Sleep Eaters

Discover lifts the veil on unusual nocturnal behavior – the phenomenon of sleep eating:

Except for the trail of crumbs and gooey messes that confront her in the morning—and a nauseous feeling from overeating—Romano has no memory of her nightly foraging. Once she awoke in the morning to a throbbing pain in her wrist. “I opened my eyes to see what was wrong, and I was burned,” she says. “I’d been cooking in my sleep!”

Romano suffers from a specialized form of sleepwalking called nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder (NSRED), a condition first recognized in 1991. It is a cross between a sleeping disturbance and an eating disorder. Unlike other parasomnias, NSRED often resembles a serious addiction, with sufferers frequently getting up several times a night.

Favorite dishes include sticky foods like peanut butter and honey, and not-quite-edibles like brillo pads and buttered cigarettes.