Do you experience overwhelming drowsiness during the day?
Do you experience trouble sleeping or getting out of bed?
Do you sometimes feel paralyzed and restless in your sleep?
All these bizarre activities associated with our sleep tells something about a sleeping disorder which may or may not be insomnia. There are a bunch of underrated other sleeping disorders that require our attention as well. Sleeping disorders can hamper our health in the long run, and while we throw all the limelight on insomnia, many of us suffer from other sleeping disorders as well that you may not know. Hence, here’s a bit of information about what all sleeping disorders are about:
1. Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS)
Nicknamed as the ‘Sleeping Beauty Syndrome,’ this is characterized by excessive sleeping for multiple days in a week. People exposed to this disorder can sleep at large for 23 hours a day which sounds unrealistic, but it is true. During periods of sleep, it is tough to wake them up. And when they do wake they often exhibit unusual and excessive behaviors such as binge eating, compulsive behaviors, heightened sex drive, confusion, apathy, hallucinations, and sometimes childish behaviors. The only medication that has proven beneficial is the mood stabilizer lithium.
2. Sleep Paralysis
During sleep your body cycles between stages of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. During REM sleep, brain activity increases significantly (similar to brain activity during periods of wakefulness) causing you to have dreams. As a response to keep the body from acting out those dreams, your body enters a state of paralysis while in REM sleep, shutting down all voluntary muscles. Many people who experience sleep paralysis report having visual and sometimes auditory hallucinations as well as intense feelings of fear, panic, and shortness of breath. Many sufferers report feeling a presence in the room or even on top of them crushing the wind from their lungs.
3. REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
At the other end of the spectrum from sleep paralysis is the disorder known as REM sleep behavior disorder. This disorder occurs when the body does not become paralyzed during sleep, allowing sleepers to act out their dreams. This disorder can prove very frightening, especially when the dreams being acted out are violent. Such acts can include yelling and screaming, punching, kicking, thrashing about, jumping out of bed, and even running. REM sleep behavior disorder can lead to injury for both the sufferer themselves as well as their bed partners.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder characterized by excessive sleepiness, sleep paralysis, hallucinations, and in some cases episodes of cataplexy (partial or total loss of muscle control, often triggered by an intense emotion such as laughter). Narcolepsy occurs equally in men and women and is thought to affect roughly 1 in 2,000 people. The symptoms appear in childhood or adolescence, but many people have symptoms of narcolepsy for years before getting a proper diagnosis. People with narcolepsy feel very sleepy during the day and may involuntarily fall asleep during normal activities.
Sleep bruxism, also known as nocturnal tooth grinding, is the medical term for clenching or grinding teeth during sleep. A type of movement disorder that occurs during sleep, bruxism is a common condition – one survey estimates that 8% of adults grind their teeth at night and a study shows that more than a third of parents report symptoms of bruxism in their children. Occasional bruxism may not be harmful, but when it occurs regularly, it may be associated with moderate to severe dental damage, facial pain, and disturbed sleep. Although the causes of bruxism are unknown, one study links it with such factors as anxiety, stress, alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, caffeine, sleep apnea, snoring and fatigue.
6. RESTLESS LEG SYNDROME
Experts aren’t sure what causes RLS but theorize that it’s hereditary. Medications have also been known to cause RLS. Pregnant women sometimes suffer from RLS. An irresistible urge to move the limbs, not just legs. Often occurs in the evening or during periods of rest. Neubauer says that those who have RLS can kick or move hundreds of times a night, every single night. Regular exercise, reduction in caffeine and alcohol can help reduce its effects. For severe cases, medication is a prescribed as well. About 10% of the population suffers from RLS. It’s more common in women.
Sources: Alaskasleepclinic, National Sleep Foundation.