1Sleeping Beauty Syndrome: the girl who sleeps for ten days at a run
When 15-year-old Louisa Ball takes a nap, she doesn't mess around. She sleeps for days on end, and no amount of shaking or prodding can fully wake her up. The British girl has a rare condition called Sleeping Beauty Sickness, but there's no Prince Charming on the way to rescue her. Doctors don't know what causes it or how to cure it — only that it strikes teenagers and goes away by itself after 8 to 12 years.
She was eventually diagnosed with Kleine-Levin Syndrome, whose victims worldwide may number no more than 1,000. The victims live normally for weeks or months at a time, with normal sleep patterns and normal energy levels. Then, with little warning, they'll go to sleep for days or weeks at a time. So far, Louisa's longest bout in bed has been 13 days. Victims will wake briefly, but be disoriented and not fully alert. Louisa's parents force her awake so she can use the bathroom and eat.
2Sexsomnia: the woman who has all night sex while asleep
Worn-out Haley Batty, 23, is suffering from an amazing sleeping sickness that really does keep her boyfriends up all night. This medical condition means she can't help pestering them for sex from bedtime 'till dawn. But she's ASLEEP all the time—and never remembers a thing in the morning.
The medical condition sexomnia makes Haley Batty demand sex while she's asleep. Haley's been dumped by a string of men who got the hump when they asked, "Was it good for you, too?" only to get the response, "Eh?" because she'd been unconscious all night. She sighs, “I can have sex three or four times a night if the guys have the stamina, but in the morning I won't know anything about it."
Sexsomnia, or sleep sex, is a sleep disorder, where people have sex while they're sleeping without realizing it! Most times, they can't remember anything that happened, and because they're unaware that this is a medical condition, they don't seek professional help. According to a study, sexsomnia affects 11% of male and 4% of women.
On August 8, 2007, a British RAF mechanic was cleared of a rape charge after the jury found him not responsible for his actions when he had sex with a 15-year-old girl.
3Non-24-Hour Sleep Disorder: people who have constant jet-lag
When it comes to sleeping disorders, none of them are as strange and difficult to treat as the non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder. People affected by this disorder have internal body clocks which refuse to acknowledge the standard 24-hour cycle of a day and therefore do not necessarily associate night with sleep, and day with being awake. (For example, a person whose natural internal body clock was 28 hours long would seek sleep at intervals four hours later each day, incrementally, than typical people would.) Most interestingly, while Non-24 affects both blind people and sighted ones, it is very prevalent in blind people who do lack light sensitivity, suggesting that our body clocks are a function of the Earth's rotation.
4Narcolepsy: people who fall asleep suddenly during regular activities
Perhaps one of the best known, and yet still weird, sleep disorders is narcolepsy, which has a tendency to put people to sleep unexpectedly while they are engaged in normal, everyday activities, such as driving, jogging or washing dishes.
Narcolepsy is a neurological sleep disorder that is commonly associated with falling asleep at random times. Narcoleptics tend to fall directly into REM sleep, when most dreaming occurs, and less commonly enter deeper and more restful stages of non-REM sleep. As a result, they are unable to stay awake for extended periods of time, and upon falling back asleep, they still are unable to experience sleep's more restorative stages, causing a vicious cycle of extreme sleepiness and inability to stay awake after having slept. Another symptom can include cataplexy, the sudden collapse of an individual into REM sleep upon experiencing strong emotions. Sleep paralysis and hypnogogic hallucinations (hallucinations which accompany sleep paralysis) are also known to be symptoms. The cause of narcolepsy has not been determined. It is widely believed to be an autoimmune disorder, but it may also be genetic. Treatments include stimulants, anti-depressants, or hypnotic medications such as Xyrem.
5Cataplexy: the woman who falls asleep every time she laughs
Claire Scott has a rare disorder which means that when she gets an attack of the giggles she falls over and blacks out. This mother of two suffers cataplexy – a rare sleep disorder that makes her pass out whenever she gets the giggles.
She said, "The other week, my little girl told me a joke she'd made up at school. It didn't even make sense but I burst out laughing. The next thing I knew, my husband was picking me up off the kitchen floor." Mrs Scott, from Jersey, Channel Islands, has always had the condition but was only diagnosed recently. The 24-year-old added, "Sometimes, I am aware before it happens – other times I completely black out and I'm left paralyzed. Once, I collapsed while walking through the middle of a high street. People do look at you strangely when it happens. It's really embarrassing."
The rare disorder that Mrs. Scott suffers from is said to affect 5 people in 10,000. Cataplexy sufferers can experience a sudden and temporary episode of loss of muscle tone, often triggered by emotions.
6Somnambulistic Eating: the woman who gained over 60 pounds while sleeping
Nocturnal Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (NSRED), also known as Sleep-Related Eating disorder (SRED), sleep eating, or somnambulistic eating, is a combination of a parasomnia and an eating disorder.
According to doctors and psychiatrists, NSRED is closely related to Night Eating Syndrome (NES) except for the fact that those suffering from NES are completely awake and aware of their eating and bingeing at night, while those suffering from NSRED are sleeping and unaware of what they are doing. During the handling of this food, patients with NSRED distinguish themselves, as they are usually messy or harmful to themselves. Some eat their food with their bare hands while others attempt to eat it with utensils. This occasionally results in injuries to the person as well as other injuries.
Patient Anna Ryan didn't even know that she was suffering from NSRED for a year-and-a-half and that she gained over 60 pounds (27kg) during that time. Anna first noticed that something was wrong when she felt exhausted during the day even after she had gotten what she thought was a good night's rest. Anna decided to go talk to her doctor, Scott Eveloff, about her lack of energy, and he suggested that she participate in a sleep study. When Anna participated in such a prescribed study, she discovered that she was up most nights and eating while sleeping.
7Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death syndrome: healthy men who go to bed and never wake up
Almost everyone wants to go peacefully in their sleep, but the situation seen in cases of Sudden Unexpected Death Syndrome probably isn't quite what they meant. With this sleep disorder, healthy, happy young men go to sleep one night… and never wake up. The situation is on a clear parallel with sudden infant death, which is seen in babies, everywhere; the only difference is that victims of this variety are older, male and most often found in Southeast Asian countries.
It is believed that the victims' hearts simply skip a beat and never start up again. Lacking a more thorough explanation, some make up their own: in Laos, some believe an evil spirit is to blame. This spirit, taking on the persona of a spurned woman, lashes out against the opposite sex. This belief has even inspired some men to cross-dress their nights away, sleeping in women's clothing to remain undetected. Elsewhere, some believe that consuming too many carbs is the culprit.
8Sleep Paralysis: people who become immobile even after they are awake
During REM sleep, dream activity revs up and the voluntary muscles of the body become immobile. This temporary paralysis keeps us from acting out our dreams and hurting ourselves. Sometimes, though, the paralysis persists even after the person wakes up. "You know you're awake and you want to move," Kline said, "but you just can't."
Even worse, sleep paralysis often coincides with hallucinations. In one 1999 study published in the Journal of Sleep Research, 75 percent of college students who'd experienced sleep paralysis reported simultaneous hallucinations. And these hallucinations, when they occur with sleep paralysis, are no picnic; people commonly report sensing an evil presence, along with a feeling of being crushed or choked. That sensation has given sleep paralysis a place in folklore worldwide. Newfoundlanders know it as the "Old Hag." In China, it's the "ghost pressing down on you." And in Mexico, it's known as the idiom "subirse el muerto," or "the dead climb on top of you." Even today, some researchers suspect that tales of alien abduction may be explained by episodes of sleep paralysis.