Night eating syndrome

Night eating syndrome, or NES, is an emerging eating disorder diagnosis, which primarily characterizes an ongoing, persistent pattern of late-night binge eating. NES was originally described by Dr Albert Stunkard in 1955 and is currently proposed for inclusion in the next edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. The diagnosis is controversial; its validity and clinical utility have been questioned and there are currently no official diagnostic criteria. It affects between 1 and 2% of the population. Although it can affect all ages and both sexes, it is more common in young women. People with NES were shown to have higher scores for depression and low self-esteem, and it has been demonstrated that nocturnal melatonin and lepton levels are decreased. NES is often accompanied by or confused with nocturnal sleep related eating disorder, which is primarily a sleep disorder rather than an eating disorder, in which people are unaware of having eaten while asleep. There is debate as to whether these should be viewed as separate diseases, or part of a continuum.