A List of Other Parasomnias

Last updated: May 24, 2019

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Aside from the more common REM and Non-REM parasomnias there are several other parasomnias that can affect a person. Parasomnias are undesirable movements that occur while a person is sleeping. Some parasomnias are not serious and are more bothersome to the patient’s sleeping partner. There are some parasomnias though that require medical attention. This is because they may be a result of another serious sleeping disorder or medical condition.

Nocturnal Eating Syndrome

Nocturnal Eating Syndrome is a condition wherein a sleep problem exists together with an eating disorder. When a person has NES he eats a lot after dinner. This results in difficulty in sleeping. As a result that person wakes up in the middle of the night and ends up eating again.

Symptoms of NES include:

  • Lack of appetite in the morning
  • Insomnia during the majority of weeknights
  • A belief that eating can help him fall asleep or get back to sleep
  • Depression during the evening hours

It is not clear what causes Nocturnal Eating Syndrome. There is a theory that it may be related to problems with the sleep-wake cycle. People who are obese have a higher risk of having NES. Nocturnal Eating Disorder is also more common for those who suffer from another eating disorder. Another factor that can increase the likelihood of getting NES is a history of anxiety or depression.

Although there are only a few studies about NES, there are treatments that may help those who suffer from it. Taking antidepressants may help solve the issue. Cognitive behavioral therapy might also help in relieving NES.

Sleep Hyperhidrosis

Sleep Hyperhidrosis is another name for night sweats. This is a condition wherein the patient sweats at night. A person with night sweats often ends up in drenched sleepwear and sheets. Night sweats are not related to overheated sleeping.

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Night sweats are a condition that affects around 3 percent of the entire population. It can also be a sign of a more serious medical condition.

There are several possible causes of night sweats. These include:

  • Infection: Those with Tuberculosis have a higher chance of suffering from night sweats. Other common causes of night sweats include influenza and HIV.
  • Obstructive Sleep Apnea: This is a sleep disorder wherein the patient has breathing difficulties during sleep. This breathing difficulty is due to a narrow airway. A person suffering from sleep apnea is three times more likely to get night sweats.
  • Hormonal imbalance: Night sweats are common in people who are experiencing hormone imbalances. This is why night sweat is a common occurrence for pregnant women. It is also common for those who are going through menopause or puberty. Other diseases that result in hormonal imbalance can also increase the chances of getting night sweats. These include thyroid disease or diabetes.
  • Cancer: Night sweats might indicate cancer. Certain types of cancer can aggravate night sweats, including Lymphoma and leukemia.

Treating night sweats is more about creating a sleeping environment that can minimize sweating. Ensuring that the bedroom is cool and breathable is one way of minimizing night sweats. Another way is avoiding alcohol, caffeine, and spicy foods close to bedtime.

Abnormal Swallowing Syndrome

This is a disorder that refers to a person’s difficulty in swallowing. Medical experts also call this disorder Dysphagia. When a person has dysphagia, they encounter difficulty in swallowing oral contents. A person with this disorder is at risk of choking from his own saliva. This can result in that person waking up or shifting to a shallower stage of sleep.

There are several symptoms of dysphagia. The most common symptoms are swallow-related coughing. A person with this disorder may also throw up food or drinks that he swallowed earlier. This disorder is often a result of issues with muscular coordination, inflammation, or neoplasia.

There are several ways of treating this disorder. One way is to switch to a diet that won’t result in swallowing difficulties. Swallowing exercises can also help strengthen muscles.

Sleep-related Laryngospasm

Laryngospasm is a rare disorder. It is also frightening experience. When an episode of laryngospasm occurs the vocal cords suddenly close. This happens while a person is taking a breath. As a result the flow of air into the lungs gets blocked. An episode can awaken a person from a sound sleep. It can also lead to that person temporarily being unable to speak or breathe.

There are several possible causes of this disorder. It can get triggered by asthma, allergies or irritants. Anxiety and stress can also cause an episode. A patient with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) is at high risk of laryngospasm.

If GERD is the main cause of an episode the treatment should focus on treating GERD. Doctors often prescribe proton pump inhibitors to patients suffering from GERD. Examples of proton pump inhibitors include Dexlansoprazole, Esomeprazole, and Lansoprazole. These medications help by reducing the production of stomach acids. As a result, stomach fluids that back up into the esophagus are not as corrosive. If these medications fail treatment may involve surgery.

It is also best for a patient to avoid heartburn triggers like fruits and fruit juices. Caffeine and fatty foods can also cause heartburn.

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Catathrenia

Catathrenia is another term for nocturnal groaning. This is a rare parasomnia. Since this is a rare parasomnia it is also undocumented. When a person suffers from nocturnal groaning, the patient groans during sleep. Most of the time these groans are very loud. This is a disorder that lasts for an extended period of time. It also occurs nightly for most patients. An episode occurs more frequently during REM or deep sleep but can occur during other phases of sleep as well.

Groaning occurs while a patient exhales, but it is different from snoring which occurs while a patient inhales. A snort or a sigh often follows these groans. Nocturnal groaning doesn’t have anything to do with sleep talking. There is also no connection between nocturnal groaning and other breathing problems.

Nocturnal groaning has little to no effect on a patient’s quality of sleep. This is why it may not be necessary to look into it. Nocturnal groaning is something that is more bothersome to the patient’s sleeping partner. One way of minimizing the irritating effects of nocturnal groaning is by using earplugs as a sleeping aid.

Nocturnal paroxysmal dystonia

Dystonia is another term for muscle spasms. It is also a term for convulsions that result in the body twisting into unusual postures. These postures often cause pain to the patient.

When a person suffers from nocturnal paroxysmal dystonia, that person experiences epileptic fits while sleeping. It is not unusual for someone with this disorder to suffer from episodes up to eight times in a single night. Each episode varies in length. One episode can last from as short as a few seconds or as long as an entire minute. Most of the time an episode occurs during non-REM sleep. This means that an attack happens while the patient is not in a deep stage of sleep. As a result the patient may wake up from sleep because of the seizure.

Nocturnal paroxysmal dystonia can also occur together with a night walking. Although there is no conclusive evidence, researchers believe that this disorder is similar to frontal lobe epilepsy.

Since researchers think that this disorder is similar to epilepsy, the treatment is also similar to that given to epilepsy patients. Treatment usually involves the use of the anticonvulsant drug carbamazepine. This drug seems to be effective in treating people who suffer from short outbursts of this disorder.

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