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Night Eating: Causes and Treatments

Wednesday, 02 April 2014 01:17 AM

Night eating, a very modest eating disorder, has remained a reason for concern. This is categorized into two primary types. The first is a sleep-related eating disorder and the second is caused due to an imbalanced mental health condition. The latter is called the night eating syndrome. It requires treatments under consultation with a psychiatrist. In this altered eating condition, the person suffering is unable to get sound sleep during the night due to a need to eat late in the night, which causes a loss of appetite during the day, especially during the morning hours. There are various causes for this eating disorder. Along with the various causes of night eating, let us also discuss various effective treatments for night eating disorder.

Various Causes of Night Eating

Night eating or the condition wherein a patient feels the need to eat a full diet late at night is a binge-eating disorder that affects almost 10 percent of obese people. However, this disorder can affect anyone, with causes for the disorder varying from person to person. Treatments are based accordingly.

Among the listed causes of night eating syndrome, these are the chief ones:
  • Biological causes: Night eating disorder is a binge eating disorder with causes emerging from hormonal irregularities. Patients with the sleep-related eating disorder may have a hormonal imbalance that causes the urge to eat an irregular or oddly timed diet followed by a loss of appetite in the daytime. A high level of cortical, low melatonin, and low leptin hormone are among common causes of night eating.
  • Psychological causes: The psychological causes for night eating syndrome exist. However, inadequate evidence is available for connecting the disorder with either depression or any specific mental illness. Yet, studies and researches are ongoing to identify the psychological causes for night eating or the curious habit of taking a diet late in the night and avoiding a regular daytime diet.

Treatments can control night eating or the sleep-related eating disorder that causes the patient to desire getting a full diet late in the night, with the possibility of interrupted sleep and improper digestion.

The following treatments can help patients to deal with this disorder:
  • Leptin hormone is the “hunger hormone” that elicits hunger in people. In the hormonal treatments, an increase in the level of nocturnal melanin hormone can help decrease the leptin hormone levels at night, which reduces the hunger pangs occurring late at night. This is among possible treatments to reduce dependence on a late-at-night diet and effectively control the night eating disorder.
  • Tryptophan, an amino acid in the body, also helps in treating the late-night dietary disorder. Treatments increase the level of tryptophan in the patient’s body. This is among the possible treatments of night eating syndrome that help control the urge to overeat or take a very rich diet late at night and prevent sleep disruptions.
  • Among other best-known treatments are cognitive behavioral therapy, muscle relaxation, and behavioral weight loss. These treatments are effective to control the need of a full or rich diet during the wee hours of the night and help patients get a sound sleep.
The causes and treatments for and night eating syndrome can help you understand this mild binge eating habit that can disturb sleep and lead to persons taking unhealthy and erratic night diets.

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Night eating is a kind of eating disorder in which patients have the urge to eat late in the night with a loss of appetite in the morning. Though mainly a sleep-related eating disorder, there are reasons for this dietary disorder emerging from poor mental health conditions.
Wednesday, 02 April 2014 01:17 AM
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