.B.; Crosby R.D.; Karaz S.; Mitchell J.E. (2006). "Nighttime eating: a descriptive study". International Journal of Eating Disorders. 39 (3): 224–232. doi:10.1002/eat.20246. PMID 16511835.
  22. ^ a b Lundgren J.D.; Allison K.C.; O'Reardon J.P.; Stunkard A.J. (2008). "A descriptive study of non-obese persons with night eating syndrome and a weight-matched comparison group". Eating Behaviors. 9 (3): 343–351. doi:10.1016/j.eatbeh.2007.12.004. PMC 2536488. PMID 18549994.
  23. ^ Thompson S.H.; DeBate R.D. (2010). "An exploratory study of the relationship between night eating syndrome and depression among college students". Journal of College Student Psychotherapy. 24: 39–48. doi:10.1080/87568220903400161. S2CID 144201491.
  24. ^ Sassaroli S.; Ruggiero G.M.; Vinai P.; Cardetti S.; Carpegna G.; Ferrato N.; Sampietro S. (2009). "Daily and nightly anxiety amongst patients affected by night eating syndrome and binge eating disorder". Eating Disorders. 17 (2): 140–145. doi:10.1080/10640260802714597. PMID 19242843. S2CID 25666116.
  25. ^ Napolitano M.A.; Head S.; Babyak M.A.; Blumenthal J.A. (2001). "Binge eating disorder and night eating syndrome: psychological and behavioral characteristics". International Journal of Eating Disorders. 30 (2): 193–203. doi:10.1002/eat.1072. PMID 11449453.

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