View Full Version : 6 Wacky Sleep Behaviors – Are You Doing Them?

8th July 2011, 05:38 AM
For most of us, closing our eyes at the end of the day means drifting off into peaceful slumber. But for some people, the action’s just beginning. Find out what surprising things you might be doing in your sleep. (Some behaviors may seem laughable, but can be quite serious.) Plus, are you smart about getting your shut-eye? Take our quiz to find out…

You think your dreams are weird? You might be doing even odder things when asleep – like eating, walking and talking.

Some nocturnal behaviors are merely annoying, but others are dangerous.

We asked sleep experts to explain 6 unusual bedtime behaviors and when you should seek help.

1. Sleepwalking (Somnabulism)
Until about ages 10-12, sleepwalking is common and normal, says Kathy Gromer, M.D., at the Minnesota Sleep Institute.

So how does it happen?

“When we fall asleep, we have many buttons that go off – eye muscles, hearing, limb muscles,” she says.

With somnabulism, some get “stuck” when waking and don’t come on. For example, the body may have turned on the eyes and ears, but not the brain, she says.

In adulthood, it’s dangerous, because there’s no parent keeping a watchful eye on us.

Gromer once treated a woman who drove to the supermarket, discovered it was closed and walked home. The next morning, a friend found the car in the store’s parking lot, unlocked, the woman’s purse on the front seat. The patient didn’t remember her nocturnal outing because she was in a state of partial arousal, half asleep and half awake.

Sleep solution: If you sleepwalk, safety-proof your home, Gromer advises.

* Lock sliding doors and put car keys out of easy reach.

* Install 2-3 locks on the front door. “By the time the sleeper gets to the third lock, she’ll probably wake up,” she says.

* Eliminate triggers that interfere with a sound night’s sleep, such as too much caffeine, loud TV and sleep apnea (see below). Also, sleeping pills or alcohol may trigger sleepwalking in some people, says Max Hirshkowitz, Ph.D., and author of Sleep Disorders for Dummies.

* An alarm on the bedroom door may work, says Hirshkowitz. If it doesn’t wake you, someone else might hear it and get you back in bed.

If these steps don’t stop the behavior, see a sleep specialist, who may recommend relaxation techniques or antidepressants.

2. Sleep Eating (Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder)
Are you waking up with crumbs in your bed or on the kitchen counter? You could be sleep eating.

The disorder is caused by the same brain malfunctions as sleepwalking, but the sleeper focuses on food.

Often, sleep-eaters chow down on wacky stuff, “like cardboard or cereal with ice cream,” Gromer says.

That’s why it’s dangerous. Hirshkowitz says his patients have set kitchens on fire trying to make a meal or consumed chemicals (from cleaning products, for example) because the refrigerator was locked to prevent nighttime binges.

Sleep solution: Avoid partial-arousal triggers and put away dangerous items, like medication, cleaning products and knives (that might harm sleep eaters making food).

And don’t lock the fridge. It’s better to “eat food,” not cleansers, Hirshkowitz points out.

3. Acting Out Dreams (REM Sleep Behavior Disorder)
If you wake up and realize you’ve been battering a pillow, nightstand or bedroom wall, you could have REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD), a recently discovered condition that researchers don’t yet fully understand.

Here’s how it works: When we’re in deep, rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep, we’re temporarily paralyzed. Only heart and breathing muscles are active.

But people with RBD twitch in that state, which means they have muscles working when they shouldn’t.

“They often have very violent dreams… of chasing criminals or trying to beat someone up,” Gromer says.

As a result, they act out on furniture - or worse, a slumbering partner. And the “sleeper” doesn’t wake until they’ve hurt their bedmate.

Both men and women are affected, she says. And it’s more common in younger women and older men, although researchers don’t know why.

Sleep solution: RBD is easy to treat with medication.

“A dose of clonazepam [a psychoactive drug commonly used to control seizures and panic disorders] will do the trick,” Gromer says.

Also, pad bedroom furniture and remove sharp objects to avoid injuries, says Hirshkowitz.

4. Talking in Your Sleep (Somniloquy)
You’ve probably heard someone mumble while they’re sleeping – or maybe you’ve been accused of it yourself.

Sleep-talking usually occurs between wakefulness and sleep, or when going from one stage to another. A high fever can cause it too.

What you’re saying doesn’t usually relate to your dreams. In fact, when you’re dreaming, it’s the least likely time you’ll talk, because of the deep paralysis that occurs, Hirshkowitz says.

Can nightly chatter harm you?

“Only if you’re saying something you shouldn’t be,” Hirshkowitz says, laughing.

Worry only if nocturnal chatter leaves you so sleep-deprived that you can’t function during the day, he says.

Sleep solution: Anxiety and stress play a role, Hirshkowitz says. A doctor or therapist can help reduce both. When fever’s the cause, treating it should stop the talking.

5. Inability to Move (Sleep Paralysis)
In deep sleep, being unable to move is normal – the brain stops motor activity to keep you from getting up or acting out dreams. But in some cases, you can be partially awake and feel frozen, unable to speak, move or scream.

It’s sometimes accompanied by hallucinations, usually of an evil spirit on your chest, keeping you from breathing. Some sufferers also describe a whirring noise or a feeling of having their life “sucked away” from them, says Hirshkowitz.

Many people with sleep paralysis are embarrassed to talk about it, Hirshkowitz says. “Some think they’re losing their minds.”

Although terrifying, it’s not dangerous.

Sleep solution: Move your eyes quickly back and forth, Hirshkowitz advises. This breaks the feeling of paralysis and wakes you up. Someone’s touch has the same effect.

Frequent sleep paralysis episodes might mean you’re overly tired, so set a regular sleep routine. Also, avoid sleeping on your back; it’s more likely to occur in that position, Hirshkowitz says.

6. Extreme Snoring (Sleep Apnea)
About 40% of women snore – although most don’t like to admit it, Gromer says.

But if your bedmate grumbles that your snoring rattles windows or sounds like you’re gasping for air, you might have sleep apnea, a serious and dangerous disorder that makes you stop breathing for at least 10 seconds at a time.

There are 3 kinds:

* Obstructive sleep apnea – when your throat muscles relax and airway closes as you breathe in

* Central sleep apnea – a less-common variety in which the brain doesn’t send signals to muscles that control breathing

* Complex sleep apnea – a combination of both

Once apnea hits, “Our brain says, ‘I’ve got to save you,’ and wakes you up,” says Gromer. Then you fall asleep again immediately. This can happen 20-60 times an hour, all night long.

The result? Excessive fatigue and increased stress on the heart and blood vessels.

Waking up tired is the primary symptom. “The most common thing I hear [from my sleep apnea patients] is, ‘I sleep, but I have no energy,’” Gromer says.

Sleep solution: See a sleep specialist. They’ll first do a sleep test in a lab to diagnose apnea.

Source: Lifescript

Pope Bitterz D'Alomo
8th July 2011, 04:33 PM
4. Talking in Your Sleep (Somniloquy)
You’ve probably heard someone mumble while they’re sleeping – or maybe you’ve been accused of it yourself.

hmmmm what can i say ?