Sometimes we don’t get enough, sometimes too much, and others we get just the right amount; but everyone needs sleep and no one can avoid it for too long. It is the single best way way to refresh the body and to relieve daily stress and tension. There’s nothing better than being able to lie in a nice bed at night after a long day drift into a peaceful sleep.
While we all do it, it is very complex in its own nature, being classified into four stages and two types, REM sleep and NREM sleep. During sleep the brain is extremely active, as we dream. However, while some of us dream, others have to deal with a variety of sleep disorders. Sleep disorders are common, and you’ve probably heard of many, but here are some weird sleep disorders that may open your eyes. So relax and enjoy a top 10 list of bizarre sleep disorders. Don’t let them keep you up at night.
10. Sleep Bruxism
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.
9. Sleep Apnea
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. Image from http://www.sleepmore.com/ Also, find information on how to stop snoring.
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. Sleep walking it usually caused by an underlying problem, such as seizures, sleep apnea, PTSD, or arrhythmias, and is therefore not treated. Instead the cause of sleep walking becomes the main focus.
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. Doctors believe that brain chemicals, notably hypocretin, play a large role in narcolepsy. Generally these cells are excessively damaged, which causes disruptions to sleep patterns, as hypocretin is known to regulate the REM sleep cycle as well as staying awake. However, no one knows why these cells are damaged, and how they become damaged. photo by Daniel Morris
6. Restless Legs 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. RLS is a sleep disorder because the condition is said to be its worse at night and then eases off in the morning and it causes disruptions to normal sleep patterns. It is said that 5%-10% of people in the U.S. and Northern Europe will experience RLS. photo by QuixoticQuestion
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. Kleine-Levin Syndrome is marked by hypersomnia with odd behavior during the attacks, such as binge eating, aggression, confusion, hallucinations, and hypersexuality. There is also Menstrual-Related Hypersomnia which is said to be caused by hormonal imbalances. photo by carf
4. 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. If not treated, RBD can get worse and more violent. The disorder is mainly seen in men that are suffering from multiple system atrophy or Parkinson’s. photo by saikofish
3. 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. Not many cases of this disorder are reported, but patients as young as 10 have been diagnosed with it. photo by keamysparadise
2. Sleep paralysis
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.
1. 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. Generally people with the disorder sleep for about 2 hours longer compared to a normal wake time. Those who are blind often suffer from Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Syndrome. photo by Gabriela Camerotti