Bizarre sleep disorders (that will keep you up at night)


Bizarre sleep disorders (that will keep you up at night)

23/06/2014 / Added By

“Sleep is the single most important health behaviour we have”

That’s according to Professor Russell Foster, head of the Sleep and Circadian Neuroscience Institute at the University of Oxford, who goes on to say that sleep “affects everything from our day-to-day functioning to our long-term physical and mental health.”

And yet, we appear to be encountering more and more problems with our collective sleeping patterns, and there are now over 80 recognized sleeping disorders – some of which are truly bizarre (and will never make you complain about your partner’s snoring again)!

Discover some of the weirder and scarier sleep disorders troubling today’s generation in our infographic below.

Struggling to sleep? Try these 18 ways to make your bedroom the ultimate sleep-friendly zone.

Bizarre sleep disorders (that will keep you up at night)

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Infographic Transcript: Bizarre Sleep Disorders That Will Keep You Up At Night


Did You Know?

Women are thought to need one hour of extra sleep per night compared to men.

6 in every 10 Brits are now sleep deprived.

Doctors receive less than 3 hours of formal education on sleep during their last 4 years of medical school.

There are over 80 recognized sleep disorders.

Exploding Head Syndrome

  • Experiencing loud bangs/explosions in your head just before or during sleep

  • Despite itss name, the phenomenon is usually harmless - although it can be disruptive to sleep

  • More common in women than men and in people over 50

Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome

  • SUNDS (for short)

  • The sudden unexpected death of adolescents and adults during sleep

  • Affects 43 per 100,000 per year among young filipinos

  • Ultimate cause remains a mystery

Free Running Disorder

  • Officially known as Non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder (non-24)

  • Instead of having a ‘normal’ consistent sleeping pattern, non-24 sufferers have an out-of-order body clock

  • Imagine having jet-lag, but permanently - that’s the effect of non-24

  • Majority of patients with non-24 are totally blind


  • Difficult falling and staying asleep

  • Generally, adults older than 20 and 7 to 9 hours sleep every night - insomniacs may get much less

  • The National Institute of Health estimates that 10% of the general population may have insomnia


  • Engaging in sexual activities whilst still asleep

  • In Britain, it’s believed about 4% of adults experience some degree of sexsomina during their lifetime

  • In recent years, sexomnia has been used as a defence in cases of suxual assult, causing much controversy

Fatal Familial Insomnia 

  • Very rare inherited prion disease of the brain

  • FFI has no known cure and involves progressively worsening insomnia, which ultimately leads to death

  • FFI has affected about 100 worldwide and has only been found in 40 families

  • The average survival span for patients diagnosed with FFI is 18 months

Sleep Paralysis

  • Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon in which people temporarily experience an inability to move

  • Sometimes accompanied by ‘awake dreaming’ - meaning that whilst paralysed, sufferers also experience vivid ‘hallucinations’ (dreams)

  • Used to be considered the work of demons, thought to sleep on the chest of sleepers


  • 31,000 in the UK are affected by Narcolepsy

  • Causes periods of extreme daytime sleepiness and sudden, irresistible bouts of sleep that can strike at any time

  • Not to be confused with KLS

  • 70% of people with Narcolepsy experience Cataplexy (falling asleep every time you laugh)

Sleeping Beauty Syndrome

  • Kleine-Levin-Syndrome (KLS)

  • Very rare, occurring at a rate of 1 in a million

  • Patients with KLS experience recurring feelings of excessive tiredness and prolonged sleep (hypersomnia), coupled with un-characteristic behavioural changes

  • In most cases, patients sleep between 15-21 hours a day during episodes

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