Sleeping Beauty isn't the only one with problems between the sheets. If you look closely, a number of Disney characters, with their funny idiosyncrasies and dramatic musical numbers, display classic symptoms of disrupted and disordered sleep!
Dr. Alex Iranzo, M.D., a neurologist at the Hospital Clinic Barcelona in Spain, was watching "Cinderella" about seven years ago with his two young children. "They wanted me to sit next to them to watch, so I was forced to be glued to the TV," he writes to The Huffington Post in an email.
He couldn't help but notice that the character Bruno, Cinderella's household dog, was acting out his dreams, an example of REM sleep behavior disorder, or RBD.
"The next week, we had to watch 'Lady and the Tramp' and I saw another dog doing the same dream-enacting behavior," he writes. "I decided to review all the films and shorts by Disney [through the year 2005], trying to find more examples of sleep disorders in the characters."
While they are only animated approximations, Disney's most sleep-deprived are eerily lifelike in their symptoms, whether it be Donald Duck's sleepwalking, Gepetto's snoring or Sleepy the dwarf's excessive daytime fatigue. "Walt Disney once said, 'We can recognize ourselves in animals,'" Iranzo writes. "This says all."
Here are some of the best finds from Iranzo and his colleagues. Recognize yourself in any of these?
In Iranzo's original example, Bruno the dog is seen barking and moving his body while asleep. It becomes clear that he was dreaming of chasing the household cat, Lucifer, who is Bruno's sworn enemy. We don't usually act out our dreams, however, because the <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/18/muscles-paralyzed-sleep-sleep-act-out-dreams_n_1677587.html" target="_hplink">muscles are temporarily paralyzed during REM sleep</a>. <a href="http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/rem-sleep-behavior-disorder" target="_hplink">REM sleep behavior disorder</a> occurs when this paralysis is "incomplete or absent," according to WebMD, and you are able to act out dreams.
"Lady and the Tramp" brings us Trusty, a retired police dog who has lost his sense of smell. When we first meet Trusty, he is asleep on the porch (at minute 12 in this clip), sniffing, growling and moving his body. "During later scenes in the movie, the viewer becomes aware of how Trusty is also losing his memory," Iranzo and colleagues wrote in the paper, possibly a nod to the <a href="http://www.mayoclinic.org/rem-sleep-behavior-disorder/" target="_hplink">link between RBD and other neurological conditions</a>.
Chief, too old to keep hunting, is asleep in a barrel in one scene in "The Found and the Hound" when he begins to talk, howl and move his paws and head, according to the paper, a scene not created by Disney but in fact taken from Daniel P. Mannix's 1967 novel "The Fox and the Hound." <em>Photo from <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1VNy8lH-Xno" target="_hplink">YouTube</a></em>
In this 1932 short film, Mickey Mouse is seen having a nightmare, not a rare occurrence for Mickey, according to Iranzo. He dreams that after the birth of his first child with Minnie, he can't do anything to stop a number of other mice to enter his house and destroy it. <a href="http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/nightmares-in-adults" target="_hplink">Nightmares are more common in children</a>, but are a chronic problem for up to eight percent of adults, WebMD reported. They are <a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003209.htm" target="_hplink">vivid, frightening dreams</a> that are often triggered by stress, according to the NIH. Recurring nightmares may be a sign of a greater problem, like sleep apnea, depression or post-traumatic stress. The occasional nightmare isn't anything to worry about, but if nightmares keep you from getting a good night's sleep, contact a doctor.
In this 1947 short, Donald sleep walks, leaving his house in his PJs and getting into all sorts of trouble, including crossing the street and entering a lion's cage at a zoo. His girlfriend Daisy plays along so as not to wake him, and keeps a watchful eye on Donald. <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/11/7-sleep-conditions-explained_n_1197537.html#slide=602474" target="_hplink">Sleep walking isn't usually dangerous</a>; most people only make it to the bathroom or the kitchen, HuffPost's Amanda L. Chan reported in January. However, accidents can happen. And in connection with certain sleep medications, adults have been known to perform <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-michael-j-breus/sleepwalking_b_1710555.html" target="_hplink">dangerous tasks while asleep</a>, like driving.
5 Of The Dwarves
A majority of Snow White's seven dwarves snore so loudly that Grumpy can't sleep, as seen in this clip. <a href="http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/snoring.html" target="_hplink">Snoring can be a sign of sleep apnea</a>, a more serious condition. Snoring may also up your <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/03/09/snoring-health-problem-or_n_831022.html" target="_hplink">risk for heart disease, diabetes and stroke</a>.
Snoring is an issue in "Pinocchio," as well, where Gepetto and his fish Cleo snore loud enough to keep Jiminy Cricket from falling asleep, according to the paper. Even if sawing logs doesn't disrupt the <em>snorer's</em> rest, it can be <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/14/sleep-compatibility-_n_1274860.html" target="_hplink">detrimental to the sleep of bed partners</a> or others, like Jiminy, trying to catch a few winks nearby. Disturbed partners can offer some helpful (and possibly relationship-saving) suggestions like a wedge pillow, or sleeping with earplugs or a white noise machine. <em>Photo from <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr_FxsHmcew" target="_hplink">YouTube</a></em>
It's no surprise a dwarf called Sleepy lives up to his name. The always-tired dwarf exhibits "chronic hypersomnia," according to the paper. His eyelids are always drooping, he's often seen yawning and he even falls asleep involuntarily. Many adults feel tired throughout the day, often due to "<a href="http://www.sleepfoundation.org/article/sleep-related-problems/excessive-sleepiness-and-sleep" target="_hplink">self-imposed sleep deprivation</a>," according to the National Sleep Foundation. A number of sleep disorders could lead to excessive daytime sleepiness, including insomnia, narcolepsy and restless leg syndrome. As many as 20 percent of people may be experiencing overwhelming fatigue during the day, according to a 2009 paper in the journal <em>American Family Physician</em>, which puts them at <a href="http://www.aafp.org/afp/2009/0301/p391.html" target="_hplink">greater risk of car and work-related accidents</a>. <em>Photo from <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=sGhrQz8rA8w" target="_hplink">YouTube</a></em>
Daytime sleepiness isn't always a chronic issue. In "The Sword in the Stone", the owl Archimedes experiences one day of over-tiredness after a rainstorm keeps him up the night before. He is noticeably grumpy, and falls asleep on a tree branch while Merlin and Arthur play, according to the paper. <em>Photo from <a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gTuKRovG5P0" target="_hplink">YouTube</a></em>
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