Dr. Oz: Sleep Eating, The Nocturnal Nightmare with Scott Eveloff


Doctor Oz did a segment on sleep eaters, who are people that get out of bed while they are asleep, and binge on unhealthy foods like they haven’t had anything to eat in days, all while they are still asleep! Approximately one million Americans are sleep eaters, which is dangerous not only because of the extra calories and fat you are consuming in your sleep, but some people will even eat dangerous things like cigarettes or toxic cleaning products. The guest on Dr. Oz’s show said the most bizarre thing she ever ate in her sleep was a steel wool cleaning pad, and it was only when her nephew told her about this that she realized what was going on.  Very often, people who do sleep eating are either on restrictive diets during the day or prescription sleep pills.

Doctor Oz brought Scott Eveloff, a sleep disorder expert, onto his show to teach us about sleep eating.  When you are sleeping at night, you will go from stage 3 (a deep sleep) to REM sleep which is when you are having dreams.  Usually, when you are having REM sleep, you are paralyzed so that your body doesn’t act out your dreams.  However, if things are not firing correctly in your body, then you won’t be paralyzed and you will be able to act out and move while you are still asleep… and this is when sleep eating can occur.  Up to 1% of the adult population in America could be sleep eaters, do any of these sound like you?:

Signs of Sleep Eating:

1.  Women age 25-50 are more likely to be sleep eaters.
2.  Gorging on high calorie foods while you sleep is a sign.
3.  Sleepwalking often is another sign.
4.  If you take sleep aid drugs, this is the final sign.


  1. Veronica says

    My mother is a sleep eater. I never knew it was a real disorder until I seen this on your show.

    Many times she has waken up to find herself eating cigarettes, lighters, and almost ALWAYS junkfood – more specifically chocoalte which she doesn’t even TOUCH in her waking hours.

    Growing up we had to hide our snacks and candy because she would go to bed and come out hours later like a zombie, looking for something to eat, without even knowing she’s doing it!

    We used to just joke and tease her about it. Sometimes it is funny to come into a room and find your mom sleeping whilst clutching a half eaten cookie, or find an empty peanut butter jar at the side of the bed and find the spoon hanging out of her mouth. But when she came to me and told me that she had tried to eat her lighter in her sleep and actually broke it apart while trying to consume it, I became scared.

    The stories she’s been telling me alarm me more and more. A few weeks ago she dreamt she was trying to get a container open and woke up to find she had managed to get one of her pill bottles open but thankfully they had spilled all over her bed before she could actually consume any.

    I am glad that you decided to do a show on this because now I see it is a real thing and it is something that many deal with. It’s a very serious matter.


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