Sleep-related eating disorder and its associated conditions

Psychiatry Clin Neurosci. 2015 Jun;69(6):309-20. doi: 10.1111/pcn.12263. Epub 2015 Feb 9.


Sleep-related eating disorder (SRED) is a condition characterized by recurrent episodes of eating at the transition from night-time sleep to arousal. SRED patients describe eating in an out-of-control manner with preference for high-caloric foods and sometimes with inedible or toxic items. Level of consciousness during SRED episodes ranges from partial consciousness to dense unawareness typical of somnambulistic episodes. SRED is sometimes associated with psychotropic medication, in particular sedative hypnotics, and other sleep disorders, including parasomnias, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome. Night eating syndrome (NES) is another important condition in the disordered night-time eating spectrum showing hyperphagia episodes at full arousal from nocturnal sleep without accompanying amnesia. NES could be considered an abnormality in the circadian rhythm of meal timing with a normal circadian timing of sleep onset. The two conditions often overlap and possibly share a common pathophysiology. Studies have suggested that central nervous system serotonin modulation may lead to an effective treatment of NES, while the anti-seizure medication topiramate may be an effective SRED treatment.

Keywords: circadian rhythm; hypnotics; night eating syndrome; parasomnia; sleep-related eating disorder.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Comorbidity
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / chemically induced
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / diagnosis
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Feeding and Eating Disorders / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Hyperphagia / chemically induced
  • Hyperphagia / diagnosis
  • Hyperphagia / epidemiology*
  • Hyperphagia / physiopathology
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives / adverse effects
  • Mental Disorders / epidemiology*
  • Narcolepsy / epidemiology*
  • Parasomnias / chemically induced
  • Parasomnias / diagnosis
  • Parasomnias / epidemiology*
  • Parasomnias / physiopathology
  • Restless Legs Syndrome / epidemiology*


  • Hypnotics and Sedatives