01 – The Endless Fall
How many times have we had this happen to us in our dreams? You are on the top of an airplane or skyscraper, and for some ungodly reason decide to jump off. Only you don’t hit the ground straight away – or ever for that matter.
Also known as hypnagogic, it tends to happen as you are in the process of falling asleep.
“Typically when you dream, your body is paralyzed, but sometimes you can start dreaming before your body is on “off” mode. With hypnagogic jerks, you might act out a dream like falling off a cliff, falling from the sky, or tripping,” says W. Christopher Winter, M.D., Men’s Health sleep advisor and medical director of the sleep center at Martha Jefferson Hospital in Virginia.
02 – Sleep Paralysis
Has this ever happened to you? The terrifying feeling of waking up, only to discover that you can’t move anything? Sleep paralysis last for a couple seconds, to a couple minutes, and is relatively harmless – albeit nightmare worthy for some.
“Essentially, it’s the opposite of what happens with hypnagogic jerks, where your brain wakes up before the paralysis that accompanies deep sleep goes away.” Dr. Winter says. “You may feel like you can’t breathe. Many people describe it as an elephant sitting on their chest. That’s because all of the muscles that control your breathing except for the diaphragm are still paralysed.”
03 – Sleepwalking
The big bad among sleep related behaviors. Many tragedies have occurred from people walking in their sleep, and many measures have been taken across the world in trying to stop sleep walkers from hurting themselves.
“With sleepwalking, you’re coming out of sleep just enough for your body to move, but not enough for your brain to be awake,” says Dr. Winter.
That’s why most people don’t seem to remember their sleep walking. The prescription sleep-aid Ambien has been connected to some of the weirder sleepwalking activities, such as: cooking, binge eating, and driving while zonked out.
“That’s because even if you wake up during the night, the drug keeps your brain sedated so you’re still in an unconscious state.” Dr. Winter says.
04 – Sleep Talking
Studies show that about 5% of the adult population have monologues when they sleep. It’s harmless and your jibber jabber lasts for about 30 seconds only.
“It often happens within the first hour or two of sleep when your body is entering into deep stages of sleep, but there’s still enough muscle tone to produce sounds or movements that may accompany dreams,” says Dr. Winter.
05 – Recurring Dreams
“Dreaming is a way for your brain to sort out things it needs to reevaluate and process before it can file them away as memories,” Dr. Winter says. “Recurring dreams may happen with unresolved psychological issues your brain is trying to sort out.”
“If you were robbed at the grocery store, you might replay that over and over during sleep until you come to grips with it—whereas if you went to the store to get bread and milk, your brain would process it right away and move on,” Dr. Winter adds.
06 – Sleep Sex
Waking up while you are deep in pleasurable acts? Studies show that 8% of the adult population experience sexsomnia – which simply means having intercourse with another partner while you are still asleep.
“In my experience working with patients, the attitudes, behaviors, and things people may say during sleep sex are often very different from what they’d do and say when fully awake,” Dr. Winter says.