You go to sleep expecting a good night’s rest, but your sleep may be troubled by something other than that big dinner. Here are 5 unexpectedly scary things that can happen (thankfully rarely) in your sleep.
It’s called sleepy hallucinations. You’re not quite asleep but all of a sudden, you’re hearing voices or you feel someone lightly touching your arm. You see something – you’re not quite sure what it is. This is not going to help you get to sleep, but these hallucinations are not a sign that you’re going crazy. They happen in that period when you’re almost asleep – and can also happen when you’re almost awake. So, if you see bugs on the wall, you may just need to relax, turn over and really go to sleep.
It’s not the popular movie – it’s a frightening sensation. When you’re sleeping, you become paralyzed so you don’t act out during REM sleep. But now you are wake but you still can’t move. It’s a carry-over from your REM sleep – it’s called sleep paralysis. You can’t move and you may even feel a weight pushing down on you. In fact, the Chinese call this “ghost pressing down on you” and in Mexico they say the dead, “el mureto”, climb on top of you. This cannot be fun!
When you’re paralyzed during REM sleep, you are kept immobile for a purpose. The opposite of sleep paralysis is REM disorder. Your brain doesn’t tell you you’re dreaming and you should stay still. Instead, you’re acting out. You may thrash – or you could punch and kick. You could even get out of bed and run around. You could hurt or scare someone – but you won’t remember. You could, however, also injure yourself so see your doctor. They’ll treat this disorder with medicine.
In fact, you could clean out the frig. It has a name -- nocturnal eating disorder. You snack. You go on an eating binge. You could turn on the stove or use a knife and that’s dangerous. Or, you could eat that stick of butter and that’s just yucky. Odds are you won’t remember your nocturnal noshing, but it is a disorder and you should see a doctor if you see signs that you’re eating in your sleep.
Exploding Head Syndrome
Believe it or not, it’s called exploding head syndrome. Just as you’re moving into deep sleep, a loud noise wakes you (and probably scares you). The sounds are reported as sounding like cymbals banging together or even a gunshot or explosive. They are not sounds that are going to soothe you to sleep. Worse, the sounds seem to come from the space right next to you – or even from your head. Exploding head syndrome is just noise. There’s no pain and it’s not associated with any disease. So, you’re set to forget all about it and go to sleep.
If you’ve never gone for a walk in your sleep, had a pint of ice cream or experienced any of the disorders or syndromes, but you still wake up tired every day, maybe it’s the bed. It’s time to take a trip to the experts at a mattress store. Let them show you all the new options in sleep comfort – from foam mattresses to adjustable beds to layered innerspring mattresses. You may not be able to control that feeling of falling when you’re just dozing off or, even, a walk in your sleep, but you can make sure that your bed is supportive and inviting. That may be enough to keep all those syndromes, disorders and sleepless nights away.