'Sleeping Beauty Diet' could kill you, experts warn

Experts have warned against using sedatives to lose weight. [Photo: Pexels/pixabay.com]
Experts have warned against using sedatives to lose weight. [Photo: Pexels/pixabay.com]

Sleeping to avoid hunger could cause addiction, disordered eating and even death, health experts have warned.

The ‘Sleeping Beauty Diet’ involves going to sleep for long, or frequent, stretches of time – up to 20 hours a day – in order to abstain from eating, often with the help of sedatives and sleeping pills.

According to Broadly, the extreme dieting trend is surging in popularity on pro-anorexia blogs, although the method itself has been around for decades and was first referenced in Jacqueline Susann’s 1966 novel, Valley of the Dolls.

Sleeping pills and sedatives can be highly addictive. [Photo: Pexels/<br>freestocks.org]
Sleeping pills and sedatives can be highly addictive. [Photo: Pexels/
freestocks.org]

Along with nutritional deprivation from missing meals, sleeping more than your body needs can lead to mood disorders such as depression, cause social isolation and trigger disordered eating.

Dr. Tracey Wade, a professor at the Flinders University School of Psychology, told Broadly that people relying on medications to sleep are putting themselves at risk of addiction too.

She also warned that, over time, prescription pill users often find themselves needing to take “higher and higher dosage levels to get the desired effect”, which can result in a fatal overdose.

A 2015 study, published in The Guardian, revealed that even over-the-counter sleeping drugs can have a harmful effect, and could increase the risk of Alzheimer’s.

For advice on addiction, visit the NHS website. Charity Addaction also offers advice and support services.

Worried about disordered eating? The leading UK charity Beat has a range of support services to help.

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