5 Bizarre Sleep Disorders

5 Bizarre Sleep Disorders

By Victoria Candland Published at October 12, 2015 Views 3,360 Comments 4

Most of us have heard of sleep apnea, insomnia, narcolepsy, and restless legs syndrome. But there are strange and even scary sleep disorders out there that you probably don’t know about. Here are five bizarre sleep disorders to look out for.

Sleep-related eating disorder

People with this condition gorge themselves while they are asleep or partially awake. They tent to binge-eat high-calorie, sugary foods, sometimes consuming more than they did during the time they were awake. The disorder is more common among women, especially ones who are dieting during the day and leaving their bodies hungry at night. If this binging happens often enough, the person may gain weight and even increase their risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Fatal familial insomnia

The good news: you will never get this disease unless you have a family history of it. The bad news: those who have it die prematurely. Fewer than 40 families in the entire world have the genetic mutation that sparks this rare disease. Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI) causes people to stay awake for months on end. It starts out with periods of insomnia, panic attacks and unfounded phobias. After five months, the person experiences a complete inability to sleep, dementia, and limited mental functioning. And then the patient typically slips into a coma and passes away nine months in. Imagine your body constantly trying to fall asleep and not being able to—that never-ending twilight zone is what it’s like to live with FFI.

Sleeping beauty syndrome

Also known as Klein-Levin Syndrome, people with Sleeping Beauty Syndrome can sleep nearly all day for weeks on end, sometimes even sleeping as much as 23 hours a day! During one of these episodes, people with this condition can’t go to work or school or care for themselves, and often only wake up to go to the bathroom and eat. People with this neurological disorder live in fear that they will experience another episode with little notice—and this syndrome can go on for 10 years or more.

REM sleep behavior disorder

When we’re in the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage, our bodies go into temporary paralysis, called atonia, that prevents us from moving and acting out our dreams. But for those who have REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, the paralysis is disabled, allowing them to physically act out often violent and scary dreams. These people may jump out of bed, punch, kick, and even yell out profanities.

Sleep paralysis

Unlike REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, sleep paralysis keeps your body paralyzed as it transitions from sleep to wakefulness. People who experience sleep paralysis say it’s like waking up dead: your mind is alert but you can’t move your body. Sleep paralysis episodes can last from 20 seconds to a few minutes, and tend to happen more often when you’re sleep deprived. Most people will experience this feeling at least once in their life—so watch out!

Are there any strange sleep disorders that we missed? Have you experienced any of these? Comment below.

To learn more about sleep disorders:

Do You Have Hypersomnia?
Sleep Disorder Classifications: What Type Do You Have?
How Sleep Disorders and Sleep Stages Are Related

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