Sleep is an important process for the body to repair itself. The body temperature and blood pressure drop, the breathing becomes slower, and the muscles relax. While sleeping is a normal way for people to recover from the strain of everyday activities, bizarrely unexpected things happen, whether these are natural or manmade, harmless or not.
Learn about what these are. More importantly, know what steps you can do to prevent dangers from befalling on you while you are at this vulnerable state - from addressing health concerns to pulling off home security hacks.
The eyes twitch and dart about under the lids
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As people move into deeper sleep, the eyes move about in rapid eye movement (REM). Naturally occurring in 90-minute cycles, the REM is when most dreams are made. At this point, the muscles are relaxed, almost paralyzed. This is a mechanism for the mind to explore without the body acting upon dreams.
Less saliva is produced, causing a dry mouth in the morning
Saliva is for keeping the tongue moist to speak words and facilitate eating. However, the saliva production decreases during sleep when talking and eating are not needed. Waking up with a dry mouth is usually not a serious health problem. Simply drink water to ease the feeling. However, if you experience a dry mouth more often, consult your doctor.
Heart attacks may occur
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These medical emergencies can happen even when the heart takes it easy during sleep. In many cases, an individual wakes up from chest pain. He or she can also have irregular heartbeat, night sweats, shortness of breath, and body pains. If you experience these symptoms, call medical help immediately or have someone drive you to the nearest hospital.
Affecting one in 20 adults, teeth grinding, the unconscious sliding of one's teeth back and forth, is caused by misaligned teeth, stress, and poor sleeping habits. To manage this and to prevent possible joint pain and damage, it helps to relax and to consult a dentist for a mouth guard.
Sleep apnea can cause breathing to stop for 10 to 30 seconds at a time
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Characterized by a sleeping person's inability to maintain an air flow for short periods of time, sleep apnea is a disorder that can lead to severe health problems. These include fatigue, high blood pressure, stroke, and heart disease. Seek medical treatment for this. To prevent sleep apnea, maintain a healthy weight as overweight people are more prone.
Children may experience night terrors
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Different from nightmares, night terrors occur when children from 4 to 12 years old cry and scream in their sleep, but usually cannot recall anything about it when they wake up. While it can be worrying for parents who try to console their kids but to no avail, it is advised that they just let the episodes pass until the child outgrows it.
Bedwetting in children
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Like night terrors that typically occur in children, who eventually outgrow it, bedwetting happens when a child's body is not yet mature enough to control the bladder. While it is typically not something to worry about, bedwetting can hit a kid's self-esteem. In these cases, parents may want to consider a bedwetting alarm, which wakes up a child to go to the bathroom.
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Waking up unable to move or speak can definitely be scary, but sleep paralysis is a normal body mechanism. When we sleep, the muscles relax to the point of almost being paralyzed to prevent it from acting on dreams. However, because of stress and unhealthy sleeping habits, a person can wake up but with the muscles still paralyzed.
Feeling like you're falling
Feeling like falling from a great height can feel terrifying. Known as a hypnagogic jerk, it usually happens in early sleep when your body starts dreaming, but the muscles are not yet paralyzed. Episodes of this are likely when you are stressed or sleep-deprived so it helps to lower your stress levels.
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The American Academy of Sleep Medicine said that about 5 percent of people talk in their sleep. Lasting only about 30 seconds, sleep talking often occurs within the first two hours of sleep. The body is about to enter into deeper sleep, but the muscles can still produce sounds.
While sleep walking in itself is not harmful, it puts sleeping people in danger when they trip on something, leave the house, or even drive their cars. This happens when the body is about to wake up and the muscles start moving, but the brain is left behind. To prevent sleep walking disasters, lock your doors and windows.
Burglars breaking in
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Securing your home before you sleep also deters burglars who are just waiting for the perfect opportunity when you are off guard. Some of the practical and easy ways to prevent break-ins are putting hacksaw-proof deadbolt locks and connecting all windows to a home security system. Know more about home safety so you and your family will be safe and sound.
Natural disasters like storms, hurricanes, and earthquakes
These can strike anytime even while you are asleep. Get ready for all kinds of scenarios. Stock up on emergency food supply that is enough for you and your family for at least 48 hours. Prepare an escape route should flooding happen. You will never know what will happen so preparedness pays off when you wake up in the eye of a storm.
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According to the Ready Campaign, more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 get injured annually in home fires in America. "Instead of being awakened by fire, you may fall into deeper sleep," the campaign said, as the fumes caused by fire can make you drowsy. Aside from preparing an emergency exit plan, invest in an excellent smoke detector to warn you as early as possible.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
A silent killer, carbon monoxide or CO is an odourless and colorless gas produced from fuel consumption. Too much of it in one's bloodstream kills. While headache, dizziness, upset stomach, vomiting, and weakness are common symptoms, these cannot be seen in someone sleeping. Invest in a carbon monoxide detector that will alert you when the CO in your home are about to reach an unhealthy level.
Sleep is one of your body's needs and life's luxuries. Be prepared with whatever that can disturb or ruin your shut-eye with this list of unexpected things that can happen while you are asleep. Knowing that you did everything that you can to the best of your ability should be enough to assure you of a good night's sleep.