Sleep-related eating disorder (SRED) is a type of non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep parasomnia characterized by recurrent episodes of eating and drinking during partial arousals from nocturnal sleep. It’s differentiated from disorders of arousal by its primary behavior involving the consumption of food.
- Episodes of Dysfunctional Eating: Occur following an arousal during the main sleep period.
- Manifestations during Episodes: May involve consuming unusual food combinations or non-food substances, engaging in injurious behaviors while seeking or preparing food, or experiencing adverse health effects due to nocturnal eating.
- Loss of Conscious Awareness: There’s partial or complete loss of consciousness during the eating episode, often leading to impaired recall afterward.
- Exclusion Criteria: The disturbance isn’t attributable to another sleep disorder, mental health condition, medical issue, medication, or substance use.
- Adverse effects may include weight gain, obesity, and compromised quality of life due to morning lethargy and decreased daytime functioning.
- Patients typically perceive their sleep quality as impaired due to these disruptive eating episodes.
- Evaluation: Thorough assessment for potential triggers, including examination of medications taken and the presence of sleep-disordered breathing (SDB).
- Addressing Triggers: Remediation by reducing or discontinuing medications causing the disorder or treating underlying sleep-disordered breathing.
- Pharmacologic Therapy: For cases not linked to medication or SDB, certain medications may be beneficial in managing symptoms.
Sleep-related eating disorder poses significant challenges due to its potential impact on health and well-being, but through a comprehensive evaluation and targeted interventions, the condition can often be effectively managed, leading to improved sleep quality and overall health.