Prab R Tumpati MDWhat are parasomnias?

Parasomnias are abnormal arousals and other behaviors happening during sleep such as sleep walking, sleep talking, REM behavior disorder, confusional arousals, sleep terrors, nightmares etc.

What causes parasomnias?

The exact cause is not known. In some people, the walking, talking, and other body functions normally suppressed during sleep occur during certain sleep stages. Alternatively, the paralysis or vivid images usually experienced during dreaming may persist after awakening. These occurrences are collectively known as parasomnias and include confusional arousals (a mixed state of being both asleep and awake), sleep talking, sleep walking, night terrors, sleep paralysis, and REM sleep behavior disorder (acting out dreams).

Who gets parasomnias?

Most of these disorders— such as confusional arousals, sleep walking, and night terrors—are more common in children, who tend to outgrow them once they become adults. People who are sleep-deprived also may experience some of these disorders, including sleep walking and sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis also commonly occurs in people who have narcolepsy.

REM sleep behavior disorder and Parkinsons disease

Certain medications or neurological disorders appear to lead to other parasomnias, such as REM sleep behavior disorder which is a precursor to Parkinsons, and these parasomnias tend to occur more in elderly people.

Consult with sleep specialist

If you or a family member has persistent episodes of sleep paralysis, sleep walking, or acting out of dreams, you may want to consult with a sleep physician or your primary care provider who can refer you to a sleep specialist if needed.

Ensure safety

Taking measures to assure the safety of children and other family members who have partial arousals from sleep is very important.

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