Sunday, October 25, 2009

To Sleep, Perchance to Dream: Or Stroll or Snack...

Former "American Idol" judge Paula Abdul told Fox News that while they were living together, her former co-star Kara DioGuardi suffered from sleep eating and sleepwalking.

Sleepwalking is typically seen as a childhood problem. While it is more common in children (as many as 17 percent of children sleepwalk), up to four percent of adults sleepwalk as well.

Sleepwalking, also known as
somnambulism, tends to occur during slow-wave sleep, or when you aren’t dreaming. It is difficult to wake a sleepwalker. Sometimes they wake themselves. Other times they go back to bed, not knowing they ever got up.

Most people naturally outgrow sleepwalking. Those who wake up and find themselves in dangerous or embarrassing situations, however, may need treatment.

Sometimes sleepwalking is harmless. You may wake up somewhere other than your bed and wonder how you got there. It can also be dangerous. Children can fall down stairs and adults might even try to drive!

DioGuardi’s problem, sleep related eating disorder, is unusual. But like other eating disorders, it is much more common in women than in men.

People with SRED often prepare and eat food with no recollection of doing so. They may gain weight. Eventually they can even develop type 2 diabetes.

Sleep eating tends to occur in people with histories of alcoholism, drug abuse and other sleep disorders. People with high levels of stress and anxiety may also find themselves snacking in their sleep.

DioGuardi admits that in the past she had an eating disorder and has received professional help to overcome it.

Visit an
AASM-accredited sleep disorders center if you suffer from sleepwalking or have an ongoing sleep problem.

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