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Strange Things That Occur During Sleep

Do you ever feel like you're falling when you are sleeping?  Have you ever woken up in a dream just to realize you were still in a dream?  These strange sleep occurrences are not uncommon.  I wanted to find out why these things happen, so I decided to do a little research.

1. Why do people feel like they are falling when they are asleep?

This is called hypnotic jerk and has to do with the transition between being asleep and and dreaming.  When you sleep, your body becomes paralyzed but you can sometimes start to dream before your body is in it's "off" mode.  If you are dreaming that you are falling at this cycle of sleep point, you may experience the feeling of actually falling.  This is more likely to occur when you are sleep deprived, stressed or over tired.

2. Why do people hear explosions in their sleep?

This is called "Exploding head syndrome" and although there is no pain associated with it, it can be terrifying.  People who have this rare syndrome hear an explosion or bang in their head while they are going through their sleep cycles.  This can be caused by stress or lack of sleep.

3. Why do some people become temporarily paralyzed when they wake up?

 The body has a process called rapid eye movement (REM)sleep in which the brain has vivid dreams, while the muscles of the body are turned off.  This occurs so that people can not act out dreams with their body.  Sleep paralysis occurs when a person wakes up before REM is finished.  The person will be awake, but their body's ability to move hasn't turned back on.  This can be caused by some medications, sleep deprivation and even sleep disorders.

4. Do my eyes move when I am sleeping?

Yes! During REM (rapid eye movement) your eyes do zip around.  However, they are not sending any visual data to your brain even though your visual cortex is active.  Some scientists believe that this activity is a memory forming or reinforcing process that perhaps locks in your recollection of what happened during the day.   

5. Why do people sleepwalk (including night terrors) or sleeptalk?

Sleepwalking usually involves more than just walking during sleep; it is a series of complex behaviors that are carried out while sleeping, the most obvious of which is walking. Symptoms of sleepwalking disorder range from simply sitting up in bed and looking around, to walking around the room or house, to leaving the house and even driving long distances. It is a common misconception that a sleepwalker should not be awakened. In fact, it can be quite dangerous not to wake a sleepwalker.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, this is a behavior disorder that is much more common in children.  It is often initiated during deep sleep, but can occur during lighter sleep stages of (REM).  Other causes may be heredity, lack of sleep, sleep apnea, illness or fever, medications, stress, going to bed with a full bladder.

6. What causes people to grind their teeth when they sleep?

This is called Bruxism.  About 10 percent of adults have this condition.  The symptoms can range from mild to severe and can lead to dental and jaw problems.  It has been linked to stress and doctors suggest that you avoid caffeine before bed as well as relaxation to help.  Some dentists may suggest a mouth guard to aid with this condition.

7. Why do some people wake up so angry or in a bad mood?

According to Net Doctor there can be several reasons for this.  You may not have prepared properly for sleep.  You may be more glycemically sensitive than others, which means your blood sugars can fluctuate more easily.  Little things like having chocolate after dinner can effect the blood sugar levels overnight.  Eating sugary foods or having alcohol close to bed time can cause your blood sugar to plummet in the night.  This will leave you feeling exhausted and can contribute to your morning grumpiness.  Try having foods like turkey that contain tryptophan that contain the amino acid serotonin which helps regulate waking/sleeping cycles.  Avoid foods that contain tyramine which inhibits sleep.  These include smoked fish, cheese, and peppers. 

Another way to avoid waking up angry is to get more magnesium in your diet. Dark green vegetables are a great source of magnesium.  You can even try taking a bath inn epsom salt which contained magnesium.  Since magnesium is absorbed through the skin, it is a great way to get your dose while relaxing your body.  

Get more Vitamin C.  Your liver make be overworked, impacting your body's ability to detoxify and can impair your sleep quality.  Vitamin C is vital for liver detoxification.  Also, don't skip meals and make smart choice. Skip the carb filled muffins, cereal and croissants and opt for foods that slowly keep your sugars level like scrambled eggs, yogurt, nut butters or whole grains.

I hope this article helped to explain some of the strange behaviors and occurrences that can happen when we sleep.


  1. I have dreams where I'm being chased and attacked. I will start making noises and my husband wakes me up. I have read that this is a common dream.


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