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Everything You Need to Know About Parasomnias

all-about-parasomnias

What Are Parasomnias?

Parasomnias are abnormal behaviors that occur during sleep. They can range from mild to severe and can have significant impacts on sleep quality, safety, and overall health. There are several different types of parasomnias, including sleepwalking, sleep talking, night terrors, and REM sleep behavior disorder.

all-about-parasomnias

Types Of Parasomnia

There are several different types of parasomnias, including:

  1. Sleepwalking: Sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism, is a type of parasomnia in which a person walks or performs other complex behaviors while still asleep. Sleepwalking episodes typically occur during deep non-REM sleep and can last for a few minutes to an hour. People who sleepwalk may walk around their house, go outside, or even drive a car while asleep. Sleepwalking is most common in children, but it can also occur in adults. It is often genetic and can be triggered by stress, sleep deprivation, or certain medications.
  2. Sleep talking: Sleep talking, also known as somniloquy, is a type of parasomnia in which a person talks during sleep. Sleep talking can range from mumbled words to loud and coherent speech. It is typically a benign condition and does not usually require treatment, but it can be disruptive to the sleep of the person talking or their bed partner.
  3. Night terrors: Night terrors, also known as sleep terrors, are a type of parasomnia that involves intense fear and panic during sleep. Night terrors typically occur during deep non-REM sleep and may be accompanied by screaming, thrashing, and an increased heart rate. People who experience night terrors may not remember the episode upon waking, and they may be difficult to awaken during the episode. Night terrors are most common in children, but they can also occur in adults.
  4. REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD): RBD is a type of parasomnia in which a person acts out their dreams during REM sleep. REM sleep is the stage of sleep when most dreaming occurs, and during this stage, the body's muscles are normally paralyzed to prevent movements from acting out the dream. In people with RBD, this paralysis does not occur, and they may engage in violent or dangerous behaviors during sleep. RBD is more common in men and is often associated with certain medical conditions, such as Parkinson's disease and multiple system atrophy.
  5. Sleep-related eating disorder (SRED): SRED is a type of parasomnia in which a person eats during sleep without being aware of it. It can involve binge eating or consuming unusual or dangerous foods. SRED is often associated with sleepwalking and may be related to sleep-related movements or the use of certain medications.
  6. Sleep-related leg cramps (SRC): SRC is a type of parasomnia in which a person experiences painful muscle cramps in the legs during sleep. SRC can be triggered by prolonged periods of inactivity or certain medications.
  7. Sleep-related abnormal sexual behaviors (SASB): SASB is a type of parasomnia in which a person engages in inappropriate or unwanted sexual behaviors during sleep. SASB can involve touching oneself or others or attempting to initiate sexual activity. It can be associated with sleepwalking or the use of certain medications.
  8. Sleep-related hallucinations (SRH): SRH is a type of parasomnia in which a person experiences vivid hallucinations during sleep or upon waking. These hallucinations may be visual, auditory, or tactile and can be disturbing or frightening. SRH can be associated with certain medical conditions or the use of certain medications.
  9. Sleep-related bruxism (SRB): SRB is a type of parasomnia in which a person grinds their teeth or clenches their jaw during sleep. SRB can cause tooth damage, jaw pain, and headaches and may be related to stress, anxiety, or the use of certain medications.
  10. Sleep-related laryngospasm (SRL): SRL is a type of parasomnia in which a person experiences spasms of the vocal cords during sleep, resulting in difficulty breathing and possibly snoring. SRL may be related to sleep apnea or other sleep disorders.
  11. Sleep-related seizure disorders: Sleep-related seizure disorders are a type of parasomnia in which a person experiences seizures during sleep. These seizures can range from mild to severe and may be accompanied by changes in behavior, muscle spasms, or loss of consciousness. Sleep-related seizure disorders may be associated with certain medical conditions, such as epilepsy, or the use of certain medications.
  12. Sleep-related rhythmic movement disorder (RMD): RMD is a type of parasomnia in which a person engages in repetitive movements during sleep, such as head banging or body rocking. RMD is most common in children and may be related to sleep-related movements or the use of certain medications.
  13. Sleep-related hypoventilation: Sleep-related hypoventilation is a type of parasomnia in which a person experiences shallow or irregular breathing during sleep. It may be related to certain medical conditions, such as sleep apnea, or the use of certain medications.
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Advice

It is important to seek medical evaluation and treatment for parasomnias, as they can have significant impacts on sleep quality, safety, and overall health. It is also important to inform healthcare professionals about any parasomnias that are being experienced, as these behaviors may be a sign of an underlying medical condition or the side effect of a medication. With proper treatment and management, individuals with parasomnias can improve their sleep quality and overall health.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.

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© 2022 Adis Zecevic

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