Weird stuff happens when we sleep. Spiders, Bugs, Ghosts.. oh my!
Never fear, though, we can fight them with SCIENCE!
Here are 4 things that really might happen when you fall asleep tonight. Not to say that you won’t see a ghost or accidentally swallow a spider, but these are certainly more likely than that…
- Hypnogogic Jerk: Have you ever been peacefully asleep, dreaming that you are flying, or floating in space only to jerk awake at the terrifying feeling of falling? This pillow-sweat inducing phenomenon is rather common, and it has seemed to happen to the best of us at least once throughout our lifetimes. Feeling like you’re falling- also known as hypnagogic jerk, tends to happen when our bodies are entering sleep mode more aggressively. Whether it be falling off a cliff, tripping, or my favorite, falling through space, this jerk is a sign that our bodies may be over tired or experiencing extra stress. Our brains are entering a dream state before our bodies are fully asleep, and often it causes us to wake up suddenly.
2. Sleep Paralysis: This is when you are awake, but you cant really move. I have only ever experienced it once and it was the weirdest thing in my life. I think it happened because I didn’t sleep at all the night before and then I slept all day the next day. I remember waking up and opening my eyes, but not being able to move. Im pretty sure my roommate walked in and was trying to get my attention but I couldn’t move! You wake up and your body is basically paralyzed. Essentially, it’s the opposite of what happens with hypnagogic jerks, where your brain wakes up before your body does. Don’t worry you’re not possessed. It almost feels like you can’t breath sometimes, and this is because all of your muscles are still paralyzed. My friend actually told me a story where she was awake and alert, but she couldn’t move her body. She said she was just looking around and actually still dreaming that an evil puppet was trying to hit her… but that’s pretty drastic.
3. Sleepwalking: While most sleep-related behaviors are harmless, sleep walking can be on the dangerous side. Common causes include sleep deprivation, stress, and some medications that name sleepwalking as a possible side effect of treatment. It is also important to note that those who drink alcohol, are more likely to sleepwalk, too. People have been known to drive, cook, binge-eat, and even make phone calls while sleeping. Scientists say that these actions are usually caused when you are drifting out towards the end of a sleep cycle in which your body has movement ability but not awareness of consciousness.
4. Somniloquy: AKA Sleep talking, is truly one of my favorites. But, it isn’t as common as you would think. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, only 5 percent of adults talk in their sleep! Most sleep talking only lasts for about 30 seconds and usually happens within the first couple of hours of sleeping while your vocal muscles are adequately awake so that they are still able to produce sounds. These short bursts of speech can be anything from a shout to a whisper– and I’m sure, are subsequently very creepy for any outside spectator. I had a friend talk in her sleep, and it scared the crap out of me. She sat straight up in her bed, still asleep I add, and whispered, Get out. I can see you. Go. and then she fell right back asleep. I know some of you would probably call that spiritually disturbing, but, hey, science calls it somniloquy. I never did mention that occurrence to her, though… so we can just keep that our little secret.
While at times, the things that occur in our sleep can be terrifying and humorous all at once, no one can deny the fact that science has got us covered on these four. Next time someone tells you that you slapped them in the middle of the night, don’t deny it just blame sleep.
Hope you all enjoyed this super shortie.