Does Your Child Have Night Eating Syndrome?

Updated: Jan 10

Hi guys it's Dr. Hardy, your Pediatric Obesity expert. Welcome back to my blog. Today, I had the urge to talk about Nocturnal Eating Syndrome. Maybe because it's the holidays and everybody's eating like crazy! The people with this disorder can blend in really well during the holidays and many just don't think that they have an eating disorder. They just think... "Oh, it's the holidays, so we're all overeating". But with nocturnal eating disorder, some characteristics stand out; they will consume more than 25% of their calories in the evening or the night.

To see my video on this topic: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=frZ6MoP_DJg

There are 7 characteristics of this disorder:


1.Morning Anorexia

You just don't feel like eating in the morning; you're not a breakfast person. A lot of people are like that. So, in isolation, this doesn't mean you have it, but if you have many of the seven that I discuss, you may have nocturnal eating disorder.

2.NightTime Eating

You may have a desire, a strong desire, to eat between dinner and bedtime. This is the second characteristic of nocturnal eating syndrome or nocturnal eating disorder.

3.Trouble Falling Asleep

The third thing - that's very common amongst people with this syndrome - is that they have insomnia or delayed onset of sleep. Does it take long for you to fall asleep? Do you have urges to eat after dinner and before bedtime?

4.Food Is The Sleeping Pill

People with nocturnal eating syndrome have this inherent thought that they have to eat in order to fall asleep. In other words, their belly must be full or it's not happening!

5.Depressed Mood


The fifth characteristic is a general symptom and a lot of people have it-- a depressed mood. Within the cluster of all seven characteristics, a depressed mood has to be one of them. A lot of us are in a depressed mood because of the Covid-19 pandemic and all of the depressing things that we're seeing on the news. At this point, many people know someone or have a friend that knows someone that has passed away from Covid-19 in 2020. So yeah... who's not depressed?

6.Awareness Of The Eating


Number six is the actual awareness and being able to recall that you were eating late at night. So there's a knowing in your sub conscience...like you're carrying it with you... You know it's not quite right and you're thinking about it. You may be asking yourself: why am I eating in the middle of the night like this? You have this awareness that it's not normal.


7.Symptoms For 3 Months

And, last but not least, symptoms need to persist for at least three months. So recall characteristics 1-6 and ask yourself: has this been going on for three months or more? Do I have the majority of these symptoms going on for this length of time? Have a heart to heart with yourself. If you believe you (or your child) have this syndrome, you should talk to your doctor.


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