Everyone loves sleeping because it helps refresh the body and restore energy. You forget every worry around you if you are able to have a nice sleep. But what happens to you while you sleep is a mystery. It is difficult to come across anyone who has never encountered some strange and unpleasant experiences while sleeping. Scientists have tried to explain mysterious things that happen to us while we sleep but this issue has remained complex. Here are 11 bizarre things that happen while we sleep, though why these happen remains a mystery.
1. SLEEP PARALYSIS
This refers to not being able to move or even talk when you wake up or fall asleep. It can happen together with scary thoughts and hallucinations. Sleep paralysis could be as a result of lack of sleep, changing sleep schedule, stress, use of certain medications, or narcolepsy, which is the extreme tendency to fall asleep whenever you find yourself in a relaxing environment. This could be treated through improved sleep habits, including going to bed at the same time every night, ensuring a comfortable sleep environment free of distractions, and avoiding caffeine before sleeping.
2. Sleep HALLUCINATIONS
This happens when you imagine sensations that seem very real, as you are about to sleep. You kind of feel like there are scary creatures around you, and this occurs when you are falling asleep or about waking up. This experience is most common in children and that is why sometimes they express resistance towards going to bed. Adults experience this too. It can be caused by stress, being drunk or high, coming down from drugs like marijuana, cocaine, or heroin. You should see a sleep therapist if these hallucinations cause you anxiety, or, always disrupt your sleep.
3. REPETITIVE DREAM
A recurring dream is a dream which a person experiences repeatedly over a long period. Oftentimes, such dreams are related to that person’s reality, at least, in part. The dream could be pleasant, or nightmarish, but it is unique to an experience the person had at some point in life. If for instance, you had a domestic accident in your house during the day, it is probable that your brain would play that scene again and again in your dream so that you come to terms with it. Creating a good sleep schedule is one major way of getting rid of repetitive dreams because this helps you get enough sleep throughout the night. Create a healthy sleep habit by improving your bedtime routines.
4. SLEEP SEX
This is also called sexomnia. It is a sleep-related sexual behaviour which occurs while your body is coming out of sleep, though your mind is not conscious enough. This is why sleep sex, just like sleep walking, is regarded as a form of parasomnia, where you feel awake but you are not awake, so you engage in an activity like having sex with a partner, as if you are awake. When this kind of sleep disorder happens, the person might masturbate, fondle a bed partner, give oral sex, engage in intercourse, or reach orgasm while asleep, and without recollecting any of these the next morning. This disorder could be handled by changing your medications, if you were taking any, because some medications cause this. You should also care for your mental health through checkups with a doctor, and try to have good sleep habits because poor sleep habits can cause this.
5. DREAMING WITHIN A DREAM
This is also called false awakening. There are times when you are convinced that you have woken up from sleep but the strange things you were dreaming about continue to happen. You lie in bed and wonder whether you’re really awake, perhaps, even pinching yourself before making a move to get up. Then you realize you’re still dreaming. What happened was that you actually did not wake up in reality, but, within the dream. This double dream is said to be a predisposition to spiritual practises, not really having a scientific explanation.
This occurs when a person gets out of bed and walks around, sometimes even performs other activities while still asleep. It is a period of combined sleep and wakefulness. This could be dangerous because you could hit something, rush out of your house or even get behind the wheel, oftentimes, without recollecting any of these, when you wake up. During sleepwalking, your body is awake but not your mind. The cause of the phenomenon is unknown but it is said that it could be as a result of sleep deprivation, fever, and excessive tiredness. Children experience this disorder more than adults. The risk could increase with certain medications. It could be treated through sleep hygiene, relaxation trainings, and psychological interventions to manage aggressive feelings.
7. OUT-OF-BODY EXPERIENCE
This is when a person feels that their body and soul have separated and they see the physical body lying on the bed below while you float in spirit. It is also described as a dissociative episode during which you feel your consciousness leaving your body. No one is sure about what really causes out-of-body experience but experts have identified possible explanation, among which are stress, trauma, certain medications, and medical conditions such as epilepsy, migraine, brain injuries, cardiac arrest, depression, and anxiety.
8. SLEEP TALKING
This is a sleep disorder that occurs when a person talks during sleep without being aware of it. It is also called somniloquy. This could last for about 30 seconds and usually happens within the first two hours of sleep. The reason behind sleep talking is that before we enter deep sleep, our body still has enough muscle tone to make sounds which accompany our dreams. What the person is saying could be complicated dialogues, monologues, or mumblings, most times, making no sense at all. This is a harmless, rare and short-lived occurrence in most people. It could also be a sign of a more serious sleep disorder.
9. SUDDEN ENLIGHTENMENT
This occurs when you are bothered about how to find an answer to a relentless question and suddenly the solution appears in your dream. This happens because many-a-times, our subconscious knows the answer but it takes time to reach our conscious mind. Some people wake up in the middle of the night when great ideas appear in their dreams. They wake up and take notes before going back to sleep.
10. EXPLODING HEAD SYNDROME
This occurs when a person is on the verge of falling asleep or waking up. The person experiences unreal noises that are loud and of short duration. You feel like you woke up with an explosion in your head. You could hear a sound which is like an explosion and a flash of light. Experts try to explain this abnormal sensory perception as a period your senses are still partly active even after your brain has slept or is heading towards a deep sleep. It is suggested that this could be as a result of fear, emotional stress, anxiety, or temporal seizures in parts of the middle ear. It could be treated using antidepressant medications.
This is a broad name that covers many of the disorders we discussed earlier. Parasomnia occurs when a person’s brain is caught between sleep stages, from falling asleep, to the period you’re asleep, or during arousal period between sleep, and wakefulness. You feel like you’re awake but you’re actually still asleep. It involves abnormal movements, talk, emotions, and actions which happen while you’re asleep, although your bed partner might think you’re awake. Examples of this include sleep terrors, sleepwalking, nightmare disorder, sleep-related eating disorder, and sleep paralysis. This could be caused by stress, fatigue, poor sleep hygiene, sleep deprivation, and disrupted sleep schedule, among others. It could be treated through good sleep hygiene and habits, avoidance of stress, fatigue and sleep deprivation.