Parasomnias are a group of sleep disorders that involve unusual or unwanted behaviors, movements, emotions, perceptions, and dreams during sleep. These experiences can occur while falling asleep, during sleep, or when waking up.

Frequently asked questions

What are some common types of parasomnias?

Here are some common types of parasomnias:

Sleepwalking (Somnambulism): This involves getting up and moving around while still asleep. Sleepwalkers might perform complex actions without being aware of it.

Night Terrors: Night terrors are intense episodes of fear and distress that occur during non-REM sleep. Unlike nightmares, those experiencing night terrors might not remember the details upon waking up.

Nightmares: These are vivid, disturbing dreams that often awaken the sleeper. They usually occur during REM sleep and can cause feelings of fear, anxiety, or sadness.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder: People with this disorder physically act out their dreams while in REM sleep. This can involve talking, shouting, kicking, or even jumping out of bed.

Sleep Paralysis: This is a temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up.

It can be accompanied by hallucinations.

Parasomnias can occur due to various factors, including genetics, stress, sleep deprivation, and certain medications. They might also be more common in children.

What types of treatments are there for parasomnia?

Treatment for parasomnias depends on the specific type and its underlying cause. For some, improving sleep hygiene and managing stress can help reduce occurrences. In cases where safety is a concern, like sleepwalking, making the sleeping environment safer might be recommended. In more severe cases, medications can be prescribed to manage symptoms.

What should I do if I am experiencing parasomnia?

If you or someone you know is experiencing parasomnias that are disruptive or causing distress, it’s advisable to seek guidance from a healthcare professional. They can help identify the type of parasomnia and suggest appropriate strategies to manage or treat it.