Night Eating Syndrome

Night eating syndrome (NES) is an eating disorder, characterized by a delayed circadian pattern of food intake.[1] Although there is some degree of comorbidity with binge eating disorder,[1] it differs from binge eating in that the amount of food consumed in the night is not necessarily objectively large nor is a loss of control over food intake required. It was originally described by Albert Stunkard in 1955[2] and is currently included in the other specified feeding or eating disorder category of the DSM-5.[3] Research diagnostic criteria have been proposed[1] and include evening hyperphagia (consumption of 25% or more of the total daily calories after the evening meal) and/or nocturnal awakening and ingestion of food two or more times per week. The person must have awareness of the night eating to differentiate it from the parasomnia sleep-related eating disorder (SRED). Three of five associated symptoms must also be present: lack of appetite in the morning, urges to eat at night, belief that one must eat in order to fall back to sleep at night, depressed mood, and/or difficulty sleeping.


Cluster Number:
Wiki Number: PW135
Diagnosis: Night Eating Syndrome
US Patients: 1-2%; approximately 10% of obese persons
World Patients:
Sex Ratio:
Age Onset:
Brain Area: Reduced serotonin in the brain may be a factor
Symptoms: lack of morning appetite; urges to eat at night; belief in needing to eat to fall back asleep; depression; 
difficulty sleeping
Progression: likely have 25+% of calories consumed after the evening meal; occurs more than twiceor more per week
Causes: The person is fully awake while eating, this is not “sleep-eating.”
Therapies: Eating foods high in serotonin (bananas) or tryptophan (turkey) , but these do not affect serotonin or
 tryptophan in the brain


The world-wide medical research
reports chosen for each diagnosis 

Clicking each title opens the
PubMed article’s summary-abstract.

  • Night Eating Syndrome in Patients With Obesity and Binge Eating Disorder: A Systematic Review
    by Jasmine Kaur on January 24, 2022

    Night eating syndrome (NES) is currently classified as an Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorder (OSFED) under the Diagnostic Statistical Manual-5 (DSM-5). This systematic review aims to consolidate the studies that describe the sociodemographic, clinical and psychological features of NES in a population of patients with eating disorders (ED), obesity, or those undergoing bariatric surgery, and were published after the publication of the DSM-5. A further aim was to compare, where possible,...

  • The association between episodes of night eating and levels of depression in the general population
    by Woorim Kim on January 17, 2022

    OBJECTIVE: Research has suggested that a correlation may exist between depressive mood and episodes of night eating. This study aimed to examine whether having episodes of night eating was associated with increased levels of depression.

  • Effects of night eating and binge eating disorders on general health in university students in Lebanon
    by Lemir Majed El Ayoubi on January 10, 2022

    CONCLUSION: Relatively high prevalence of NES and BED was noted in university students in Lebanon. This was correlated to a household income, general health, and BMI. The repercussion on both physical and mental morbidities highlights the importance for stepping up of the Lebanese organizational system to perform periodic screening.

  • Turtle Headache
    by Pavan Patel on January 1, 2022

    Turtle headache is a subtype of the broader category of hypnic headache. This condition is a rare, episodic headache syndrome first described in late 1980. Hypnic headaches can occur as either a primary headache disorder or potentially secondary to a malignant process. It also has the names "clock-wise" headache or an "alarm clock" headache due to its clinical features. It characteristically presents as a strictly sleep-associated headache with a repetitive pattern in the sense that it occurs at...