Rare disorder causes woman to consume 2,500 calories a night

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com  |  April 24, 2013 at 2:48 PM
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A British woman said she has to keep an extremely strict diet during the day because of a rare disorder that causes her to binge-eat at night.

Lesley Cusack, 55, of Warrington, Cheshire, said she has suffered from Sleep Related Eating Disorder for several years.

"I can only tell by the remains in the morning," Cusack told the Telegraph. "I tend to find opened tins of things or packets and I've no idea whether I've eaten some of them cold or not."

"I've put alarms on my doors in the hope it will wake me up. It doesn't work though. I simply turn it off in my sleep."

Cusack said the disorder has caused her to gain weight, which is why she diets so much during the day.

"Having no control made me feel as if everyone assumed I ate too much out of choice and often I would eat less when in people's company in the hope that they wouldn't judge me," Cusack said.

Dr. Paul Reading, a neurologist at James Cook University Hospital said that while sleepwalking is common in children, most grow out of the habit in adulthood.

"A proportion of adult sleep-walkers will eat and even cook during apparent sleep, often consuming foods they would not normally enjoy," Reading explained. "Weight gain and guilt are common consequences. "Sometimes, factors that fragment sleep such as severe snoring, restless legs, an uncomfortable environment, or general stress may trigger complex sleep-walking, including sleep eating."

Of course, things can get quite strange for the snoozing chef.

"Sometimes I've found soup in pans, but also in bowls - it all can get rather messy," Cusack said.

"The worst things that I know I've eaten are emulsion paint, Vaseline, cough syrup, raw potatoes and soap powder," she said. "The night I ate paint was the only time I've ever woken up. I can still remember standing in the kitchen touching my mouth and being very confused."

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