Why do I growl, moan and bite things in my sleep?
May 17, 2014 3:16 PM   Subscribe

Over the past six months, I've noticed that I've engaged in a number of increasingly bizarre behaviors while sleeping. I know that I'm doing these things because I usually wake up in the middle of whatever I'm doing.

1) I growl while sleeping. Once or twice a week, I'll wake up growling at something. This is really the only way I know how to describe it. The sound is not terribly different from how you would imagine a human growl to sound -- guttural noises passing through the vocal chords and out the mouth. These noises aren't associated with any dreams that I can remember.

2) I also moan while sleeping. This sound is a bit different from the growl -- more of a long (but very loud) exhalation that sounds like I'm angry about something. Again, there are no dreams that I can associate with these episodes. It happens about as often as the growling. I only know about it because (again) I wake up in the middle of doing it.

3) The inside of my cheeks and lips are semi-regularly chewed up from excessive biting, which also occurs while I'm sleeping. Sometimes I will wake up in the middle of a "biting session" -- for lack of a better word -- and my jaws will be involuntarily moving just long enough for me to regain consciousness and stop it. It's a fairly regular, snapping motion, as if I was eating something tough.

So, what the hell is wrong with me? Should I be concerned?
posted by Avenger to Health & Fitness (9 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
It sounds like you are going through a stressful period in your life. When our days get too full of things that we can not deal with, our dreams try to work them out. I love Yogi's bedtime tea. Or a half a glass of wine. Or a Lunesta, depending on what is going on.
posted by myselfasme at 3:24 PM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Parasitic infection can cause bruxism (teeth grinding in your sleep) first serious authority link I found supporting this. From what I gather, parasitic infection is underestimated/under diagnosed in the U.S. because it is thought to be a "third world problem."

Could you have picked up some kind of parasite?
posted by Michele in California at 3:25 PM on May 17, 2014

That is not a very big effect of parasites in the link from Michele in California.
posted by zscore at 3:41 PM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

It's possible you have some form of sleep apnea. This can cause teeth clenching or grinding, and what you may be interpreting as growling or moaning may be caused by an airway obstruction -- it may be a sound you make when you're wheezing or gasping for breath.
posted by Andrhia at 3:50 PM on May 17, 2014 [7 favorites]

Please go get a sleep study; this is exactly the kind of thing it is meant to diagnose.
posted by ocherdraco at 4:09 PM on May 17, 2014 [1 favorite]

Sleep apnea sounds very likely. I'm a sufferer myself, and while I don't (to my knowledge) clench or grind my teeth, when I'm not able to use my CPAP I do sometimes wake myself up by making some strange noise. I agree that a sleep study is in order.

Either that, or you're turning into a werewolf.
posted by Faint of Butt at 5:40 PM on May 17, 2014 [11 favorites]

I agree; you need a sleep study to figure out why you have these new sleep behaviors. It could be sleep apnea related, although the $1 word for sleep-groaning you describe is catathrenia. Bruxism (teeth-grinding) is caused by so many many things, I wouldn't at all suspect parasites. I might suspect a REM sleep behavior problem, maybe?

Or lycanthropy, yeah.

(IAAD, IANYD, etc)
posted by vetala at 8:10 PM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

Sleep study.

On top of that, if you're grinding your teeth, get a night guard made by your dentist. Otherwise you'll wear your teeth down.
posted by sebastienbailard at 10:44 PM on May 17, 2014

Are your teeth in good condition?
posted by h00py at 3:20 AM on May 18, 2014

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