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2,500 Calories a Night: Woman's Disorder Makes Her Get Up, Eat in Sleep

By Alexandra Ward   |  

A British woman claims she has a rare nocturnal eating disorder that causes her to eat up to 2,500 calories a night in her sleep.

Lesley Cusack, 55, of Warrington, Cheshire, England, believes she suffers from a disorder that makes her eat anything and everything in her sleep — from fruit and chocolate to paint chips, Vaseline, and soap.

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"I've put alarms on my doors in the hope it will wake me up. It doesn't work, though. I simply turn it off in my sleep," Cusack told the Daily Telegraph. "I'm trying lose weight but it's a constant battle. I can follow a diet to the letter but it goes to pot at night."

Cusack, a divorcee who lives alone, said she became aware of the problem years ago when she would wake up and find bits of food in the kitchen. Sometimes, she'll even cut up food and try to cook it while asleep.

"I can only tell by the remains in the morning. I tend to find opened tins of things or packets and I've no idea whether I've eaten some of them cold or not," Cusack told the Telegraph. "Sometimes I've found soup in pans, but also in bowls — it all can get rather messy."

Dr. Paul Reading, a consultant neurologist at James Cook University Hospital, Middlesbrough, and president of the British Sleep Society, said Cusack's disorder is indeed real, and can possibly be controlled through drug treatments taken before bed.

"Benign sleep walking is a common phenomenon in childhood which usually disappears during early adolescence. However, around 1 percent of adults will continue to exhibit complex activities that arise from the deepest stages of sleep shortly after dropping off," Reading told the Telegraph.

"A proportion of adult sleep-walkers will eat and even cook during apparent sleep, often consuming foods they would not normally enjoy. Weight gain and guilt are common consequences," said Reading.

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