15 Bizarre Sleeping Disorders


Sleep is supposed to be a peaceful respite, a time for our minds and bodies to rest and recharge. But for millions of people, hitting the hay means entering a bizarre world of unusual and sometimes terrifying experiences called sleep disorders. So, stick around to uncover 15 of these conditions that could potentially transform your beauty sleep into a crippling nightmare. 

Exploding Head Syndrome

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It sounds like a horror movie premise — you’re drifting off to sleep only for a loud, imaginary noise to wake you up violently. It could sound like a gunshot, cymbal-clashing, or thunderclap. Some people even experience buzzing. This rare hallucination known as exploding head syndrome is ultimately harmless but can ruin a good night’s sleep with its petrifying noise.

Sleep Paralysis

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Sleep paralysis occurs when the brain gets stuck between sleep and wake cycles, causing scary, temporary paralysis. You wake up but cannot move a muscle or make a sound. Your mind is awake, but your body refuses to cooperate. With hallucinations of haunting figures common as well, it’s no wonder this often feels like torture.


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We all have those days when we’d give anything for a nap. Excessive daytime sleepiness is a typical sign of narcolepsy, regardless of how much rest one gets. This disorder causes irresistible “sleep attacks” at inopportune times, like during conversations, meals, or even while driving.

Idiopathic Hypersomnia

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Most of us wake up refreshed after a good night’s slumber, but for people with idiopathic hypersomnia, no amount of sleep feels enough. Despite logging 10+ hours of shut-eye, you might still experience overwhelming drowsiness and uncontrollable daytime napping with no known cause.


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As kids, we may have found it funny when friends or siblings walked around muttering with their eyes closed. But adult sleepwalkers can unknowingly wander into danger like traffic or stairs. Their brains remain asleep even as their bodies carry out complex behaviors, from cooking to cleaning, with no recollection afterward.

Delayed Sleep-Wake Phase

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Are you a perpetual night owl who finds falling asleep before 2 am impossible? This sleep disorder causes your body’s internal clock to delay sleep and wake times beyond socially acceptable hours, making you the enemy of 9-5 schedules everywhere.

Advanced Sleep-Wake Phase

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On the flip side of our night owls are the early birds whose body clocks are set to an early schedule. People with this disorder start feeling sleepy at 6 or 7 pm, perk up before sunrise, and complete their sleep cycle in the early morning hours, no matter what.


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This is a noisy sleeping companion that neither person in the bed wants. Loud, inconsistent breathing during sleep doesn’t just jolt people awake but can also signal obstructed airways and other health issues for the snorer.

Sleep Eating

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Have you ever woken up to a mess of food splattered everywhere, cabinets hanging open, with no memory of how it happened? For sleep eaters, that bizarre experience of groggily baking cakes or rummaging through the fridge while unconscious is their daily reality.  

Paradoxical Insomnia

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You’ve logged what feels like plenty of hours “asleep,” yet you wake up feeling just as exhausted as when you went to bed. This disconnection between your perceived sleep quality and how rested you think you are is the paradox of this frustrating sleep disorder.

Night Terrors

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While nightmares are unpleasant dreams we eventually wake up from, night terrors are truly frightening episodes of screaming, thrashing, and kicking — with no memory of it the next day. This is similar to sleepwalking but involves much more violence. 

Sleep Apnea


One second, you’re sleeping silently; the next, your breathing is abruptly cut off as your airway closes — until your brain jerks you awake, gasping and sputtering for air. This cycle repeating throughout the night constitutes sleep apnea, robbing you of quality sleep and potentially causing severe health complications.

Irregular Sleep-Wake Phase

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Most of us are either consistent night owls or morning larks, but people with this disorder have wildly fluctuating sleep-wake cycles with no set schedule. It might feel normal one day to go to bed at 9 pm and the next to stay awake until 4 am with no predictable pattern.  

Sleep Bruxism

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That unpleasant feeling of grinding or clenching your teeth shouldn’t happen during sleep. But that’s not the case for dental patients with bruxism. This subconscious oral behavior can quickly wear down teeth over time with forceful, sustained grinding throughout the night.

Restless Leg Syndrome

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Despite feeling calm and still in your waking life, once you try to fall asleep, your legs take on a mind of their own with unstoppable twitching, jerking, and shaking urges. This impulse to constantly move the legs makes restful sleep impossible.


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