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Why Do I Make Noises When I Sleep

by Kristin Beck
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Why Do I Make Noises When I Sleep

Why Do I Make Noises When I Sleep

“I had catatonic episodes when I was a child. They were terrifying and painful and they occurred only once I hit puberty. (That’s not to say that there weren’t other episodes beforehand.) The episodes would happen at night while I slept alone in my bedroom. My mother used to wake me up by shaking me or slapping me across the face. If she couldn’t wake me up then no one could.
The episodes started when I was about 11 years old and lasted until I was probably 15. During these episodes I’d be lying in bed, feeling completely paralyzed but able to breathe. There wasn’t any pain; just an overwhelming sensation of being unable to move. It felt as if someone had injected adrenaline directly into my bloodstream.
It took many months before I was diagnosed correctly. A doctor told me it was some kind of childhood encephalitis. She said a virus must have attacked my central nervous system. I refused to believe her and went home and researched the symptoms online. I figured out what was wrong pretty quickly.
I’ve been writing about sleep problems since 2005 and I’ve met lots of people who also suffer from catathrenia and/or narcolepsy. This article will help you understand why you make those noise sounds during your sleep and how to stop them.
First let’s define catathrenia. According to Merriam Webster, it means “”a state of paralysis characterized by immobility.”” In laymen’s terms, it’s like having rigor mortis except that you can still breathe. You’re unable to move, yet you’re conscious enough to feel pain. Your heart rate may increase and your blood pressure may drop. Most often, catathrenic patients are afraid to open their eyes because they don’t want to see what’s happening around them.
There are two types of catathrenia. One type is called somniloquy. Patients suffering from this condition talk to themselves and mutter words while they lie immobilized. Sometimes they even speak in tongues. They do so involuntarily; they don’t realize they’re doing it. Some sufferers experience hallucinations, hearing voices and seeing visions. Other times, they hear music or singing. Somniloquy usually happens in the early stages of catathreosis and doesn’t last very long.
Another type of catathrenia is known as catalepsy. Catalepsy refers to a patient’s inability to move and his resistance to changing positions. He remains motionless in the same position all day long and refuses to get up even if he has to go to the bathroom.
What Causes Catathrenia?
According to Dr. Robert Stickgold, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, catathrenia is caused by a lack of hypocretin (also known as orexin). Hypocretin helps us fall asleep and stay asleep. Without it, we’ll become restless and active. We’ll also find ourselves waking up much more frequently throughout the night than normal. That’s because our bodies need time to rest and recuperate after periods of intense activity.
Dr. Stickgold says that catathrenia can be caused by stroke, Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, brain tumor, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, epilepsy, depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, alcoholism, and smoking marijuana.
How Does Catathrenia Feel?
If you’ve never experienced catathrenia yourself, it might sound strange to describe it. But bear with me here. Imagine you’re lying down in your bed and you suddenly feel extremely tired. And then imagine that you start making noises that sound similar to moaning or groaning. Now imagine that instead of sleeping, you’re actually awake. You can’t move but you keep talking. Then picture yourself trying to stand up, but you can’t seem to figure out how to do it.
You know that you should get up, but you simply won’t. You’re too exhausted. But your body isn’t satisfied and wants to continue moving. Instead of getting up, you turn over and try to sleep again. Again, your body feels overly tired and you keep turning over and over.
This is what it’s like for most people who suffer from catathrenia. They feel unrested and weak but they can’t quite figure out how to relax. Their minds tell them that they need to sleep but their bodies refuse to cooperate.
Can Catathrenia Be Cured?
No! Not really. At least, not without treatment. Catathrenia is considered a neurological condition. There are medications available to treat catathrenia, such as gabapentin and topiramate. These drugs work to reduce excessive daytime drowsiness, improve sleep pattern, decrease anxiety, and prevent migraines. However, these drugs aren’t cures. They’re merely short-term solutions.
Some doctors recommend cognitive behavioral therapy to treat catathrenia. Cognitive behavioral therapy focuses on a person’s thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and habits. It teaches him new ways to cope with stress and better manage emotions. As a result, the patient learns new coping mechanisms. For example, he learns how to use relaxation techniques properly. Or maybe he starts exercising regularly. Whatever method works best for the individual.
Other treatments include psychotherapy, biofeedback, acupuncture, massage therapy, yoga, meditation, hypnosis, and tai chi. Just remember that none of these methods cure catathrenia. If you think you might have catathrenia, consult your physician immediately. Early diagnosis and proper treatment are important.”

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