Monday, June 16, 2008

Treatment for Nighttime Overeating

Scientists note that sleeping and eating are probably connected, given the discovery of a link between lack of sleep and weight gain. Getting plenty of sleep may be a helpful substitute for nighttime trips to the refrigerator. Until more is known about night eating syndrome, it's probably best to take a broad approach to treatment.

*See your doctor for a complete physical evaluation of the problem.
*An evaluation by a mental health professional is a good idea to determine whether or not there is another mental disorder at the root of the eating problem.
*Get treated for any underlying mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety. Treatment can help improve eating patterns and the chances of getting to sleep earlier.
*Preliminary studies indicate that the anticonvulsant topiramate (Topamax) or an SSRI antidepressant, such as sertraline (Zoloft), may help.
*See a dietitian about how to better pace meals throughout the day, which might help break the cycle of late-night eating.
*Case reports indicate that some people can improve their eating patterns by being mindful of the problem and by trying to identify its triggers.
*Stress-reduction techniques may help avert trips to the refrigerator.

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