The Night Eating Syndrome: An Overview



Research on the Night Eating Syndrome (NES) has advanced significantly since its introduction to the literature over 50 years ago. Currently, NES is conceptualized as a delay in the circadian intake of food and is manifested by two core criteria: evening hyperphagia and/or nocturnal ingestions of food. Recently, standardized research diagnostic criteria for NES have been developed which will help further research on this condition. This chapter provides an overview of NES, beginning with the development of its conceptualization from 1955 to the present. The recently proposed research diagnostic criteria are reviewed, prevalence and comorbidity are described, hypothesized etiology and pathophysiology are presented, and its possible health consequences are outlined. Finally, this chapter reviews assessment and treatment options for NES and presents future directions needed to further characterize the nutritional, behavioral, and neurobiological aspects of NES.


Anorexia Nervosa Eating Disorder Bulimia Nervosa Binge Eating Disorder Nocturnal Awakening 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Anorexia Nervosa


Binge Eating Disorder


Bulimia Nervosa


Night Eating Diagnostic Questionnaire


Night Eating Questionnaire


Night Eating Syndrome


Night Eating Syndrome History and Inventory


Structured Clinical Interview for the DSM


Sleep-related Eating Disorder


Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor



The author would like to thank Drs. Albert Sunkard, Kelly Allison, and John O’Reardon for their collaboration and mentorship, as well as their many contributions to the NES literature.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Missouri-Kansas CityKansas CityUSA

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