Uncommon Parasomnias

Uncommon Parasomnias

Parasomnias are sleep-related disorders that disrupt your sleep. Unusual movements, speech, and emotions can occur when you're asleep, even though your bed partner might think you're awake.

Examples include nightmare disorders. Sleep terrors  sleepwalking, sleep paralysis, and a sleep-related eating disorder. Treatment typically starts with non-medicinal solutions.

Is Parasomnia A Condition That Affects You?

Parasomnia is a  sleep disorder that causes unexpected and unwelcome physical experiences or experiences that interrupt your sleep.

Parasomnia could occur before or during sleep or after awakening from sleep. If you suffer from parasomnia, you may experience unusual movements, speak about emotions, talk, or even behave unusually.

You're asleep, but your  bedmate might believe that you're awake.

Teeth grinding

Are There Different Kinds Of Parasomnia?

Yes. Parasomnias are classified according to the time of night and the stage of sleep they occur. According to the  Cleveland Clinic, there are two significant phases of sleep: Non-Rapid Eye Movement (Non-REM) sleep and the rapid movement of eyes (REM) sleep. Other parasomnias are classified as the "other" category.

What Is Non-Rapid-Eye Movement (Non-Rem) Sleep? What Are The Causes Of Parasomnia In This Stage Of Sleep?

Sleep with non-rapid-eye movement (Non-REM) sleep comprises the three first stages of sleep that begin from the moment you  fall asleep.

Sleep disorders that are non-REM are often known as arousal disorders.

Non-REM parasomnias require verbal and physical activities. It is impossible to be completely conscious or alert to these situations.

They aren't responsive to other attempts to interact with you and typically do  not remember or partially recall the event the following day. Non-REM parasomnias are usually seen between five and 25 years old.

Parasomnias that are not REM typically occur in those who have relatives with similar parasomnias.

Parasomnias that take place in non-REM sleep are:

  •     The sleep-related terrors - When you suffer from this sleep disorder, you wake up in a  state of terror. You might scream or cry in terror. Sleep terrors usually last for a short time (30 seconds);

However, they may last for several minutes. Other symptoms of this disorder include a rapid heart rate, wide eyes, dilated pupils, rapid breathing, and sweating.

  •   Sleepwalking (somnambulism) - If you're a somnambulist, you rise from your bed, walk around while your eyes are vast, and you're, in fact, asleep. It's possible to talk or mumble (sleep-speaking).

You might engage in complex tasks such as driving, playing a musical instrument, or performing bizarre actions like peeing in a closet and moving furniture.

The act of sleeping can be risky and cause injuries as you're not aware of your surroundings. It is possible to hit objects or even fall to the ground.

  •     Confusional arousals - If you suffer from these sleep problems, you seem to be partially awake. However, you're confused and lost in space and time.

The  bed remains empty, or lie down and open your eyes and cry. You talk slowly, have difficulty understanding the questions asked, or respond rationally.

The incident can last anywhere from one minute to hours. Confusional arousals are common during childhood, and they tend to diminish in frequency as you age.

It is possible to eat food or items that you wouldn't finish without being asleep (such as uncooked chicken or pieces made of butter).

Risks could include eating inedible or toxic food items,  eating unhealthy or excessive amounts of food, or getting injured while cooking or making food.

How Do You Define Rapid Eye Movements (Rem) Sleeping? What Are The Causes Of Parasomnia In This Stage Of Sleep?

Eye movement that is rapid (REM) sleep is one of the three non-REM stages that comprise the  sleeping cycle. When you are in REM sleep, the eyes move rapidly beneath your eyelids, and your breathing, heart rate, and blood pressure increase.

It is the time that vivid dreams take place. The  body cycles through and repeats non-REM and REM sleep approximately every 90-110 minutes.

Parasomnias can occur in the later period into the night.

If you are awake during the incident, then you're likely to be able to remember a portion of the entire dream.


Parasomnias that occur during  REM sleep are:

Disorder Of Nightmares

These are vivid dreams that trigger feelings of terror or anxiety and terror. It is possible to feel that you are in danger to your security or safety.

If you awake from your  nightmare, you'll be able to recount the dream in detail. There are times when you have difficulty returning to sleep. The likelihood of having nightmares is higher if you're under pressure or have experienced a traumatising event, illness/fever, severe fatigue, or following alcohol consumption.

Recurrent Sleep Paralysis

If you're suffering from this sleep disorder, it is impossible to move your limbs or body during the night.

Researchers believe that  the paralysis could be due to an expansion of REM sleep - a phase where muscles are relaxed.

It happens before you sleep or while you wake up. The episodes last just a few minutes. They are stressful, often causing anxiety. Sleep paralysis can be reversed by having your partner talk to you or the bed.

Sleep Behaviour Disorder (RSBD)

If you are suffering from this disorder that causes you to perform vocalisations, act out (e.g., talking or swearing, laughing or shouting), or engage in violent actions (e.g., striking, punching, or grabbing) in response to a nightmare that is violent.

Sleep disorder is more prevalent among older adults. Many of those suffering from this condition suffer from neurodegenerative diseases like  a stroke: Parkinson's disease, multiple system atrophy, or  Lewy body dementia.

Other types of Uncommon parasomnias are:

The Head Exploding Syndrome

If you are suffering from sleep disorders, you may hear an intense or loud crash in your head when you're  falling asleep or awakening. It is possible to see an imagined flash of light or experience the sensation of a sudden muscle jerk.

Sleep Enuresis (Bedwetting)

This is not the kind of bedwetting in children. For it to be considered parasomnia, this type of bedwetting should occur at a young age or over and should happen at least twice every week for at least three months.

Hallucinations Triggered By Sleep

If you have this sleep disorder, it is possible to experience hallucinations while you fall asleep or wake up. You might be able to see, hear or smell things and feel or feel motion that isn't real. You could  get up and leave your bed to escape the situation.

Sleep-Related Grunting (Catatonia)

With this sleep disorder, you experience repeated episodes of groaning sounds (long grunts that are followed by grunts or sighs) during the night.

Sexually Induced Sleep

People suffering from this disorder are prone to sexual activities during sleep. They may engage in the act of sexual intercourse, masturbation or sexual assault, touching your bed partner, or sexually explicit vocalizations.

The Disorder Of Parasomnia-Overlap (Pod)

It is a condition that occurs when patients show signs of both non-rapid movements (NREM)  sleep parasomnias (confusional awakenings, sleepwalking, sleeping terrors, and sleep sexual activity) as well as rapid eye movement (REM) sleep parasomnias the sleep disorder known as REM (RBD) and sleep nightmares.

What Are The Causes Of Parasomnias?

Parasomnia-related causes can be classified into sleep disorders and health-related issues in general.

Problems that interfere with sleep:

  •     Complete transition from being awake to sleep stages.
  •     Insomnia or irregular sleep-wake patterns ( jet time and working shifts).
  •     Medicines, including those that cause sleep (benzodiazepines such as Zolpidem) to help with depression (amitriptyline bupropion, paroxetine, and mirtazapine) as well as to treat psychotic conditions (quetiapine and Olanzapine) and reduce blood pressure (propranolol metoprolol) as well as to treat epilepsy (topiramate) and  treat allergies/asthma (montelukast) cure diseases (fluoroquinolones).
  •     Sleep disturbances due to medical issues include the  syndrome of restless legs, sleep obstructive apnea and pain, narcolepsy, sleep lack, circadian rhythm disorders, or periodic limb movement disorder.
  •     The lack of maturation of the sleep-wake cycle (in children suffering from parasomnias).

Other health problems:

  •     Fever.
  •     Stress.
  •     Abuse of alcohol or other substances.
  •     A head injury.
  •   Menstrual cycle or pregnancy.
  •     Genetics. If you have a family history of parasomnias, you're more likely to suffer from them.
  •     Inflammatory disease, for example, Encephalitis.
  •   Psychiatric illnesses include depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder.
  •     Neurological diseases include Parkinson's disease, Lewy body dementia, stroke, Multiple system atrophy, autoimmune disease MS, and brain tumours. Migraines and  spinocerebellar ataxia of type three.

    What Is The Best Way To Diagnose Parasomnia?

    The specialist in sleep medicine will interview you and your partner about the symptoms you experience during sleep.

    They will also inquire about your medical background and family history, drinking  habits, and any other substances you've used. It will also ask about your current medication.

    It is possible to keep a sleep journal, and your bed companion might be required to record the events that occur during your sleep.

    Other tests for sleep disorders are:

    •   The sleep study (polysomnogram): This is a sleep laboratory where you will be monitored while you are sleeping. Your heart rate, brain waves, speed, eye movements, and breathing patterns will be recorded while you are asleep.

    Video recordings will document your actions and activities. Though some sleep research may be performed at home, an in-lab analysis will be suggested if there's a concern about parasomnia.

    •   Video electroencephalogram (EEG) , also known as sleeping EEG: These tests assist your doctor or healthcare professional observe and document your brain's activity during an event in your brain.
    •     Neurologic examination,  CT, or  an MRI scans to identify brain degeneration or other neurologic reasons that could be the cause that may be the cause of symptoms.

    How Can Parasomnias Be Treated?

    The first step is to identify and treat any other sleep issues and other health issues and review any medications that can trigger parasomnia.

    Strategies for general managing both non-REM and REM sleep disorders are:

    •     Ensure you are following good  sleep hygiene practices (get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night and turn off all lights, television, and other electronic devices; keep your room cool and avoid excessive exercise and caffeine before bed).
    •     Keep your sleep-wake routine. Be consistent with your  bedtime and wake-up time.
    •     Don't drink or use any alcohol or recreational drug.
    •     Use all medications prescribed according to the instructions of your physician.

      Don't drink

      Other Methods For Treating Non-REM Sleep Disorders

      The use of medication isn't usually recommended for parasomnias that are not REM-related.

      But, when utilised, benzodiazepines are generally the medication of choice for those suffering from parasomnia that lasts a long time or are possibly harmful.

      Tricyclic antidepressants can also be considered. Psychological techniques (such as relaxation therapy,  hypnosis, and cognitive-behavioural therapy or therapy) are also thought of.

      Other treatment options for REM sleep conditions:

      •     Clonazepam and melatonin comprise two medicines that are used most often to treat REM sleeping disorders.

      Your physician will go over the most effective treatment options - treatments and psychological methods to treat your specific form of sleep disorder, considering your personal medical history and health history.

      What Are Some Precautions For Safety?

      A second discussion between you and your healthcare provider is about how to keep your bedroom secure. Some suggestions include:

      •     Remove or lock any dangerous or sharp objects in the bedroom.
      •     Secure tableside lights.
      •     Make sure you have floor mats to avoid injuries caused by falls.
      •     Protect the edges of the bedside furniture.
      •     Make use of plastic cups and bottles for water if it is required near the mattress.
      •     Install alarms on your doors and windows to alert sleepers.
      •     Make sure to  sleep in separate beds when a person with parasomnia exhibits aggressive behaviour - such as punching or kicking.


      Now that you know all about uncommon parasomnias, let’s take a look at a few frequently asked questions.

      What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Insomnia?

      Every type of parasomnia comes with distinct features and triggers. Some of the most common symptoms include  trouble sleeping through the night, and feeling tired throughout the daytime.

      What Are The 4 Types Of Parasomnia?

      The 4 most common types of parasomnia include nightmares, night terrors,  bedwetting, and sleepwalking.

      Wrap Up!

      All in all, the parasomnia list isn't exhaustive. However, it is merely a reflection of the most frequent parasomnia kinds. If you think you're suffering from parasomnia, speak with your physician about tips for prevention and parasomnia treatment alternatives.

      Furthermore, if you’re looking for additional tips and tricks from experts on how to treat parasomnia, then check out our  complete guide for parasomnia only a Crafted Beds. This and more such sleep-health related blogs on  Crafted Beds have been curated by experts just for you and your health. So we are hopeful that this would surely bring value for you! 

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