Parasomnias are disorders associated with physical movement during sleep. Sleepwalking (somnambulism), sleep talking, night terrors and enuresis (bedwetting) are some of the examples of these. When they occur in children, these problems usually resolve in time. Because they may be caused by or associated with other sleep problems, sleep evaluation may be necessary by a sleep specialist. Some of the more common parasomnias are listed below.

Sleepwalking (Somnambulism)
Sleepwalking is when a person is able to perform complicated actions while in a deep sleep. It occurs when a person is in a mixed state of sleep, both awake and asleep. They are awake enough to act out the behavior but still asleep and not aware or able to remember the behavior. Sleepwalkers can be difficult to arouse. Since many will be disoriented and agitated if awoken, the sleepwalker should be directed back to bed to lie down. Sleepwalking tends to be more prevalent in children and boys are more likely than girls to be a "sleepwalker". This sleep disorder may run in families.

Sleep (Night) Terrors
A person experiencing a night terror "awakes" from sleep in a terrified state. The person having the night terror will have signs of intense fear, such as wide eyes and rapid breathing. Episodes usually occur during the first hour of falling asleep, the point at which deep sleep begins. They appear to be awake but are unable to communicate and act confused and agitated. Night terrors last about 15 minutes, after which the person falls back to sleep. The following morning the person is usually unable to recall the event from that night. Night terrors tend to run in families and are more common in children.

Confusional Arousals
Confusional arousal occurs when a person is awakened from a deep sleep during the first part of the night. It involves an exaggerated slowness upon awaking. The person reacts slowly to commands and may have difficulty understanding questions asked. It is also know as excessive sleep inertia.

Sleep Talking
Sleep talking is a sleep-wake transitional disorder. Although it may disturb sleep partners or family members, it is usually harmless. A person who sleeps talks usually has no recollection of the event. Sleep talking can be caused by fever, emotional stress, or other sleep disorders.

Nightmares are vivid nighttime events causing fear and anxiety. Usually the person having the nightmare is awakened from REM sleep and can recall the nightmare in great detail. It is not uncommon for the person to have difficulty returning back to sleep. Many factors cause nightmares including: illness, anxiety, loss of a loved one and medication reactions

Sleep enuresis (Bedwetting)
There are two kinds of enuresis-primary and secondary. In primary enuresis, a person has been unable to have urinary control from infancy onward. In secondary enuresis, a person has a relapse after previously being able to have urinary control. It can be caused by medical conditions including: diabetes, urinary tract infections, infection or sleep apnea or by psychiatric disorders.

Rhythmic movement disorders
This disorder occurs right before a person falls asleep and is more common in very young children. The child may lie flat, and then forcefully hit their head on a pillow. It is also known as "head banging" and can also involve movements such as rocking on the hands and knees.


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