Sleep can be scary!
When most people think of sleep, they think of being calm and relaxed. After a long day, most people can’t wait to just jump into bed and go to sleep. Did you know that there are some sleep disorders out there that are scary and downright frightening? Often, people who have these scary sleep disorders fear sleep rather than look forward to it.
There are sleep disorders that cause people to scream in their sleep and others that make you think you see something straight out of a horror movie. Keep reading to dive into some truly terrifying sleep disorders…if you dare…
Sleepwalking is when someone physically gets out of bed during the night and walks around while still being asleep. According to sleepjunkie.org, sleepwalkers are “zombie-like,” and sometimes people can even walk out the door without waking up. Types of sleepwalking have led to behaviors including sleep-driving, sleep-eating and other disturbing things like committing violent crimes unconsciously.
Sleep Education defines sleep paralysis as a parasomnia – unwanted events or experiences occurring while you are sleeping. It causes you to be unable to move your body when falling asleep or waking up from sleep. When someone is sleeping, their brain causes the muscles to relax and be still when asleep. This state is called “atonia.” Sleep paralysis occurs when atonia happens while you are awake.
Someone experiencing sleep paralysis won’t be able to speak. Depending on the circumstance, you may not be able to move your arms, legs, body, or head. If you are experiencing sleep paralysis, you are fully aware of what’s happening while this is going on. The experience is absolutely terrifying. Many people have said they see figures (some refer to them as “demons”) and have trouble breathing during their sleep paralysis – sounding like something straight out of a horror movie. An episode of sleep paralysis can last for seconds to minutes and usually ends on its own. Depending on the person, you can experience sleep paralysis once in your life or multiple times.
According to the Mayo Clinic, night terrors are episodes of screaming, intense fear, and flailing while still being asleep. Night terrors are also commonly known as sleep terrors. Night terrors, like sleep paralysis, are also considered a parasomnia. When someone is having an episode, it can last for seconds, minutes, or even longer depending on the person. Night terrors mostly affect children, but adults do suffer from them as well. Night terrors are not usually a cause for concern, and most children will outgrow the episodes over time.
*Note: Night terrors are different from nightmares. If someone is having a nightmare they will wake up from the dream and remember some details, but a person who has a night terror will remain asleep the entire time and remember nothing the next morning.
Rare sleep disorders, like the ones listed above, can be genuinely horrifying and are possibly troublesome for your overall health. If you or a loved one is experiencing a sleep disorder, take that first step and contact your doctor about what is happening. Knowing the real facts about what is causing your scary sleep disorder can be helpful with the anxiety that surrounds it.
Sleep tight and remember…don’t look under your bed!
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