Happy Halloween, people!
If you are not feeling spooked enough for this year’s Halloween, then let us share some scary sleep facts with you!
Note: Don’t let these facts cause you any sleepless nights though!
Scary sleep facts
- Sleeping late and nightmares
According to studies, delaying sleep can increase occurrences of nightmares.
By sleeping late, you heighten the risk of experiencing a nightmare. The increase in the levels of cortisol has something to do with this, speculate the researchers.
According to them, the hormone peaks in the body in the early morning hours. This is also the peak of REM sleep cycles. If you go to sleep during these hours, the chances of seeing a nightmare or a bizarre dream is the highest.
Nightmares can also be caused by stress, mental ill-health, and certain medications.
Sleepwalking or somnambulism is a behavior disorder related to sleep. It occurs during deep sleep and causes the sleeper to walk or perform tasks while in their sleep.
Sleepwalking can include something as simple as sitting up in bed while asleep. More complex behaviors include walking around, leaving the house, and traveling long distances, etc. in deep sleep.
Many people believe that a sleepwalker should not be awakened. This, however, is a misconception. It can be dangerous to not wake a sleepwalker since he or she is capable of complex behaviors that might put their and other people’s lives in danger.
- Sleep paralysis
Sleep paralysis is the inability to move or speak when you wake up or fall asleep. This is temporary and not harmful, but it can be pretty scary.
Some symptoms include inability to take deep breaths, feeling of restriction, inability to move their eyes, difficulty in even opening their eyes, hallucinating that someone or something is trying to harm or kill them, feeling of intense fear, etc.
The causes of sleep paralysis are sleep deprivation, irregular sleep patterns, narcolepsy (a condition where people suddenly fall asleep), and sleeping on the back. If your family has historically been prone to experience sleep paralysis, then chances are you will suffer from this condition too.
According to research, several people have experienced sleep paralysis at least once in their lives. However, it can be concerning if it occurs frequently.
- Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Sleep Disorder
REM Sleep Disorder is the opposite of sleep paralysis.
While in sleep paralysis you become immobile, in REM disorder, you will be compelled to act. You might shout or kick or punch. You might act out the violent scenes of your dream. This is why it is also known as dream enacting behavior.
According to the Mayo Clinic, during normal REM or dream sleep, the nerve pathways that prevent muscles from moving are active. This causes temporary paralysis in the body. In people who have REM sleep behavior disorder, these pathways fail to work. Because of this, these muscles move in their dreams.
The symptoms include hitting, punching, kicking, jumping out of bed, defending yourself like you are being attacked, laughing, talking, shouting, screaming for health, cursing, and being able to recall the dream when you wake up.
Most of these sleep conditions are caused by sleep deprivation, while others lead to interrupted sleep.
To sleep better, this Halloween, try sleeping early and waking up early. Since nightmares are mostly caused when you sleep pretty late, the only way to combat it is to sleep on time! Give it a try for a while and let us know how the experience was.