Sleep Eating

Sleep-related Eating Disorder (SRED) is a variation of sleepwalking characterized by involuntary, compulsive binge eating at night. Those with SRED often eat strange, inedible, or even toxic substances, such as dog food, egg shells or even cleaning solutions. Sleep eaters are at risk for injuring themselves or others (think of the dangers of attempting to cook while asleep!) during an episode.

In addition to potential injury from inedible or toxic substances, other concerns include excessive weight gain, daytime sleepiness, choking while eating and ongoing sleep disruption. Sleep eaters cannot usually be awakened easily from an episode of sleep-eating. They are unaware of their behavior and rarely recall previous episodes.

SRED may be triggered by neurologic disorders, medications such as Ambien or tricyclic antidepressants or due to major stressors like a death or divorce or after ceasing the use of street drugs or alcohol. It can also appear without apparent cause.

*Also known as Sleep-related Eating Disorder, SRED

Potential forensic implications:

  • accidental arson
  • accidental death
  • chemical burn injury
  • combustible burn injury
  • esophogeal injury
  • kitchen accidents