What are Parasomnia’s ?

Many people will experience one form of parasomnia or another during their lifetime; sleep-talking, sleep-walking, bed-wetting and so on. They are all things that we are aware of, and often find amusing. However, for some who suffer regularly from these parasomnias, it can be a more serious concern.

The different types of parasomnias are mostly distinguished by which sleep they occur during, REM or NREM sleep, although some cannot be categorised. Sleep-talking and sleep-walking for example will occur during NREM sleep as the muscle paralysis of REM sleep would not allow for these movements. Parasomnias occur due to a confusion in arousal, the body and mind do not wake-up together, leading to actions that are unconscious to the sleeper. Evidently, due to this unconsciousness on the sleeper’s behalf, parasomnias can lead to dangerous, embarrassing and disruptive behaviours. Sleep-walkers can often walk out of the bedroom, the house, and it can be incredibly frightening for the sleep-walker when they awake and find themselves in a different room of their house, or sometimes in an unfamiliar area.

Causes of Parasomnia’s

Parasomnias can be triggered or made more regular by illness, alcohol, stress, sleep-deprivation and often affect pregnant or menstruating women. Therefore, if you do suffer from a parasomnia, adopting a few changes to your lifestyle (read Factors Affecting Sleeping Patterns) may enable you to reduce the number of parasomnias experienced and reduce the extremities of these experiences. Sometimes parasomnias can occur in people who are perfectly healthy in both body and mind and this is regarded as quite normal and not of any great concern. This is unless the parasomnia is putting them in any kind of danger or they are experiencing excessive tiredness during the day due to the disturbance caused.

Monitoring Parasomnia’s

If a parasomnia is an issue for you, or someone you know, then it is helpful for doctors to know of all behaviour patterns that have occurred. Obviously, due to its occurrence in an unconscious state of the sufferer, family members and friends are asked to recall the behaviours they may have witnessed. Completing a sleep diary may help in recalling these events and gives the overall picture of the seriousness of the events that are occurring.

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