According to psychiatrist Dr. Carlos Schenck, a pioneer in the field of sleep disorders and author of Sleep: The Mysteries, the Problems, and the Solutions, sleepeating is an increasing problem.
There are several possible causes of sleepeating, he says, including America's rising obesity rates. "Many people with obesity develop sleep apnea, which is a known cause of sleepeating," Dr. Schenck says.
Obesity is not the only cause, though. "Many of the commonly prescribed sleeping pills for treating insomnia, which are usually safe and effective, can cause sleepeating in a small but significant percentage of people taking the medication," Dr. Schenck says.
The other possible causes for sleepeating are the same ones that make our society so generally sleep-deprived. "Shift work, traveling across time zones and living in a 24/7 high-stress world really disrupts our body rhythms," Dr. Schenck says.
Dr. Oz says one of the main reasons we don't sleep enough is that we don't place enough value in it. "Sleep is so precious," he says. "Nightfall used to make us tired and bring with us quiet and peacefulness and a time to get in touch with ourselves. That's all gone now. Now you're getting the last e-mail off."