Sleep-Related Eating Disorder: What You Need to Know

Sleep-Related Eating

for Optimal Health

Sleep-related eating disorder (SRED) is a type of sleep disorder that can lead to significant physical and emotional risk. If left untreated, SRED can severely disrupt a person’s quality of life and even lead to major health complications. It’s important to understand the signs, causes, and treatment options available so that you can take control of your health.

Signs of Sleep-Related Eating Disorder

SRED is characterised by a range of behaviours and emotions that should be taken seriously. The main symptom of SRED is eating at night during sleep. Other signs include:

  • Sleepwalking.
  • Eating very high calorie, unhealthy foods.
  • Lack of awareness during the episode.
  • Destruction of property or disruption of sleep.
  • Frequent guilt and shame post-episode.
  • Depression or anxiety due to lack of control.

What Causes Sleep-Related Eating Disorder?

The exact cause of SRED isn’t known, but experts believe it’s related to sleep-wake cycle disruptions. For example, shift work and jet lag can trigger episodes of SRED. Other factors that can increase the risk of SRED include:

  • Sleep deprivation.
  • Stress.
  • Medication use.
  • Depression.
  • Anxiety.
  • Alcohol use.
  • Obesity.

Tips for Treating the Sleep-Related Eating Disorder

Treating SRED requires a multi-pronged approach. Here are some tips to get you started:

  1. Talk to your doctor as soon as possible to discuss treatment options.
  2. Develop good sleep habits so that your body stays in sync with a consistent and healthy circadian rhythm.
  3. Practice good diet and exercise habits, as these are effective tools for controlling SRED.
  4. Avoid or limit alcohol and caffeine to reduce the risk of SRED.
  5. Adopt healthy coping mechanisms like yoga or meditation to help keep stress and anxiety in check.


Sleep-related eating disorder can be a serious health concern if left untreated. It’s important to understand the signs and causes so that you can take steps to protect your health. Diet and exercise, stress management, and quality sleep habits are key for avoiding SRED. Talk to your doctor if you’re concerned about SRED. With the right treatment and lifestyle modifications, you can get back to optimal health.

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