Sleep-related eating disorder (SRED) is an eating disorder that can cause significant effects on your overall health and well-being, yet it is often overlooked and misunderstood. We’re here to shine a light on the silent struggle of living with SRED and provide practical tips for managing the condition.
SRED is a disorder that causes disruption in a person’s sleep-eating cycle. It is distressingly common, yet often goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed as anorexia or bulimia. People with SRED can experience symptoms such as excessive sleepiness, intense cravings for food, or even eating during sleep.
The Physical and Mental Effects of SRED
Living with SRED can be physically and mentally draining. Common physical symptoms include weight gain, dehydration, and fatigue. These can be aggravated if the person doesn’t get enough sleep due to the disorder. Additionally, SRED often creates immense social difficulties as sufferers may be ashamed of their condition.
How to Manage SRED and its Effects
Though it can be difficult to manage SRED, there are ways to cope:
- Seek professional help: Seeking help from a physician or specialist can help gain a better understanding of your condition and learn how to manage it.
- Create a sleep-eating routine: Create a routine of when to eat and only eat within the boundaries of that routine. This can help create structure and promote better habits.
- Exercise regularly: Consistent physical activity can help reduce stress, improve sleep, and maintain a healthy weight. Even a brisk walk is a great start.
- Maintain social connections: Reach out to those you trust and maintain connections with friends and family. Support from people who understand and are willing to listen can make a world of difference.
Living with sleep-related eating disorder can have a significant effect on your mental and physical health, but it is possible to manage it with the right coping strategies. If you’re struggling with SRED, it’s important to remember that you’re not alone and there are people and resources to help.