Top 10 Bizarre Sleep Disorders

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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

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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

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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.

8. Somnambulism

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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.

7. Narcolepsy

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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 Remove featured imageDaniel Morris

6. Restless Legs Syndrome (RLS)

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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

5. Hypersomnia

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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)

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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

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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

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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. The good news is it isn’t harmful and certain actions can sometimes help reduce or eliminate sleep paralysis.

1. Non-24-Hour Sleep-Wake Syndrome

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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


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30 Comments

  1. Scooter:

    Thanks for the link and information! I've never heard of that disorder before, but that one is definitely more geneic and obviously life threatening.

    Thanks for reading!

  2. Oh thank you! I have 2 and 3 on this list. It’s past midnight and I and I can’t sleep because I had a sleep paralysis incident again and it freaked me out so I decided to look it up and see if there’s some way of stopping it. I feel like crying right now because it’s constantly keeping me awake and I just want it to go away. Now that I know what it is I feel like I can do something for it now.

  3. You should probably include that during sleep paralysis, many (and I mean MANY) people experience hallucinations. Because they cannot move, some people imagine demons or apparitions sitting on top of their chest, thus preventing them from breathing. Some people imagine alien abductions.

    I myself have experienced this disorder every once in a while. I keep hallucinating apparitions, with one of the more frequent ones being a girl who bears much resemblance to the girl of the Grudge or the Ring movies.

    Also, one of the worst parts about this disorder is that many people wake up thinking it was a dream.

    Knowing this, I would honestly put this at number 1.

    • That is true. The first time it happened to me I thought it was a ghost thing because I heard someone sighing right in my ear and I thought I saw someone in an orange shirt. It’s indeed a very scary thing. But now that I know what it is, I’ve been taking a vitamin called melatonin a few hours before I go to sleep. It’s been helping a lot and I haven’t had that happen since.

    • Oh my God, I’m 53 and still banging my head, and I also bang one or both legs. I used to tell my Mom no one would marry me because I bang my head. I have asked doctors, sleep professionals and anyone who might know have they ever heard of such a thing. The answer was always NO. And as far as the legs it’s def not RLS. It’s a harder kick depending on how hard it is to sleep. I even to this in my sleep. Please contact me if you ever find an answer as to why???? Didn’t see your email, hope it’s not months before you get this.

      Warm regards comrad,

      Paula Greenwood
      [email protected]

  4. Hey
    I have this sleep problem. While i sleep i smash my head agaisnt the pillow repeatedly and hum. I dont realize im doing it. When i do it i’m tired the next day( i do it almost every night). I have a hard time sleeping. My mind and body wants to stay up late and sleep the morning and afternoon. Cant do that with work. My parents say i’ve been doing it since i was about 1. Doctors said i would grow out of it in about 10 years. Im now 22! My family doctor thinks its a joke what i talk about so he wont refer me to a sleeping cllient! If anybody has any information on this w.e it is, the information would be greatly appriciated!
    Thanks

    • To Jacy/ Matt T.
      Jacy,
      I appriciate the information you have given me. I don’t sleep longer but less. Every once and while I get 8 hrs off sleep and it is heaven! I want to fall asleep around 5:30 or 6 pm, but can’t cause i am going home. By the time I arrive at home i’m to awake to sleep. There for not falling asleep till 1-2pm or later (depends on my body and mind.) I wish it was the amount of melatonin in my body that affected this or the light ( i have black out blinds, like a vampire arrggg! j.k) I have tried under and over counter sleeping products they don’t work. I do believe it has everything to do with the smashing of my head against the pillow, because that is what wakes me up a few times in the morning. I’ve tried different types of sleeping methods, that you and my family doctor have suggested. They don’t work :'( I would love to go to go to a sleeping a client or hospital to be monitored. But as i said my family doctor thinks i’m full of sh*t. Because, lets be honest have you or any body else heard of with my condition? I haven’t. I don’t mean to come off as bitchy, rude or ignorant. I’m just so frustrated, and want it to stop. I really do appreciate you taking the time to read and respond this weird crazy sleeping condition i have.

      Ohh and also if i stay the night at my boyfriends I don’t smash my head against the pillow, but also get to next to no sleep, but am fine and functional durinf the day. So wtf to all right

      Matt T.

      I understand where you are coming from. I really wish i could help you but i don’t think i can. If i get any information that can help i will post it on here as a reply. I’m don’t have enough computer knowledge to reply to you personally. Lol. Music, reading, and tv/movies don’t relax me, they keep me up, and my mind racing. I try to fall asleep by counting down from 100-1 or try blanking my mind( “trying to sleeep nothing going on in here, sleep sleep sleep blank mind blank”) I’m moving across the country at the end of the month Hopefully a new doctor can help me and take me seriously. Its now 10 to 3am. I’m most likely going to read a few chapters before trying to sleep. In 51/2 hrs I will be up for 24 hrs. Not tired in the least bit!!!

      So yeah if any of you two have new suggestion or anything helpful will be greatly appreciated.

      Thank you to Jacy for trying to help

      If i have anything helpful information, Matt. T I’ll write you. Because this just sucks.
      🙂

  5. i sleep 18 hours at a time sometimes.. I even take adderall and i can still sleep.. I wish I could just sleep 8 hours at a time. I dont this subject under any of the sleep disorders. Once they said I have a mild form of narcolepsy, then they said I have chronic fatigue syndrome. what ever its called, I hate it. I also work the night shift but I dont think that has too much to do with it because i’ve worked all shifts and the same thing still happened.

    • It could be that your have abnormal amount of the sleep hormone your brain produces, making you sleep for longer than you need to. Prehaps you could do some research about that and see what comes up 🙂 have you tried light therapy, putting it on a timer plug so it comes on the same time each day and this has been proven to help people naturally come out of slumber as the intense light filters in through your eyelids into your eyes and into your optic nerve which then travels up the optic nerve like messages to your brain to start producing the ‘wake’ hormone. If you tried this a couple of hours before your desired waking up time (don’t do it too early as this will make it harder as you’ll have alot of melatonin (sleep hormone) in your body) and you should find that gradually you will start waking up earlier and sleeping less. I hope this works for you 🙂

  6. I’ve had No 2 – Sleep Paralysis on several occasions, though not for about the last 15 years. I first had it as a teenager, whereby I was in my bed one night and the outside streetlights were on, someone walking in the street, then all faded to blackness, all sound stopped, then a green-glowing apparition appeared and darted around and above me. I couldn’t move or make a sound. It touched my face and later disappeared and the lights and sounds came back on. That happened several times over a while, then stopped.

    Then in 1994, it started again in a different way ! It is best described as a succubus experience. I was living in Putney, London and “she” came back twice, each time more intimate. She felt warm to the touch in a womanly form, though too dark to see her face. I was again frozen and mute with terror. The first time, after the dark came and all sound stopped, I just felt a weight on my legs and nervously putting out my hand, found it was a smooth leg across me. I followed the leg and discovered it was attached to a young woman. I was too scared to turn and look at the face. My throat choked as I tried to say something. I finally croaked out “What’s your name ?” and suddenly felt a finger on my lips, as if not wanting me to speak. Then all drifted back to normal and she was gone. The next time though, I was able again to get some words out through my fear, though barely audible. Again I asked “What’s your name ?” and this time replied “Caroline”. I was living in a rented room and the landlord’s old mother had died in that room years before. I thought to ask him her name. If he’d said “Caroline” I would have freaked completely ! Caroline never returned after that. The power of sleep paralysis !

  7. I found this article fascinating and suprising on sleep disorders. I came across your article due to the fact that, I personally have quite a bizzare sleep pattern myself. I can be awake from 7am to 2am the next day on a normal day and yet when it hits the weekend, I sleep from 2 am to 1-2pm the next day. Ive tried sleeping “Normally” or reading a book or listening to music to get me to sleep but none of these work. I was just wondering if you could give me some advice and thanks for the info! 😀

  8. This is interesting. I have to say, I have a very bizarre sleep schedule myself in that it doesn’t really exist. I sleep anywhere from 2 to 24 hours at a time, and am generally awake for anywhere from 3-24 between them. I’m incredibly tired all the time, usually, but I’ve always attributed this to being sick. My body seems entirely incapable of setting itself into a ‘normal’ sleep pattern no matter how hard I’ve tried, and therefore when and how long I sleep is constantly in flux. For instance, last night I went to sleep at around 6 am and woke up at around 1:30 pm, but for a few weeks before that i was just going to sleep at a random time in the day, usually anywhere from 8 am to 2 pm, and waking up anywhere from 6 pm to 12 am, and before that I was just sleeping in 24-hour periods where I’d be awake for an entire day and then asleep for an entire day. Can’t seem to fix this though.

  9. For sometime, I awake at night and have heard what sounds to be a pipe being struck with a hammer. I never told anyone and it does not happen oftern. Now it appears I have “Exploding Head Syndrome!” At least I know I’m not the only one.

    Thanks so much for the info!

  10. I have had sleeping problems since i went tinto the menopause at 53 years old, i am now 65 but i still experience sleeping problems. I suffer with migraine so this doesn’t help the situation either. Sometimes i go into such a deep slepp after not being able to sleep for a few days i wake up with a buzzing head and it is also in my ears the horrible sound. It does last all day sometimes and it can lead to a migraine. My doctor said it is to do with the migraine i suffer from but i have also noriced the buzzing etc gets worse when i get stressed for any reason. All i know i could do without any of it which can really make me feel grotty as i can never tell when it is going to rear its ugly head. Inow take a regular dose of feverfew tablets one a day and that does help with it so hopefully it may disapear altogether soon i hope so.

  11. Molly O'Donohue on

    Saturday, May 04, 2013
    1:57:09 PM

    This was very interesting reading and I really feel for everyone suffering with these numerous afflictions! I was wondering if anyone has heard of (supposedly this man is sleeping when this happens) a sleeping person making very strange (& I mean strange) everything from animalistic, guttural sounds & shouts (no discernible words) to what other neighbors refer to as satanic sounds & noises. These are very loud sounds (sometimes) that I am referring to, if I go out into my garden or sit on my front porch, these noises make it impossible to enjoy being outside (& forget reading – I’ve tried)! Now here is what really gets too me, this man rents a room in the house next door to mine & sleeps (?) night & day with his windows wide open! I consider myself a compassionate & tolerant person and if this condition does exist & he suffers from it, I will turn up the TV & stay indoors! Unfortunately, I do not seem to be able to find any confirmation that this exists. My neighbor told me, when I asked, that it is “arithma” hmmmmmm & she works in a hospital. And I double-checked that she had not said “arrhythmia” because I am familiar with that term having “a fib” myself. Actually, I was reading on my porch last year, having just returned from a three month hospital stay – oops, I was in a coma for 2 months & recuperation was really slow, when I heard these terrible noises seeming to bounce around the canyon area here – this is the middle of the afternoon – and I could not figure out what was making these continual loud noises, after more than 30 minutes I knew they must be some family member of a neighbor on a weekend pass from an institution. (I realize that may seem contrived, but I did, literally, believe that. A few minutes later my friend walked by & told me those noises were coming from next door to me, what a shock. I do apologize for going on & on, but please if anyone’s heard of anything resembling this “condition” please reply & I will check back often. Oh boy, I think I will just keep this missive to myself, I really must have needed to vent!
    Thanks for your time,
    Molly

  12. It seems, like a lot of people on here, I suffer from no. 2. Although I wouldn’t wish it on anyone it’s good to know I’m not alone. I do a lot of shift work and I suffer from it when I’m very tired and have been trying to keep myself awake. It was frightening at first but now I can stay calm when it happens and will myself to fully wake up. I do this by first trying to move my hand and then shaking the rest of my body as hard as I can. I still don’t like to go to sleep again after an attack of the condition, especially because of the way your still breathing like your asleep and it feel like you can’t get any air. I don’t think the guy with the caroline story suffers from it, maybe he has a different type of disorder.

  13. I may have the non 24 hour one! No matter what I do I never get tired easily.. Always wanting to do something.. Especially when I’m alone n bored! Lol I don’t really get tired unless I’m laying flat or cuddled up w someone then I will pass right out..mostly

  14. I have Narcolepsy (with Cataplexy) but it includes many of the other sleep disorders such as Hypersomnia, Sleep Paralysis, RBD, Bruxism and Somnambulism. Thankfully never had the RLS or Apnea. Wish someone could find a cure.

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  16. I have for the past 145 weeks been woken from sleep every night from midnight to 0600 hrs between 1 to 5 bangs a night on my bedroom window with only 3 hrs sleep a night – intimidation to sell my corner block property and the cobs are as useless artist on a bull.its not a bird flying into my window do have 6 ir megapixel security cameras, led floodlights with ir scanner sensors

  17. Carole Starling on

    When I try to sleep or even just nap,there is this group,sometimes a singer,sometimes a band or a group of singers and musicians making very noisy chaos over in the corner of the bedroom. It is so annoying and wearisome,I can’t sleep and stay tired all the time. At times the noise will be very low and at times very loud: it will go away once in awhile. My husband blesses and prays at the particular area and puts holy water in the area the noise where the singing,playing of instruments is is coming from. We are at a loss to understand just what is going on. If anyone out there has experienced anything similar to this please contact me.

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