LIFE

12 Weird Sleep Habits And What Might Be Causing Them

by Phil Mutz
Phil is an Editor at LittleThings. He loves writing and the outdoors. You can often find him at the movies or the park.

Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the easiest and most important ways to have a pleasant and productive next day.

However, there are actually plenty of sleeping habits that can be preventing a solid night of rest for ourselves or our partners. While there are simple ways to prevent snoring, there are actually a whole lot of other weird and crazy sleep habits that we might also be engaging in.

This exclusive list explores 12 bizarre things people do in their sleep. And while I’d heard of snoring and sleepwalking, I couldn’t believe that most of these were actually real.

Scroll through to see what strange sleep habits you may be taking part in once you close your eyes at night and what might be causing them. This definitely has me wondering if I’m a secret sleep-eater!

Do you do any of these habits in your sleep, or do you know someone else who does? Let us know in the comments.

1. Sleep Talking

weird sleep habits
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

According to the Valley Sleep Center, “Sleep talking, or somniloquy, is characterized by a person talking or making noises while they are asleep. The person may speak clearly and say things that make sense or they may mumble or speak gibberish.”

While talking in your sleep might seem odd, it isn’t often a prolonged or persistent problem. This talking is often related to sickness, drinking alcohol, not getting enough sleep, or increased stress. And while it isn’t something to fret over, your partner might actually be hoping that your sleep talking clears up soon.

2. Sleep Paralysis

weird sleep habits
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Sleep expert Dr. Philip Gehrman told the Huffington Post that sleep paralysis occurs generally right before waking up, when you have the sense that you are awake but are unable to move any part of your body.

They write, “With sleep paralysis, a part of the brain wakes sooner than the rest, giving a sense of wakefulness and alertness  even though the body’s muscles are paralyzed.” Luckily, they continue, “Sleep paralysis isn’t dangerous.”

But that doesn’t make the experience any less frightening. Getting on a regular sleep schedule can help to combat these episodes.

3. Feeling of Falling

weird sleep habits
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

ABC News writes, “Typically when you dream, your body is paralyzed, but sometimes you can start dreaming before your body is on ‘off’ mode. With hypnagogic jerks [or the feeling of falling], you might act out a dream like falling off a cliff, falling from the sky, or tripping, says Dr. W. Christopher Winter, Men’s Health sleep advisor.”

While this habit isn’t necessarily something to worry about, it can be an extremely terrifying experience to suddenly wake from.

Dr. Winter says that this falling feeling is most likely to occur when you are stressed out, overworked, or overly tired.

4. Sleepwalking

weird sleep habits
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

According to the Valley Sleep Center, sleepwalking “is one of the more well-known parasomnias and is characterized by people getting out of bed and walking… Generally, sufferers have no recollection of anything that occurred while they were asleep.”

While minor wandering around the house may not be all that serious, a person’s inability to recall these episodes is probably the most terrifying aspect.

There are many things that can increase the likelihood of sleepwalking including alcohol, medication, sickness, and extreme exhaustion.

5. Sleep Eating

weird sleep habits
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

The New York Times posts this excerpt from a sleep eating report, “Sleep eaters ‘make a beeline for the kitchen’ and tend to binge on sugary, high-calorie snacks, sometimes five times a night, said Dr. John W. Winkelman… Some go for bizarre food combinations like peanut butter and pasta, and even the occasional nail polish or paper.”

Sleep eating can be caused by similar reasons to sleepwalking. However, sleep eating can actually be somewhat more dangerous…

Sleep eaters can receive “injuries like black eyes from walking into a wall or hand cuts from a prep knife, or dental problems from gnawing on frozen food.” This may be a sign that it’s time to put a lock on the refrigerator door.

6. Exploding Head Syndrome

weird sleep habits
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Dr. Winter tells ABC News about a surprising and real condition known as exploding head syndrome. “All of a sudden, the person wakes up having heard a really loud noise, like an explosion, a flash of light, or a sense that their head is exploding. In reality, nothing has actually happened.”

Exploding head syndrome falls into the same category as the feeling of falling. Your body hasn’t quite yet reached a deep sleep yet, but parts of your “awake” brain are still fully functional.

And like the feeling of falling, this sudden perceived explosion sound can be incredibly unnerving.

7. Snoring

weird sleep habits
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Nearly everybody snores at some point in life. According to WebMD, “Snoring causes a person to make snorting and other noises in their sleep… It isn’t usually a cause for concern, unless the sleep of a person or their partner is disturbed.”

While it might be common, there are occasionally serious explanations for snoring such as sleep apnea associated with “high blood pressure, obesity, heart disease, and stroke.” But the more likely culprit can be alcohol, medications, an overly soft pillow, or being overweight.

If you are a snorer, you may just want to find a partner who will snore right back at you.

8. Darting Eyes

weird sleep habits
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Darting eyes may appear very strange to someone seeing them, but they are actually quite normal. According to the New Scientist, “Your body may be still, but as you dream, your eyes can flicker manically. The rapid eye movement stage of sleep is when we have our most vivid dreams.”

These darting eye movements are simply your dream self looking around at the sights and experiences. This doesn’t make it any less creepy to see someone with wild eyes while they are asleep.

But you can rest assured that they are just off in dreamland and that you will likely have similar darting eyes when you fall asleep yourself.

9. Sleep Sex

weird sleep habits
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

According to ABC News, “In a study of more than 800 patients at a sleep disorders center, about 8 percent of patients reported incidents of sexsomnia – initiating sex with a partner while asleep.”

Similar to sleepwalking, sleep sex can occur as you are emerging from sleep but before your brain is “awake enough to be fully conscious.” This act may also be something that occurs if you have been dreaming about having sex.

In any case, you may have some apologizing to do to your partner in the morning.

10. Sudden Waking

weird sleep habits
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

No Sleepless Nights writes, “Have you ever woken up with a sudden jolt just as you’ve started falling asleep? It could be then that you have experienced a hypnic jerk. And if so, you’re certainly not alone. It’s estimated that around 70 percent of people experience hypnic jerks at some point in their lives.”

These sudden night starts generally occur as you are beginning to fall asleep. Similar to the feeling of falling while sleeping, these jerks may seem like you are going through some kind of sudden shock or jolt. This jolt can quickly waken you with a feeling of panic, and an increased heart rate.

Luckily, they are very normal and very common.

11. Night Terrors

weird sleep habits
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Sarah Morsbach Honaker spoke to the Huffington Post about night terrors. She writes, “Night terrors, also known as sleep terrors, occur more often in children… Sleep terrors can go on from 2 minutes to 20 minutes or longer, and they can be very scary.”

These terrible nightmares can be jarring for awake observers as well. There are many potential causes such as extreme fatigue, high stress levels, fever, or even an overfull bladder. In some serious cases, the terrors can be caused by sleep disorders, migraines, or even head injuries.

Experts say it is best not to wake someone having a night terror as they may not recognize you right away upon waking.

12. Sleep Driving

weird sleep habits
LittleThings / Maya Borenstein

Dr. John Cline writes in Psychology Today, “Some sleepwalkers have actually driven, sometimes for significant distances… Amazingly, sleep drivers have been able to get from one location to another without ever waking up. We do not know how many driving fatalities may have resulted from sleep driving.”

This extremely dangerous sleep habit is caused in the same way as sleepwalking, during the time when the body emerges from a deep sleep. Again, alcohol, exhaustion, and medication can be a factor.

However, those prone to sleep driving are additionally prone to sleepwalking, as they leave their beds and walk to their vehicles.

Many of these sleep habits are absolutely bizarre and can largely be affected by things that are within my control. I will definitely be on the lookout for signs that I may be secretly sleepwalking!

Please SHARE these crazy sleep habits and their causes with friends and family!