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The Strangest Sleep Disorders Ever!

Monday, March 28th, 2011

For many people, a good night’s sleep is a given. However, for those suffering from a sleep disorder, a restful night’s rest is anything but the norm. While everyone is likely to experience insomnia at one point in their life, some people have to deal with strange sleep disorders and can only hope for a full night of sleep.


Narcolepsy is probably one of the most well known sleep disorders. Individuals with narcolepsy experience excessive daytime sleepiness and can fall asleep instantly and without warning. This includes falling asleep at the most inopportune and even downright dangerous times like driving, walking, working and having a conversation.


Photo: Pragmagraphr/Flickr

Nocturnal Eating Syndrome

Imagine waking up in the morning, walking into your kitchen, and seeing a half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich that wasn’t there the night before. If you live alone, you may wonder if a burglar snuck into your house for a late night snack. However, the answer to this mystery may be a little closer to home – you suffer from nocturnal eating syndrome (NES). Individuals with NES are known to get up out of bed, eat or drink something and return to bed without ever waking.


Photo: bumblesweet/Flickr

Fatal Familial Insomnia

Insomnia is irritating but fatal familial insomnia (FFI) is downright deadly. This ultra-rare genetic condition has only been identified in a handful of families worldwide. FFI usually strikes during middle age and the results are devastating. Individuals with FFI have the complete inability to sleep. The body and mind slowly degenerate and eventually a patient with FFI will slip into a coma and die.

Fatal Familial Insomnia

Photo: MoonSoleil/Flickr

Sleep Paralysis

Individuals that suffer from sleep paralysis experience partial or complete paralysis right before falling asleep or immediately upon waking from sleep. This inability to move can cause quite a bit of panic in patients that have yet to be officially diagnosed. Imagine waking up in the morning and not being able to move your major muscles. That is scary and most people wouldn’t think, “Hey, this is a sleep disorder, everything will be OK.” Instead, thoughts would turn to worst-case scenarios like a brain tumor. The good news is that prescription medicine can eliminate this strange sleep disorder.

Sleep Paralysis

Photo: jamelah/Flickr

Terrifying Hypnagogic Hallucinations

If sleep paralysis wasn’t already scary enough, some patients also experience terrifying hypnagogic hallucinations that coincide with their paralysis. These hallucinations typically include an absolutely frightful character that would petrify even the most hardcore horror movie fan. Not everyone that experiences sleep paralysis suffers from these hallucinations and terrifying hypnagogic hallucinations can occur without accompanying paralysis.

Terrifying Hypnagogic Hallucinations

Photo: ‘Lil/Flickr

Brugada Syndrome

Sleep paralysis and terrifying hypnagogic hallucinations are scary but not life threatening. Brugada Syndrome, on the other hand, is deadly. Brugada Syndrome, also known as sudden unexplained nocturnal death syndrome (SUNDS), typically strikes young adults. A seemingly healthy individual goes to sleep and has an unexpected and fatal heart attack, never to wake again. Much is still unknown about this disease but it is more prevalent in people of Asian descent.

Brugada Syndrome

Photo: osaka19/Flickr


European Society of Sleep Technologists

Sleep Disorders Institute

National Institutes of Health

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