One of my friends has been using sleeping pills to get some extra Zs. He’s also been trying to put on some extra weight and I think I may have found a solution to both problems.

That solutions is: Ambien

Apparently this sleeping pill brings out the sleep eater in those who use it. Patients using the pill have no recollection of their nightly trips to the refrigerator, but they wake up to signs they’ve been eating throughout the night. Some even wake up with the stove left on and food in their bed. Another sign they are eating without knowing is the massive weight gain they experience because they consume thousands of calories in the night.

Although this eating disorder (a version of somnambulism aka sleepwalking) is known to occur in people who don’t take the drug as well, there have been more and more reports from doctors and patients of the effect from Ambien. The only solution for those with the disorder who are on Ambien is to quit taking the pill. I guess they have to decide between insomnia and obesity. I’d go with insomnia, but that’s just me.

Check out this excerpt from the NYT article on the disease:

“Among sleep-eaters, the desire for food can be tremendously powerful. One woman in the Minneapolis area whom Dr. Schenck treated, Judie Evans, said she began taking Ambien while recovering from back surgery. At the time, she was in a full body cast and needed assistance to get out of bed.

During this time, Ms. Evans, who is 59 and lives alone, began to notice that food was missing from her refrigerator. She accused two nursing aides who were caring for her of stealing food. It was not until her son came to spend several nights that Ms. Evans said she realized that despite the body cast, she was getting up to eat while she was asleep. “During the day, I couldn’t even make it to the bathroom by myself,” Ms. Evans said.

The first night her son was there, he found her standing in the kitchen, body cast and all, frying bacon and eggs. The next night he found her eating a sandwich, Ms. Evans said, and sent her back to bed. Later that same night, her son arose to find her standing in the kitchen again. “I had turned the oven on,” she recalled. “I store pots and pans in the oven and I had turned it to 500 degrees.”

Ms. Evans said her problems ended when Dr. Schenck diagnosed Ambien-induced sleep-related eating disorder.”

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