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7 Bizarre things that your body does during sleep

You might think sleep is restful, inactive and quiet. But actually, a lot of things happen while you’re zoned out. Listed here are seven bizarre things that your body does during sleep.

Mental Health By Ariba KhaliqJul 31, 2015

The mystery of sleep

Sleep is a mysterious phenomenon that keeps scientists busy. Being absolutely essential for human beings, sleep does much good to you, some of which include recharging your brain, repairing cells, releasing important hormones and rejuvenating your body. But, many strange things can actually happen in between stages of wake and sleep. Many of these strange things are in fact, quite normal. Here are seven bizarre things that your body does during sleep. Have you experienced any of these?

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Sleep paralysis

A transition between wakefulness and sleep, sleep paralysis happens when a part of brain wakes sooner than the rest, giving a sense of wakefulness and alertness, even though the body’s muscles are still paralyzed. It can be an unsettling feeling for people who’ve gone through it, though the phenomenon isn’t dangerous. You can decrease the episodes of sleep paralysis by reducing stress, getting enough sleep and maintaining a healthy sleep schedule.

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REM sleep behaviour disorder

REM stands for rapid eye movement. During REM sleep, your eyes move quickly in different directions. Opposite to sleep paralysis, REM sleep behaviour occurs when your muscles are acting out of your dreams while the brain is still in REM sleep. You could enact dream behaviours like talking, yelling, punching, kicking, sitting, jumping from bed, etc. A person with this disorder could potentially act violent, especially when he is kicking or punching himself or his partner. The phenomenon also tends to worsen over time, if treatment isn’t sought.

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Sleep walking and talking

This one is similar to sleep paralysis, which occurs when part of the brain is awake, but the rest of it is asleep. While sleepwalking, people typically engage in basic routine activities such as walking to the bathroom or kitchen. Scientists haven’t been able to find a clear answer as to why people say or act out the things they do during sleepwalking or sleep talking. Though not dangerous, parents might want to take precautions with their child who sleep-walks.

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You move your eyes

Sleep has five phases, REM being the last and the most active one. After completing an REM cycle, you’ll start the first phase anew. 70 to 90 minutes after you fall asleep, you are in your REM sleep and during it, your eyes dart quickly back and forth. You typically will have no memory of this (other than memories of dreams that you might have had).

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Teeth grinding

Also known as bruxism, teeth grinding occurs when you slide your teeth back and forth. It is not only annoying to the sleep partner, but may also cause joint pain or damage in the area. Teeth grinding can be caused by stress, misaligned teeth, ability to relax and sleeping habits. You could lower stress levels or get a mouth guard to protect your teeth at night.

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Jerks that wake you

Hypnic jerks, sometimes called hypnagogic jerks, are a part of falling asleep. They make you feel like you’re falling or have been jolted awake. As your body prepares for the changes that take place during sleep, or when your body misinterprets signs of impeding sleep as falling, your limbs feel a jerk. Experts don’t have a clear answer as to what causes hypnic jerks, but they have pointed them out to be typically harmless.

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Narrows your throat

While sleeping, your breathing changes and your throat narrows a bit as the muscle starts to relax. When the throat narrows a bit too much, you snore. Of course, snoring can have other reasons too, including tonsils and stuffy nose. The worst part is, if your airway closes completely, you may suffer sleep apnoea.

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