Home Staying Healthy Sleep  

How to Get Rid of Parasomnias


Parasomnias can be described as strange things that go bump in the night. The term parasomnia refers to a wide variety of disruptive sleep-related events.

What are Parasomnias?

The Parasomnias are disorders that intrude into the sleep process and create disruptive sleep-related events. These behaviors and experiences occur usually while sleeping, and are most often infrequent and mild. They may happen often enough or become so bothersome that medical attention is required. Parasomnia, which means "around sleep," also includes sleepwalking, night terrors, bedwetting, and narcolepsy. All can create havoc in your home, and some can be harmful to your child. Keep reading to know about the three categories of parasomnia (rhythmic, paroxysmal, and static disorders) and to find out how you can help your child.

Parasomnias manifest by activation of systems, such as the autonomic nervous system, or programs, such as cognitive, behavioral, or motor program stimulation.

Parasomnias can cause sleep-related injuries and promote psychological distress from repeated loss of self-control during sleep.

In adults, parasomnias are often misdiagnosed and inappropriately treated as psychiatric disorders because of their bizarre and dangerous manifestations. Diagnosis is further complicated by the fact that medical and psychiatric disorders and various medications can precipitate or aggravate parasomnias.

Types of Parasomnia

Parasomnias can be classified according to whether the signs or symptoms are (1) primary phenomena of sleep itself or (2) secondary phenomena derived from various underlying disorders:

  • Somniloquy
  • Somnambulism
  • Sleep starts
  • Confusional arousal
  • Bedwetting
  • Night terrors
  • Teeth grinding --Bruxism
  • Nocturnal eating disorder/Nocturnal Seizures
  • Rhythmic movement disorde
  • REM behavior disorderHypnagogic hallucination and
  • paralysis.

Sleepwalking and sleep terrors

Sleepwalking and sleep terrors are non-REM parasomnias that typically arise from delta non-REM (slow wave) sleep. These conditions are most common in children, but adults also can be affected and can incur sleep-related injuries and adverse social consequences.

Treatment of Parasomnia

Medical disorders, psychiatric disorders, and stress may precipitate or aggravate parasomnias. A careful history of psychosocial stresses, alcohol or drug use, and symptoms of depression should be obtained. Also, a detailed Mental Status Examination should be performed. Patients found to have an underlying psychological or psychiatric disorder should be seen by a psychologist or psychiatrist, and appropriate therapy should be offered.

Counseling may be helpful for psychological disorders that lead to insomnia and the practice of relaxation techniques may also be helpful.

Establish a regular bedtime, but don't go to bed if you feel wide awake. Use the bedroom for bedroom activities only. Once in bed, use creative imagery and relaxation techniques to keep your mind off unrestful thoughts. Avoid staying in bed for long periods of time while awake, or going to bed because of boredom. Relax by reading, taking a bath, or listening to soothing music before getting to bed.

Facts and Tips about Parasomnias

  • Parasomnia is a distracting sleep disorder.
  • Nightmares, sleepwalking and terror are the most common types of parasomnia.
  • This syndrome is found in adults as well as children.
  • Hypnotherapy and relaxation therapies are helpful to control fear and stress.
  • Do not watch violent or horror movies and avoid smoking at night.
  • Exercise and healthy diet will also controls the causes of parasomnia

Sometimes crying or laughing
are the only options left,
and laughing feels better right now.

Stay Connected with DG


Current Issue

Self Help Leaflets

Take the help of our self help leaflets or booklets.

The DG Magazine

All about living with depression

Most Read on Sleep