Sleep is important, on average a person spends 1/3 of their life sleeping. Unfortunately, for many, sleep doesn’t come easy. Listed below are some of the strangest sleeping conditions.
Sleep Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)
More commonly known as teeth grinding, sleep bruxism is when someone, while sleeping, is known to clench or grind their teeth together. Many say that it is caused by stress, tension, anxiety, suppressed anger, or something as simple as a misalignment of the teeth. Simple treatments are given to correct the problem generally, such as a mouth guard or therapy. Though the condition doesn’t seem very serious, in many cases sleep bruxism can become an issue. If the bruxism carries on for too long, it can lead to jaw disorders, damaged teeth, headaches, and other problems.
Sleep apnea is a very serious condition that is marked by the stopping and starting of breathing during the night. It is said that the condition elevates the risk for a stroke. Doctors say that loud snoring or waking up feeling tired even after a long nights rest may be indicators of sleep apnea. There are two main types of sleep apnea: obstructive, which is when the throat muscles relax and the airways narrow or close, and central sleep apnea, which is when the brain fails to send messages to the breathing muscles. Sleep apnea can be due to excess weight, high blood pressure, smoking, or a history of the disorder.
Somnambulism (Sleep Walking)
Better known as sleepwalking, somnambulism is said to be a pretty harmless condition that many people grow out of over time. However, it can be serious in some cases, as those who sleepwalk generally do daily tasks, so a sleepwalker could easily get into a car and drive. It is said that 15% of children between the ages of 8-12 experience sleepwalking. Many times the person who sleepwalks will not remember it, but may wake up with glassy eyes or speaking clumsily.
We’ve all been tired during the day at some point in time, but people with narcolepsy are generally extremely tired during the day and will often experience sudden sleep spells. Narcoleptics can be extremely serious, but there is still no known cure. One out of every 2,000 people is said to have narcolepsy. Plenty of treatments exist, but none fully get rid of the condition.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS) is classified by a strong and urgent need to move the legs. The urge is said to be extremely hard to resist, as there are often uneasy feelings felt inside of the legs. Some say it’s a prickling sensation while others say it’s more of a tingling feeling. In any case, the sensations can be painful, which makes sitting or lying down hard for those with RLS.
Hypersomnia is a very rare sleep disorder that is said to only affect 200 people in the world today. The disorder is made up of periods of severe sleepiness. These periods of sleep can last for up to 18 hours a day and can go on for days and even weeks. It is said though, that only about 10 attacks occur per year. Before a person is hit with a hypersomnia attack, there are usually flu like symptoms present and a long-lasting headache. The attack itself can cause a person to gain weight and sweat profusely.
REM-Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD)
REM-Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) is classified under the sleep disorder category of parasomnia. A parasomnia is when undesired events occur while sleeping. This disorder is said to cause people to act out extremely vivid dream while sleeping. RBD is usually confused with sleepwalking, sleep terrors, as well as sleep-talking. A lot of the time these dreams are full of action and sometimes violent. RBD is marked by swearing, shouting, flailing, kicking, and doing actions as if someone is fighting.
Exploding Head Syndrome
Exploding head syndrome is another parasomnia that causes the person to hear a loud noise just before falling asleep. Though it sounds like something you’d see in a movie, the disorder is real and often occurs while waking up in the middle of the night. Many times the sound reflects the sound of a bomb exploding or a loud banging noise. These sounds cause a lot of distress and often disturb sleep.
Sleep paralysis is marked by the ability to not move the body when falling asleep or when waking up from sleeping. When sleeping, the body experiences atonia, which is when the body is told to relax and be still. However, in sleep paralysis, atonia occurs when waking up or when falling asleep, instead of during sleep. In some cases people cannot move or even speak, but they are fully aware of what is going on. Sleep paralysis can last for several minutes, but usually goes away on its own. Some believe that the problem is common; saying that up to 40% of the population experiences the disorder.
Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Syndrome
Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Syndrome is one of the rarest sleep disorders doctors have ever come across. As humans we have a circadian rhythm that is said to roughly correlate with the 24 hours in a day. Of course there are variances from person to person, but usually people have a circadian rhythm of about 24-25 hours. However, people with this disorder do not have stable “body clocks.” Instead the rhythm becomes delayed and set on 26 hours or longer. Some people even have 72 hour cycles as a regular daily pattern. Someone with a 72 hour cycle would be awake for 48 hours, and those with a 26 hour cycle will usually be awake for about 16.
Fatal Familial Insomnia
Fatal familial insomnia is a condition which begins with trouble getting to sleep one night and steadily increases until within a few months the sufferer is no longer able to sleep. The lack of sleep itself is not what proves to be deadly for the sufferers but rather other symptoms that begin to manifest themselves shortly after they begin to lose the ability to go to sleep. The body begins to have abnormal functions of the autonomic nervous system leading to the body having difficulty controlling blood pressure, heart rate, and body temperature.
Kleine-Levin Syndrome (Sleeping Beauty Syndrome)
Many of us look forward to those magical days where we get to enjoy a few extra hours of sleep. Often it’s because we need a little extra sleep to make up for time lost during the week, and sometimes it’s just because we want to sleep a little more. For whatever reason, a few extra hours of sleep is just what seems to be needed. But could you imagine sleeping up to 23 hours in a day? How about 23 hour a day for up to 3 weeks in a row?
Sleepwalking seems strange enough in itself–getting up out of bed and walking around in the middle of the night without even realizing it. But acting out other behaviors while still asleep can get even stranger. Sufferers of sexomnia reportedly engage in sexual acts during sleep and rarely remember them happening. Often the sexual acts are aggressive in nature. These sex acts can include masturbation, fondling, intercourse, and even rape.