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Strange Sleep Disorders

We will be on Fox 10 Wednesday January 3rd at 11 a.m.  If anyone has experienced or been diagnosed with any of the following disorders and is willing to speak for the segment, please contact us at 480-830-3900.


Exploding Head Syndrome and other Strange Sleep Disorders

(Phoenix, Arizona) More than 70 million people in the U.S. have a sleep disorder and yet most of those who have one are completely unaware of it.

The International Classification of Sleep Disorders, Second Edition documents 81 official sleep disorders. While some of these are very common, most of them are found in only a small portion of people. Here are seven of the strangest sleep disorders documented.

1.         Exploding Head Syndrome

Exploding head syndrome is most common in older people, though it has been reported in children under age 10. Sufferers say that it seems like a bomb has gone off in their head.  Some people think that they are having a stroke.  The event is normally painless and harmless.

2. Sleep Related Eating Disorder

A sleep related eating disorder is a series of repeated episodes of compulsive binge eating and drinking after waking up in the night.   People who suffer from this disorder may not remember the episode after they wake up, but only discover it after seeing some sort of evidence.  One person said she woke up and saw ketchup all over her hands and face.  Foods that are high in calories tend to be eaten the most. It is common to eat or drink thick and sugary foods such as peanut butter or syrup.

3.        Sleeping Beauty Syndrome

This rare disorder forces someone to sleep up to 20 hours a day for weeks on end. Seventy percent of those afflicted are adolescent males. The episodes can come on quickly and are often associated with excessive eating, wild sexual urges, hallucinations, disorientation and even flu-like symptoms. The disorder may be related to a malfunction of parts of the brain that govern appetite and sleep. Once you have the disorder, you could be in for a long ride. The symptoms can take a decade or more to fully recede.
4.        Fatal Familial Insomnia

Fatal familial insomnia is an extremely rare and deadly genetic brain disease. Sleeping becomes difficult at its onset. The symptoms rapidly worsen, resulting in dementia and loss of energy.  Eventually the victim will fall into a coma and die.

5.        Sleep Starts

If you have ever experienced a strong jerking sensation just before you fall asleep you may be experiencing a sleep start.  Sleep starts are a very common part of the falling asleep process and are reported to occur in 60% to 70% of people of all ages.

Sleep starts most often occur in the arms and legs and may not wake you up.  You also may experience a falling sensation.  They are generally harmless.

6. REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

People with REM Sleep Behavior disorder will act out their dreams in their sleep.  For example, a man might dream that he is playing football and leap out of bed to catch a pass.   These dreams can be very active and can often become violent.  The actions may include shouting, swearing, flailing, punching, kicking, leaping, jumping.

If you are experiencing symptoms described in any of these disorders, it could mean that there is something going on with your body that you are not aware of.  Make sure that you discuss your symptoms with your physician.
About Valley Sleep Center:

Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep studies in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients.  Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems.  They accept most insurance plans as well as Medicare.  For more information contact Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900; http://www.valleysleepcenter.com.

Source:  American Academy of Sleep Medicine


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