Author Affiliation: University of New Mexico School of Medicine, Albuquerque.
For millions, late-night refrigerator raids are typified by Dagwood
Bumstead, who for decades has haunted his kitchen, consuming foot-high sandwiches
when everyone else in the family is asleep. For others, such raids are not
comic and cause distress.
The differential diagnosis of aberrant nighttime eating includes the
night-eating syndrome; sleep-related eating disorders in which alertness is
altered; binge eating disorder and bulimia nervosa with nighttime eating;
dissociative states in which nighttime eating may occur; and the Kleine-Levin
syndrome, characterized by compulsive eating in conjunction with hypersexuality,
behavioral abnormalities, and excessive somnolence.1,2
Furthermore, patients may show features from several of these conditions concurrently.
Yager J. Nocturnal Eating SyndromesTo Sleep, Perchance to Eat. JAMA. 1999;282(7):689-690. doi:10.1001/jama.282.7.689