Sleep disorders also known as parasomnias happen when people are waking up, falling asleep, or sleeping. These disorders vary between people and most don’t remember what they did when they wake up. Sleep disorders can occur during different sleep stages, in all sexes, and in all ages. These disorders can become problematic to the sufferer and their bed partner. Some people can have more than 1 type of parasomnia in their lifetime. Here is a list of 10 strange sleep disorders:
Sleep-related eating disorder: occurs when people eat while they are sleepwalking. They go to their kitchen and eat whatever is available or they prepare a whole meal without their recollection. This disorder leads to physical problems, like, weight gain, tooth cavities or decay, and an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes and gastrointestinal complications. The risk of this disorder is that people can consume toxic substances becoming sick.
Nocturnal driving disorder: can happen when people drive while they are sleepwalking. There has been reported cases of people driving long distances. Most don’t remember it happened because they can go back home and park their car in the same place. The danger of this disorder are car accidents and fatalities while driving. Scientist don’t fully understand this sleep-driving disorder, but it is mostly observed in people who take sleep aid medication.
Somniloquy: takes place when people talk in their sleep. It can range from speaking nonsense to complex conversations to vulgar things. The tone of voice varies from whispering to screaming. Most don’t remember anything they said. Sleep talkers speak for approximately 30 seconds, although, there are some who can talk multiple times. According to webmd, this is quite common and it is not considered a medical problem.
Sexomnia: occurs when people perform sexual acts while asleep. Doctors don’t fully comprehend this, but suspect it can be triggered by stress, sleep deprivation, sleep apnea, epilepsy, or consuming alcohol and drugs. Women tend to vocalize and masturbate, while men engage in sex and fondling. People don’t have recollection of what they did while asleep. The dangers of this disorder happen when people turn violent injuring their bed partner.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder: occurs when people act out their dreams. This can be terrifying especially if the dream is acted out in a violent manner. People can scream, punch, bite, slap, kick, jump, and run. This is unsafe because the person can injure themselves or others. The causes are unknown, but scientist have linked it to other neurological disorders, like, Parkinson’s disease and dementia, etc.
Exploding head syndrome: isn’t dangerous, but can be alarming to those who experience it. People hear a loud noise as they are falling asleep or waking up. These noises scare them and can affect the quality of sleep. This can be heard once or multiple times, and it can be accompanied by seeing a flash of light. The reason behind remains unexplained, but doctors infer it’s a neurological issue, and others believe it is related to anxiety or problems in the middle ear.
Kleine-Leving Syndrome: also known as sleeping beauty syndrome. Males are mostly affected, but it can be experienced by women. People sleep up to 23 hour a day for several days or weeks at a time. When they aren’t sleeping, they can exhibit cognitive and behavioral symptoms, such as, hallucinations, binge eating, and compulsive behaviors. When the disorder isn’t active the person is symptom free and the causes of this remain unclear.
Narcolepsy: is a disorder that causes people to feel excessively sleepy, and many struggle with additional symptoms, such as, muscle paralysis, dream-like hallucinations, and uncontrollable laughter. This develops during childhood or adolescence. Most with this disorder involuntarily fall asleep anytime and anywhere. Scientist have linked this to the loss of a brain chemical called hypocretin. This chemical keeps us awake and regulates sleep cycles.
Nightmare Disorder: is terrifying to those who struggle with it. Even though nightmares are common, nightmare disorder isn’t. People have excessive and frequent nightmares. The problem with this is that people’s sleeping pattern become affected. This parasomnia causes fear of sleep, anxiety, fatigue, problems concentrating, and persistent fear.
Restless Legs Syndrome: also known as; Willis-Ekbom Disease is a nervous system disorder. People feel a strong urge to move their legs and/or arms because they feel sensations, like, crawling, pulling, aching, and itching, etc. Those with this disorder report that by moving their legs they can relieve it. Specialists consider this a sleep disorder because it worsens while the person is trying to sleep. The cause remains unclear, but it is believed to be produced by an imbalance of brain chemicals.
Sleep disorders can be frustrating and scary for those who struggle with it. Don’t be scared to ask for help. There are many sleep specialists out there who can provide treatment. There are even psychologists who can teach you to manage your fear and anxiety around the parasomnia. Have you heard of these before? What are your opinions around this topic?
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