Night eating syndrome, or NES, is an eating disorder diagnosis that primarily characterizes an ongoing, persistent pattern of late-night binge eating. The individual may not be aware at the time of what they are doing when they are eating.
NES was originally described by Dr Albert Stunkard in 1955. NES affects between 1 and 2% of the population. 6% of people seeking treatment for obesity have NES and 28% of those seeking gastric bypass surgery suffer from NES.
Although it can affect all ages and both sexes, it is more common in young women. Unlike binge eating, which is done in relatively short episodes, NES involves continual eating throughout the evening.
Symptoms and Behaviors (May Include)
• Skips breakfast and delays first meal for several hours after awakening
• The individual will eat more than half of daily food intake during and after dinner.
• Late-night binges almost always consist of consuming sugary foods and carbohydrates
• Suffer from stress, depression or anxiety, often in connection with their eating habits
• These night eating episodes typically bring guilt rather than hedonistic enjoyment
• Trouble falling asleep or staying asleep
• Are more likely than the general public to sleepwalk
• Tense, anxious, upset or guilty while eating