Parasomnia

The sleep doctors of Sleep Medicine Associates of Texas can offer a variety of effective parasomnia treatments. The term parasomnia encompasses a wide range of unwanted behaviors during sleep. Parasomnias can occur as someone is falling asleep or at any point during the sleep cycle.

Typical Parasomnias

  • Sleep Paralysis: Many people experience the sensation of sleep paralysis while falling asleep. Their body feels unable to move for seconds or even minutes. Sleep paralysis can be quite frightening and may be accompanied by hallucinations.
  • Sleep Walking: Somnambulism, or sleep walking as it is commonly called, occurs when a person appears to be awake and moving around but is actually asleep. A person who is sleep walking may have their eyes opened and even engage you in conversation. This condition most often occurs during delta (stage 3 and stage 4) sleep. It is most common when an individual is young (ages 8-12 or so) and tends to run in families.
  • Night Terrors: A person experiencing a night terror or sleep terror abruptly awakes from sleep in a terrified state. The person may appear to be awake, but is confused and unable to communicate. They do not respond to voices and are difficult to fully awaken.
  • Nightmares: Vivid nighttime events that can cause feelings of fear, terror, and/or anxiety. Usually the person wakes from REM sleep and experiences fear and anxiety making it difficult to return to sleep.
  • Somniliquy (sleep talking): This usually occurs during sleep-wake transition. Most of the time sleep talking is harmless except for annoying the bed partner. This includes speaking words, making sounds and any other verbal outbursts.
  • Confusional Arousals: Arousals that usually occur when a person is awakened from a deep sleep during the first part of the night. People experiencing confusional arousals react slowly to commands and may have trouble understanding questions that they are asked. In addition, people with confusional arousals often have problems with short-term memory and have no memory of doing these things the following day.
  • Teeth Grinding: The involuntary, unconscious, excessive grinding or clenching of teeth during sleep.
  • REM Behavior Disorder (RBD): People with RBD act out dramatic, vigorous and/or violent dreams during REM sleep. Usually, RBD occurs in men age 50 and older, but the disorder also can occur in women and in younger people. It differs from sleep walking and sleep terrors in that the sleeper can be easily awakened and can recall vivid details of the dream.
  • Sleep Eating Disorder: This disorder is characterized by sleep walking and excessive nocturnal overeating (compulsive hyperphagia). Sleep eaters are unaware and unconscious of their behavior and usually have no recollection of their eating afterward. Sleep eating disorder can be very dangerous, the risk of choking and hurting one’s self with cooking utensils is quite high. Most people with this disorder also experience an unexplained weight gain along with daytime sleepiness.

Parasomnia Treatment

The broad expertise of our sleep doctors allows parasomnia treatment to be individualized. Our sleep disorder clinic and its staff will consult with you and prescribe medications and behavioral treatments to help reduce parasomnia behaviors. Our sleep study centers are available if necessary to further probe any parasomnia issues. Our goal is to provide you with an accurate diagnosis and an effective parasomnia treatment.

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