A woman from the United Kingdom is forced to diet during the day because a rare disorder causes her to ingest up to 2,500 calories in her sleep.
Lesley Cusack, a 55-year-old woman from Warrington, Cheshire, adheres to a strict diet when she’s awake to curtail the effects of her nocturnal binges, The Sun reports.
Cusack’s 2,500 calories per night are a direct result of Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (NS-RED), a rare condition that affects between 1 and 3 percent of the general population, according to WebMD. NS-RED can cause significant weight gain and increases a person’s risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Those who suffer from NS-RED often wake up without any recollection of their late-night feasting. In Cusack’s case, the leftover packages or scraps of her meals provide the only evidence of her 2,500-calorie nights.
“I can only tell by the remains in the morning," the mother of three told The Sun. “Sometimes I’ve found soup in pans, but also in bowls -- it all can get rather messy.
The 55-year-old has taken several steps toward combating her rare condition. According to The Daily Mail, Cusack adheres to a strict diet of fruits and vegetables during the day, and has joined a “slimming club” in an effort to stay in shape. Despite the dieting, her weight has ballooned to around 230 pounds.
“I’m trying to lose weight but it’s a constant battle,” she told The Sun. “I can follow a diet to the letter but it goes to pot at night."
Cusack’s snacking isn’t limited to food. At various points, the divorcee has awoken to find she had been eating everything from grooming supplies to paint.
“The worst things that I know I’ve eaten are emulsion paint, Vaseline, cough syrup, raw potatoes and soap powder,” she told The Daily Mail. “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.”
Besides her vast weight gain, Cusack is legitimately concerned by the potential dangers of her “sleep-eating.” She has suffered bruises and chipped teeth while attempting to cook at night, and worries that these injuries are just the beginning.
“I was terrified at the thought of leaving the door open or having an accident outside,” she told The Daily Mail. “Using the cooker, kettle and sharp knives means it’s only a matter of time before something more serious happens.”
Cusack is waiting to see a sleep specialist, who she hopes will be able to aid her struggle against Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder.
“There have got to be more people struggling with this condition. I can’t be the only person.”
Tom Barrabi is a reporter for the International Business Times. He graduated from Fairfield University in 2011, and has also written for Men's Fitness, Complex, GuySpeed, and...