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So just a warning this may be slightly graphic and disturbing to some who are sensitive to bodily functions. (I won't go into major detail, but I wanted to include a warning just incase).

 

For the past year I have noticed that when I keep food anywhere around my bed, I often wake up in the middle of the night, half awake, and eat it. Usually not all of it, but I'm semi-consciously aware, in my sleep, that food is nearby, and I will either roll over to get it or sit up and grab it from the foot of my bed. I have done this several times, even recalling eating with my eyes closed and breathing deeply as if I were about to fall back asleep. I always finish what I'm eating at the time, I've never gone back to sleep with half eaten food in my hand or on my bed.

 

Last night I woke up and started eating some cookies that I had left in their container on the floor next to my bed. I do not recall how many I ate, but when I was done, I immediately closed my eyes and dozed off. I don't know how much later, but I vaguely remember being half awake and feeling as if I was choking. I believe the cookies started a bout of acid reflux and, well, here's the gross part, I think the bile was rising in my throat and I felt like I was choking. I wasn't even awake enough to get up and fully wake myself to do anything about it. I recall trying to cough a bit to clear my throat, but even not being able to breathe fully for a few seconds did not disturb me enough to rouse me from my sleep.

 

The obvious solution is to NOT keep food in my room. I have never left my room and sleep walked to the kitchen to eat while I am half asleep.

 

Is this common for anybody? Should I be more alarmed than I am? I am disturbed, but more in... exasperation you could say on not even being able to fully wake up to do something about it. I feel like I could have died in my sleep by this and the food is still there. What the hell.

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Is it possible a medication could be causing this? I developed sleep walking and sleep eating behaviors on Ambien, only I had absolutely no recollection of doing any of it and the only way I knew it was happening would be when I woke up somewhere that I didn't fall asleep and was surrounded with food containers. It made me feel REALLY uneasy, though, because if I could do all that in my sleep, what the hell else could I end up doing? So I got the hell off that med and it hasn't happened since. 

Edited by hagar running
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Is it possible a medication could be causing this? I developed sleep walking and sleep eating behaviors on Ambien, only I had absolutely no recollection of doing any of it and they only way I knew it was happening would be when I woke up somewhere that I didn't fall asleep and was surrounded with food containers. It made me feel REALLY uneasy, though, because if I could do all that in my sleep, what the hell else could I end up doing? So I got the hell off that med and it hasn't happened since. 

 

That's an interesting point. I'm not sure. I do take the bulk of my medication at night. My psychiatrist had originally suggested taking the Abilify in the morning as it caused some people to feel energetic, but it had the opposite effect on me. So, with his approval, I take it at night with 200mg of Zoloft and within the past two/three weeks 15mg of Buspar. For the most part my medication has been stable for the past two years, and this has only been going on for at the most a year. I have recently been out of the Abilify, though and under stress because of it and in addition to not being able to cope well with daily stressers. I don't take any prescribed sleep aids, except the occasional dose of over the counter Melatonin when I really can't sleep. I do wake up a lot at night in general, but man, when there's food around, it's like the first thing I think about, even being partially sleeping and I'm already grabbing for it. I definitely need to work on not keeping any food in my room.

 

That would terrify me if I had been in your situation! It is scary to think what we're capable of doing in our sleep without being aware of it because of side effects of a sleep aid/medication!

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You mention this has been going on for years, do you remember when it started happening? Was there any new medications? Was there a change in dosage? Was there some major life event? The clues are there someplace. There are a number of meds that have caused some to sleepwalk or sleep-eat; are you taking any of them?

 

Typically, people who sleep walk don't have any memory of them sleepwalking or sleep-eating. Some sleepwalkers have driven their car while asleep, made gourmet meals, and even committed murder, so complex motor action is possible too. I once got 2 miles from my house, walking towards town when the Sheriff found me. He said I said something about walking to Wal-Mart to buy confectioners sugar for something I was baking. He knew I was sleepwalking and just brought me home like he usually does (I'm not sure it's a good thing being on a first name basis with most everyone in the Sheriff's department  :P )

 

The best person to talk to about this would be your doctor....

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Ambien did this to me also.  Sleep eating, doing email and not remembering what I wrote/who I wrote to, waking up in other parts of the apartment.  I'd wake up to food wrappers, not remembering a thing about eating anything.  I used to have to go through my email to make sure I didn't write to anyone I didn't want to/plan on and to make sure what I wrote was appropriate.

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  • 10 months later...

This is such a complex disorder. I am seeing a premier expert on the subject who has been on national television and is in regular talks with parasomnia experts. Night Eating Syndrome and Sleep Related Eating Disorders are seen as a spectrum disorder. In other words you can experience many different symptoms that are related to both disorders. For example, myself. I have experienced nights where I was fully alert and could not get back to sleep unless I ate (i.e., Night Eating Syndrome). I have experienced nights where I have NO memory whatsoever of what I ate during the night (i.e., Sleep Related Eating Disorder). And...I have nights where I cannot remember getting out of bed and then become to be in this dissociative state where I eat. I have snippets of memory but I definitely am not in full awareness mode. There are people who experience this range of symptoms. I do not think there is an end all be all diagnosis because many experience the gamut of symptoms like me. It is awful. I have tried everything and have been searching for relief for the past 16 years. Nothing works and if it does work...the side effects would be trading one miserable quality of life for another just as miserable one. 

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