Have you ever woken up in the morning with complaints from your family that you were shouting at them last night? Have you ever seen your kitchen items misplaced and you remember cleaning it last night before sleeping? These are only a few things that people do while they are deep asleep.
Although it is not clear on how people actually experience when they are going through it. At first, it looks like a disorder but it has no damages for your body other than the damage caused by acts that you are doing in sleep.
These habits are called parasomnias and it is often associated with any unsettling action or behavior. This is strange because it is acted when a person is sleeping; they are completely unconscious of what they are doing.
There are different reasons behind it. Some of these habits indicate a sleep disorder while other is the result of normal physiological occurrences, which are extremely common.
Here are five strangest things that people sometimes do when they are sleeping.
1- Sleep talk
Sleep talking, also called somniloquy, is a common physiological phenomenon. It is most common among children and adolescents and sometimes in adults. A recent study tells that sleep talker is more likely to say swear words and negative content. It may be linked as an outcome of a negative dreamy situation, which triggers this response. Sometimes this sleep talk is due to any illness, stress or anxiety that a person is facing in day-to-day life. Rarely it is due to sleeplessness or a sleep disorder.
Sleepwalking also called as somnambulism, is perhaps the best- type of parasomnia. It has caught people’s attention for years mainly due to getting featured in literature or movies. This takes place in three stages while a person is in non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. This is a type of deep sleep in which brainwaves are slow so breathing becomes deep.
It is not easy to wake a person when he is under this type of sleep. That explains why sleepwalking is so unsettling. A weird thing about sleepwalking is that a sleepwalker may appear concomitantly awake to anyone who is witnessing him. The sleepwalker has more tendencies to walk towards sound, light or any particular direction and he may also do acts like changing clothes, opening the door, closing door, using the bathroom etc.
3- Sleep starts
Sleep starts or “hypnic jerks” is another weird sleeping habit. It is a sensation of falling from a height. It causes the body to jerk and wake up with a start. It can affect anyone and it is particularly common in adults. This is not a sleep disorder yet fairly common among people.
The muscle contraction due to sleep-starts lasts for less than 1 second. It is just a transitional stage in which the person wakes up completely. Some people also experience an auditory sound such as an utterance. It sometimes appears as an unusually terrifying perception of a loud sound or flash of light. It is called exploding head syndrome in that case. Various factors may cause it such as fatigue, stress, sleep deprivation, exercise, high caffeine intake etc.
4- Performing sexual acts
Though uncommon but a few individuals sometimes engage in erotic behaviors during sleep. It can scare the bed partner if they are sleeping with one. The most controversial sleeping acts are usually sexual. They become unexplainable when the person tries to engage the partner in it.
This type of parasomnia is called sexsomnia. It is not one act but a mixture of many acts that may include sexual vocalizations masturbation, fondling intercourse/attempted intercourse during sleep and others.
Just like sleepwalking, sexsomnia also occurs during the NREM stages of sleep. There are only 95 reposted cases of sexsomnia till date as per a Case report published recently. Most of these reported cases had male sleepers involved.
Most of the times sexsomnia looks like an embarrassing occurrence, but in a more extreme nature, it may end up sexually assaulting a sleeping partner. But a person is unconscious during this time, all the acts that they are doing are not what they consciously doing. They don’t even remember it when they are awake in the following morning.
5- Acting out dreams
This is a specific type of parasomnia known as rapid eye movement or REM. This sleep behavior disorder is similar to sleepwalking on the account of fairly complex actions while in a deep sleep.
It is a condition in which an individual acts out his dreams most of which is a response to any action. Individuals exhibiting this behavior disorder tend to “act out” or physically respond to anything that is happening to them in a dream. The bad news is that it is not always a great thing. It is unclear on how and why this happens.
But some troubled sleepers sometimes do chaotic movements that correspond to their dream situation. The only good thing is that these acts are violent neither to them nor to others.
Sometimes they show an aggressive or violent behavior, which is more often present in men than it is in women in deep sleep. It can be an outcome of first timers using an antidepressant medicine. It may also an effect of overdosing alcohol, coffee or even chocolate.
If you are interested to read more about life with a sleeping disorder and how to manage it, you may find this following link useful. Note that this information is based on data shared by Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Click the following link to know more about sleep and sleep disorders.