Parasomnias are a group of illnesses that appear between arousals from rapid eye movement (REM) sleep or non-rapid eye movement NREM sleep. They can be very disruptive and are often times associated with a variety of abnormal behaviors and events.
Although people suffering from these illnesses appear fully awake and aware, they remain asleep and often times have no memory they can recall during the course of the attack.
These types can be classified into two factions: NREM Parasomnias and REM Parasomnias.
These classifications occur during the non-rapid eye movement state in a person’s sleep.
Sleep terrors are a type of arousal in which a person suddenly awakes from sleep to a frightened state. They are often associated with screaming, crying, heavy breathing and excessive sweating.
Confusional arousals are another type of disorder which happens when a person is awakened from a deep sleep at night. A person suffering from this disorder remains seated in bed and is confused with what’s happening around.
Sleepwalking is another type of sleep illness. This occurs when a person walks around, appearing to be fully awake with both eyes open but is actually in deep sleep.
REM Parasomnias, on the other hand, attack during rapid-eye-movement sleep.
Nightmares are intense dreams that can cause immense terror and anxiety to a person. A person can be abruptly awakened from a nightmare and is sometimes able to narrate every detail about his dream.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD)
REM sleep behavior disorder is another type of disorder in which a person acts out violent and emotional dreams during his REM sleep. People with this illness move and twitch their limbs.
Sleep paralysis occurs when someone can’t move his body or limbs due to the muscles being paralyzed for a short period of time, even though he is fully awake.
What causes parasomnias?
The exact cause of parasomnias is unknown. However, it has been observed that parasomnias are usually passed by genetics. They could also be caused by an underlying sleep disorder or by other medications.
When should I consult my doctor about parasomnias?
You should consult your doctor if episodes of parasomnia happen more than usual and if they start to give you injuries. A sleep problem should not last more than a week. This could cause severe abnormalities in sleeping schedules if left untreated.