You might think your nightly sleep is a time for peace and quiet, bit for parasomnia sufferers sleeping can be anything but peaceful.
In fact, people can do some very weird and scary things while they are sleeping – here are 15 of the most weird things people do in their sleep:
1. Somniloquy – talking in your sleep
Talking in your sleep might seem perfectly harmless. Muttering about those shoes you saw on Topshop’s website is adorable! Unfortunately sleep talking isn’t always so innocent, especially if you’re beside your significant other. Many an argument (and divorce) has arisen from the muttering of other names during sleep.
Indeed, one songwriter talked in his sleep so much that his roommate recorded his musings and released it as an album in 1964. Dion McGregor, from New York, would speak in great detail as he dreamed giving listeners an insight into his bizarre dreams.
The most common sleep hallucination experienced by people is the feeling of waking up and seeing a shadowy figure at the bottom of your bed. Truly terrifying, these occur directly after waking suddenly and will appear very real. It’s thought that almost half of the population will experience a sleep hallucination at one point.
But it’s not just seeing something that’s not there that people can experience – noises and touch are also common. Imagine waking up feeling someone’s hand on your face and seeing no one? Very creepy.
3. Nocturnal lagophthalmos
Nocturnal lagophthalmos is the name given to people who sleep with their eyes open. Now if you’ve ever come across a person who sleeps with their eyes open, you know how disturbing it can be. Imagine waking up to see someone with their eyes open – the first thought you’re going to have is that they’re dead!
4. Waking-up angry
We’ve all experienced that feeling of getting out on the wrong side of the bed, but for some (around 4% of the population) waking up angry is a very serious matter. People affected wake up in a state of total confusion leading to very aggressive behaviour, which the person will have no memory of after.
5. Nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder
People who suffer from nocturnal sleep-related eating disorder will travel to their kitchens at night and stuff their faces with food. With no reconciliation of their actions in the morning, sufferers will wake up feeling food and bloated.
Worse still, sufferers will often eat items they would never eat while conscious. Imagine eating mayonnaise from a jar with a spoon – it’s not quite nutella is it?
6. Cook a meal
Similar to a sleep eating disorder, sleepwalkers have been known to try their hand at cooking while unconscious. Although this seems amusing, it’s also very dangerous. Imagine using a gas cooker while your sleeping!
7. Sleep driving
As you can imagine, sleep driving is VERY dangerous. Sufferers will get out of bed, grab their keys and go out driving. Sleep driving is thought to be a side affect of some medications, which is why you should always read the label!
8. REM sleep behaviour disorder
People who suffer from REM sleep behaviour disorder will act out what their dreaming. So if you’re dreaming that your running a marathon you’ll probably find your body is jogging round your house too.
9. Night terrors
Affecting about 2% of the population, night terrors occur when a person is having such a vivid nightmare that they will flee their beds to escape their terrors. The sufferers, who are still asleep, will try to escape through windows or doors causing themselves harm.
10. Believing you can fly
Unlike night terrors, where people are escaping from a nightmare, these sleep walkers throw themselves from windows and off buildings because they truly believe they can fly. Thankfully, depending on from what height they jump, sufferers often escape with few injuries. This is due to the fact your muscles are relaxed and limp, which will protect your bones.
In Germany in 2007 a teenager jumped from the fourth floor of a building while asleep but escaped with only a broken arm and leg. He remained asleep during the whole incident.
11. Become an artist
The curious case of Lee Hadwin, the man who cannot draw when he’s awake but draws masterpieces while he’s asleep. Imagine waking in the morning to find a work of art you produced while fast asleep!
12. Use the internet
We may use the internet numerous times a day while awake, but that doesn’t some sleepers from bringing out their laptops at night. One American woman, back in 2008, sent out party invitations to her friends via email. Most surprising was the fact that the emails were very coherent considering the author was asleep at the time.
13. Send text messages
Similar to sending emails, sending a text while you’re asleep is pretty harmless. Although it could be very, very embarrassing.
Surprisingly it’s also very common – Villanova University conducted a survey of 300 students that found 25-30% had sent a text while asleep.
14. Exploding head syndrome
Occurring as people are falling asleep, sufferers hear a large bang in their head akin to a bomb explosion. Some will also experience a large flash of flight. Thankfully rare, this is a very scary experience to endure.
15. Homicidal somnambulism
The idea of a person committing murder in their sleep is a highly contested manner. You see, when the sleepwalking defense is used, there is always the skepticism that the person is just trying to get away with murder.
However, there have been cases where a defendant has been successfully acquitted of murder using the sleepwalker defense. Take Kenneth Parks who in 1987 drove 14 miles to his in-laws house in Canada. On arrival he strangled and stabbed both his father-in-law and mother-in-law leaving her dead and the man barely alive. He then went to a police station where officers decided his behaviour and family history of parasomnia meant he was asleep during the attack and therefore not guilty.