The Night Eating Syndrome (NES) is a disorder in which a person experiences evening and nocturnal hyperphagia, insomnia and morning anorexia. It is important to recognize, especially if the person is attempting weight reduction.


Criteria for the Night-Eating Syndrome:

(1) morning anorexia, even if the subjects eats breakfast

(2) evening hyperphagia, with >= 50% of the daily caloric intake consumed after the last evening meal

(3) some degree of insomnia, awakening at least once during the night

(4) consumption of significant snacks during the awakenings

(5) features present for >= 3 months

(6) subject does not meet the criteria for bulimia nervosa or the binge eating disorder


The syndrome may be episodic, related to periods of stress.


Night eaters:

(1) take in almost twice the calories of control subjects

(2) have almost twice the number of eating episodes during a 24 hour period (9.3 vs 4.2)

(3) by 6 PM have consumed only 37% of daily calories vs 74% by controls

(4) may be nonobese but usually are obese, with increasing prevalence with increasing adiposity (may affect 25% of severely obese persons)

(5) may have difficulty falling asleep

(6) may have an associated psychiatric disorder, usually a mood disorder


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