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We expect sleep to be a quiet, restful experience, one that should ideally take place in a dark, cool room without much noise. We don’t always get what we expect, however. Many people snore, talk, or even scream in their sleep, while others thrash about wildly as if they’re being attacked. Obviously, this can be an alarming experience, both for the sleeper and the people he or she lives with. Sharing a bed with someone who shouts in his or her sleep is not going to be a very relaxing experience. Finding answers first requires identifying a specific issue or issues.

Sleep apnea

Sleep apnea affects thousand of people every year. It’s so common that it’s easy to dismiss as not a big deal, but if your breathing is starting and stopping multiple times each night, that is definitely a big deal. Age and weight are risk factors for the condition, and it seems to occur more often in men than in women. The most well-known symptom is loud snoring, although it can also cause people to wake up suddenly because they feel like they can’t breathe. If you’re suffering from sleep apnea, you probably won’t be the first person to notice it. You might think it’s “just a little snoring,” but your spouse or partner will likely see it differently. Even if you don’t think anything is wrong, listen when someone asks you to see a doctor about your snoring. Nighttime teeth grinding can be another sign of sleep apnea, so if you’re waking up with a sore jaw, go ahead and make an appointment with your dentist as well.

There are two types of sleep apnea: obstructive and central, although it’s also possible to suffer from a combination of the two. Loud snoring is more associated with obstructive sleep apnea. A doctor can order a sleep study to determine if you’re suffering from sleep apnea or something else. Once the results from the study are back, you’ll be able to figure out a treatment plan. That plan may include a CPAP machine designed to help regulate your air flow. Wearing such a device to sleep will feel weird at first, but it’s something you’ll get used to in time. You’ll also sleep better once you’re breathing properly, and your partner won’t have to worry that you’re dying every time he or she hears you make a choking or gasping noise in your sleep.

Talking and shouting

The good news for sleep talkers is that reciting a grocery list in your sleep isn’t considered a serious medical issue that’s likely to affect your health. The bad news is that it can still be pretty disconcerting. You may or may not wake yourself up when you do this, but yelling things like, “SHUT UP, YOU BIG JERK!” is almost certainly going to wake up anybody else who shares a residence with you. It’s not a bad idea to see a doctor to rule out a more serious condition like night terrors, especially if the talking is especially loud or intense. Other than that, the best thing you can do is probably laugh when your partner tells you that you were mumbling the lyrics to “All I Want For Christmas Is You” in your sleep.


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