Sleep Disorders

What are Parasomnias?

Positional Therapy , Sleep Disorders , Case Studies , Snoring

 Parasomnias is another group of sleep disorders that involves or pertains to involuntary and unwanted experiences or events that happen while one is falling asleep, during sleep or upon waking up. These may involve emotions, movements, dream perceptions and behaviours that are abnormal. The intriguing aspect of parasomnias is that the person remains asleep while the occurrences are happening and has no recollection of said occurrences upon waking up. People with parasomnia naturally have trouble sleeping through the night.

Different Types of Parasomnias

The different types of this sleep disorder include confusional arousal, sleepwalking, sleep terrors, sleep eating disorder, REM sleep behaviour disorder, sleep paralysis, nightmares, bedwetting, sleep hallucinations, exploding head syndrome and sleep talking. For this week, we will discuss the first half of the different types of parasomnias.

Confusional Arousal - This type of sleep disorder causes a person to act strangely and confused upon waking up. He seems to have no idea as to where he is and what he is doing. His actions may include confused thinking, slow speech, brusque responses to questions, and poor memory. In short, a person with confusional arousal seems to be in a foggy state of mind with no memory of his actions. He may exhibit shouting, sleepwalking and teeth grinding. This state usually occurs as a person wakes up from a slow-wave sleep which is common during the first third of the night. In some cases, a person with confusional arousal may act hostile and aggressive. A variant of this sleep disorder is morning sleep inertia which occurs in the morning as one wakes up.


Sleepwalking - or somnambulism is a type of parasomnia that involves walking about while sleeping. This may include other actions such as sitting up and looking about in a confused manner. Talking and shouting may also occur, and conversation with a sleepwalker has been known to happen. The eyes of a person who sleepwalks are open yet unseeing. Accompanying actions are usually unruly such as urinating in a trash can, sexual behaviour, indecent exposure, climbing out a window and other hostile actions. Some people were documented to have driven a car while sleepwalking. Some just eat or walk around the house.

Sleep Terrors -This type of parasomnia is also known as night terrors. This is commonly exhibited when a person sits up in bed and belts out a piercing scream punctuated with thrashing and kicking. Real fear is seen in the expression of a person experiencing night terrors, as he breathes and sweats heavily. The fear might drive a person to violence. It is almost impossible to “wake” a person undergoing an episode of sleep terrors. Upon waking up, he may seem confused and does not have any recollection of what happened. Recalled dreams are scary and frightening.

Sleep-Related Eating Disorder – or SRED involves binge eating and drinking after waking up in the middle of the night. This action seems uncontrollable and tends to occur when a person is half awake. Stopping a person from binge eating or drinking is not always possible as he will normally act violently. He may or may not recall an episode of SRED. People with SRED binge eat almost every night, preferring to eat thick and sugary food items.

It is interesting to know about the various sleep disorders. The help of a licensed medical practitioner is needed to diagnose such disorders. If you have trouble getting and staying asleep, it is best to set an appointment with a doctor.

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