At Sleep365, we know that a luxurious, natural mattress goes a long way toward helping you get the kind of sleep you deserve. But, sometimes, it’s not just your mattress that gets in the way of a good night. We explored some of the most challenging sleep behaviors to see why they happen and what you can do about them—for your best sleep yet!
Some sleepwalkers cook and eat food, while others get dressed or undressed. Some even drive, send text messages or shop online – all the while in a state of semi-wakefulness.
Sleepwalking typically occurs during periods of non-REM (NREM) sleep. NREM sleep (also known as “delta” or “deep” sleep) tends to occur early in the night, so sleepwalking usually happens within an hour or two of going to bed.
The exact cause of sleepwalking isn’t totally understood, but researchers believe it’s a result of the brain having trouble modulating the sleep and wake cycles.
Sleepwalking that lasts into adulthood or begins later in life may be caused by underlying issues such as stress, sleep deprivation, or a noisy sleeping environment. You may have a higher chance of sleepwalking if you also suffer from other sleep disorders like Restless Leg Syndrome or sleep apnea.
What can you do about sleepwalking?
If you are known to embark on a midnight jaunt, try sticking to a regular sleep schedule and prioritize getting six to eight hours of sleep each night! Avoid other potential triggers such as sleep medications, drugs, and alcohol, and ensure your sleeping environment is cool, quiet, and dark—free from tech, TV, and anything else that might interfere with a good night’s sleep.
Sleep talking, technically known as somniloquy, is more of a nuisance than a hazard. Late-night blabbers might mumble, start nonsensical speeches, or have entire dialogues while they sleep. These incoherent, gibberish blurbs are harmless, at least for the sleep talker.
This behavior usually occurs spontaneously, but it can also be induced by speaking to a sleeping person. Unlike sleepwalking, sleep talking poses no physical danger, though it can certainly irritate partners or roommates.
What can you do about sleep talking?
If your chronic sleep talking is irritating your bed partner, it might be time to talk to a doctor, especially if you began sleep talking after the age of 25.
Nightmares and Night Terrors
You shot up out of bed in a cold sweat...it all felt so real! Was it a nightmare or night terror? While nightmares and night terrors have similar causes: stress, sleep deprivation, and anxiety, they are not the same.
Nightmares tend to occur later in the night during REM sleep, and they’re often vivid and can be recalled in detail upon waking the next day.
Night terrors, on the other hand, take place early in the first two hours of sleep. Oh, and you know the sweating, screaming, lashing out, anxiety-ridden episodes (fun stuff, right!?), yep, those are typical side effects of night terrors.
What can you do about nightmares and night terrors?
You know when you were little, and your parents warned you that if you watch scary movies before bed, the monster would wake you in your dreams? Well, there’s a little bit of truth to that.
If you or your little one is experiencing nightmares or night terrors, it may be time to start monitoring your pre-snooze content. Matter of fact, we recommend reserving your evenings as “tech-free zones”—at least two hours before slumber.
Nightmares often occur spontaneously, but you might be able to prevent them by eliminating the flashing videos, sleep-inhibiting blue light, and distracting sounds that can stay with our psyche long after we “call it a night.”
Restless Leg Syndrome and Periodic Limb Movement in Sleep
Sitting in an overcrowded airplane cabin, watching TV, and even sleeping can be a daunting task for people who live with aching, itching, throbbing, or crawling legs—often referred to as Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS).
It sounds funny, but it’s a pain! Kicking or flexing the legs will relieve the symptoms, at least temporarily. But as the night goes on, the symptoms tend to get worse, making getting a good night’s rest feel like an impossible task.
People with severe RLS report getting less than five hours of sleep each night! And even a mild case of RLS can negatively affect the quality of sleep. Medical experts believe RLS has three primary causes: iron deficiencies, dopamine deficiencies, and certain genetic conditions.
About 80 percent of people with RLS also experience periodic limb movement in sleep (PLMS). PLMS causes people to twitch or jerk their legs (or, in rare cases, their upper limbs) in repetitive motions every 20 to 40 seconds while sleeping. A PLMS episode can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour.
What can you do about RLS and PLMS?
To ensure you’ll get a restful night’s sleep, start by chatting with your doctor. The condition can often be managed by changing your sleep habits or increasing exercise. Also, take a look at your daily caffeine, alcohol, and tobacco consumption, all of which might exacerbate your symptoms.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
During REM sleep, the brain “locks” your limbs in place to prevent you from acting out your dreams. But in some people, this locking mechanism doesn’t work. The resulting condition, known as REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD), causes you to move your limbs just as you do in your dream.
RBD is serious because it’s not only disruptive to you and your partner, but it can also be downright dangerous. People with RBD have been known to scream, hit, and punch during REM sleep. Anyone can develop RBD, but men over 50 years of age are at increased risk.
What can you do about RBD?
If you experience RBD, it’s time to talk to your doctor. The condition may be associated with an undiagnosed neurodegenerative condition. Your doctor might also recommend placing barriers on your side of the bed and removing dangerous or fragile objects from your bedside.
A good night’s sleep starts long before your head hits the pillow! From the food you eat and content you watch to buying a mattress that’s supportive, breathable, and eco-friendly, start prioritizing your sleep to ensure you start every day on the right side of the bed!