Is your kitchen littered with unexplained candy wrappers when you get up to put on the morning coffee? Someone in your household might have “nocturnal eating syndrome.” This is just one of the strange sleep disorders that is on the rise. In the United Kingdom, 30 percent of the population suffers from insomnia or worse, according to the Mental Health Foundation. Scientists are still trying to solve the puzzle of what the heck our sleeping selves were thinking when we sabotaged our diets and sleep-sent texts which should never have left our phones.
5 Fatal Familial Insomnia
Twenty-eight families around the world have unfortunately proven that it’s possible to die from lack of sleep. Fatal Familial Insomnia (FFI) is a disease which damages the thalamus, a part of the brain which controls sleep. People with FFI usually die within six to 32 months of exhibiting their initial symptoms, according to the National Institutes of Health. Hallucinations and loss of cognitive and motor skills accompany the prolonged insomnia. FFI is passed down through families. The disease has no treatment.
Potentially one of the more serious disorders, sexomania has had its day in court at several rape trials. Just as some people are compelled to walk or eat while sleeping, others seek sex. Chris Idzikowski, who directs the Edinburgh Sleep Clinic, explained to the BBC that this is instinctive behavior that sexomaniacs do while they are not in a state to make rational or moral decisions. This disorder is found in people with disruptions of both their REM and non-REM sleep. The solution? Separate bedrooms, locked doors, door alarms or sedatives.
3 Exploding Head Syndrome
This disorder isn’t quite as bad as it sounds. Rather than your head actually exploding, you hear an explosion inside your head. The afflicted have described the sound as like cymbals crashing, a clap of thunder, a gunshot or bomb exploding. Sometimes a bright flash accompanies the sound. Fatigue and extreme stress could contribute to EHS, according to the American Sleep Association, but the cause is unknown. Sufferers may have isolated incidents, or the trouble can continue for years.
2 Kleine-Levin Syndrome
If you have Kleine-Levin Syndrome or KLS, you might out sleep even your cat. Also known as “sleeping beauty syndrome,” this rare disorder causes people to sleep for up to 20 hours per day. Even when they’re awake, they may be too exhausted to get out of bed. KLS is most common in male teens. A typical episode lasts for several days or weeks. The mother of one U.K. teenage girl who suffered from KLS reported bizarre behavior in the few minutes the girl was awake, including insisting she only spoke French and regressing to toddler behavior. Scientists at Stanford are researching a possible autoimmune connection.
1 Sleep Paralysis
Tales of sex-sneaking demons may originate from sleep paralysis. This disorder — rather than succubi or incubi — makes people feel a suffocating pressure on their chests. While you’re sleeping, your muscles stay ultra-relaxed to prevent you from acting out your dreams. Your breathing slows down. If you suddenly awaken while in this state, you may feel unable to move, and you’ll struggle to get enough air. You might also hallucinate. One man reported to LiveScience.com repeatedly seeing a child skipping around his bed. Unfortunately, this youngster also turned into a demon.