What can I do if I find evidence of my nighttime snacking?

Judy Caplan
Nutrition & Dietetics

Sometimes people wake up in the night and eat but are unaware that they are doing it until they see evidence in the morning. If you do not intentionally want to eat in the night, you may have metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is the combination of high blood pressure, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol and other blood lipids. If this sounds like you, make an appointment with your health care provider to see if your nighttime eating is from habit or disease.

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)

If you find evidence of nighttime snacking in the bed, on the counter, or on the scale, you may want to think about getting evaluated for sleep-eating syndromes. Padlocking and alarming pantries, refrigerators and knife drawers can help, but they aren't good long-term solutions. Since few doctors are knowledgeable about sleep-eating syndromes it may be best to find a sleep medicine specialist who can do proper sleep studies in order to diagnose a sleep condition.

Although there are no medications specifically designed for treating sleep-related eating disorder or night eating syndrome per se, many patients have found certain antidepressant and anticonvulsant drugs helpful. In many cases there will be a period of trial and error before the right medication or combination of medications is found.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.