Some of the weirdest sleeping disorders
Medical phenomenon – even sleeping disorders – can be fascinating in a clinical sense. Obviously, they’re no joke, and can be severely debilitating and troublesome to those experiencing them – but this doesn’t necessarily take away from how weird they can seem to those of us who are unfamiliar with them.
So in this post, we decided to talk about some of the strangest and weirdest sleeping disorders that we’ve ever encountered during our research. Many of these are extremely rare – but that doesn’t make them any less strange or unusual.
Sleeping beauty syndrome
Many sleeping disorders have to do with preventing sleep. But this disorder, also known as Kleine-Levin Syndrome, or KLS, does the opposite. Instead of preventing sufferers from sleeping, it plunges them into long, up to 23 hour marathon sleeping sessions, which sometimes last days, or even weeks in a row!
The disorder primarily affects young males, though females can also suffer from it. It tends to manifest itself in isolated ‘episodes’, during which the sufferer will sleep for entire days without waking. When the individual does wake up, they will usually behave unusually and excessively. They may binge-eat, act confused, seem apathetic, hallucinate, or experience a heightened sex drive.
Little is known about what causes it, and those who suffer from it tend to grow out of it within 8 years. Often, periods of ‘normality’ will ensue between episodes – and can sometimes last 6 months to a year before another episode happens.
Exploding head syndrome
This disorder actually isn’t as bad as it sounds. Also known as EHS, Exploding Head Syndrome is a condition in which the sufferer experiences intense auditory hallucinations, which wake him or her up from sleep. The sounds are most commonly reported as being loud, explosive sounds – like gunshots, cymbals, door slams, or loud shouts. Sometimes, the auditory hallucinations are also accompanied by bright, flashing lights.
The disorder is pretty much harmless and doesn’t really cause any medical problems – but it can be a bit psychologically distressing, and can cause the sufferer a lot of anxiety, paranoia, and even a fear of sleeping.
Free Running Disorder
This disorder also goes by the rather wordy name of ‘Non 24 sleep-wake Disorder’, and is basically a disorder in which the individual’s normal sleep/wake schedule doesn’t hold to the normal 24 hour daily period. Instead, the individual’s natural schedule/sleep rhythm might fall somewhere close to the 25 or 26 hour mark, which means that natural bedtimes and waking times tend to get pushed back by an additional hour each day.
This might not sound like such a big deal, but it can be surprisingly troublesome… especially for someone who needs to get up and/or go to bed at a certain time of the day each day, as part of a job or to fulfill social obligations.
It can lead to a lot of stress, and can be difficult to manage when you spend your time around other people who rigidly structure their schedule around the normal 24 hour day sleeping schedule.
Sleep Related Eating Disorder
This disorder, also known as SRED, or Night-time Eating Disorder, causes people to compulsively snack in the middle of the night with no ability to control the activity. It’s very much like sleepwalking, but with compulsive snacking added on-top of it.
The disorder is often marked by nightly food binges which the individual has no recollection or awareness of during or after. It tends to affect middle aged women the most, and sufferers will tend to choose calorie-rich foods, such as cookies, chips, and/or other types of sweets. Sometimes, individuals with the disorder might eat even stranger things, like cat-food.
Unlike some eating disorders, there are usually no incidences of vomiting with this sleep/eating disorder. In some rare cases, those suffering from the condition can also be in danger of injuring themselves. If someone tries to make a sandwich, for example, they might cut themselves with a knife – and may remain unaware of it because they are technically sleep walking, etc.