Estimates are that 50 to 70 million Americans suffer from some form of a sleeping disorder. Some of these are common, like sleep apnea. Around 25 million Americans are believed to suffer from sleep apnea, a disorder where breathing stops at irregular intervals during sleep.
Other sleep disorders are strange and rare, and often go misdiagnosed by medical professionals. How do you know whether you suffer from a rare sleep disorder? Here are five signs.
Sign: An easy clue that you may suffer from a rare sleeping disorder is a lack of sleep. You feel tired all the time, and your mind is foggy and not clear. You are not able to get the required amount of sleep at night.
Possible disorder: Narcolepsy is a disorder where you suffer from uncontrollable periods of sleep. You might be in the middle of a sentence, and you fall asleep. The episodes can be extremely dangerous, as sleep can come when you are operating a vehicle or performing a dangerous task.
Sign: A person functions normally, and then enters a period where he or sleeps for extended periods of time. The person wakes only for short periods of time to possibly eat or go to the bathroom. The episodes can be accompanied by confusion and disorientation.
Possible disorder: Kleine-Levin Syndrome is an extremely rare neurological disorder. It usually strikes young adults but can affect small children. A person can sleep 15 and even 24 hours at a time. The episodes can last a few days but can occur for up to a month. During the episode, the person is not able to function and cannot hold down a job. Years can go by between episodes.
Sign: A partner described sex acts that a person committed in the middle of night. The person does not recall the sex acts, but the acts could be fondling, masturbating and even sexual intercourse.
Possible disorder: Sexomnia is similar to sleep walking, where the person is in a half-waking state and acting out. During sexomnia, the person exhibits high levels of sexual arousal and may try to engage a partner. People are generally not aware that they suffer from a disorder, and often do not seek help out of embarrassment.
Sign: You lash out during periods of deep sleep. You might scream or thrash around with your arms and hands. You might even jump out of bed and swing a fist.
Possible disorder: Rapid Eye Movement Behavior Disorder occurs when someone is in the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, the period associated with dreaming. It is believed that some people actively participate in their dreams when they suffer from Rapid Eye Movement Behavior Disorder. The dreams are filled with vivid images, and the person acts out. Unlike sleep walking, it is generally easy to wake a person who is in the middle of these episodes.
Sign: An adult dies unexpectedly during sleep.
Possible disorder: Young adult males from Vietnam and other parts of Southeast Asia are most likely to suffer from Sudden Unexpected Nocturnal Death Syndrome. The adult men are healthy, and autopsies are unable to determine the exact cause of death. The disease was first reported in 1917 in the Philippines, and a huge number of immigrants fleeing the Vietnam War were thought to suffer from it in the 1970s.