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FAQ Frequently asked questions
What are parasomnias?
Parasomnias are disorders of sleep in which disruptive or unwanted behaviors, sensations or experiences occur. Examples include sleepwalking, night terrors and nightmares.
What is a REM sleep disorder?
REM is an acronym for rapid eye movement. During REM sleep, the brain is intensively active and dreaming occurs. REM sleep disorder is a condition in which people act out their dreams while asleep. This can include yelling, jumping out of bed, or violent …
What is sleepwalking?
During sleepwalking, a person who is asleep leaves their bed and may walk around or perform more complicated behaviors, such as unlocking doors, leaving the house or even driving a car. During this behavior, the persona's eyes are open, but they are not aware of what …
What are night terrors?
Night or sleep terrors are episodes during sleep in which a person experiences intense fear, often screaming or crying out. The person is often difficult to comfort and rouse and generally does not remember anything of the incident the next day. Night terrors are …
What is sleep paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is the sense of being awake, but unable to move. It can be accompanied with hallucinations and tends to occur when waking or falling asleep. Most episodes last seconds to minutes. Although frightening, it is not a serious health problem.
How are parasomnias diagnosed?
Your doctor will ask questions about behaviors that are disrupting your sleep in order to diagnose a parasomnia and understand how it is affecting your life. Often your sleep partner can provide useful information on the type and severity of symptoms. They …
How are parasomnias treated?
Most people with a parasomnia can manage their condition and do not require treatment. Parasomnia in children tends to reduce or disappear over time. If the behavior is very disruptive or causes a significant risk of injury, medications such as clonazepam may …
What can be done at home to manage parasomnias?
Getting plenty of good-quality sleep and keeping a regular bedtime can help to reduce episodes of parasomnias. It is also important, if the behaviors pose a risk of injury, to take precautions such as shutting windows and doors, removing …
About this article
Author: Dr Joanne Van der Velden PhD, BSc (Hons)
First answered: 18 Sep 2014
Last reviewed: 14 May 2019
Rating: 4.4 out of 5
Votes: 182 (Click smiley face below to rate)
Category: Insomnia (sleep problems)