Parasomnias are a class of sleep disorders. They are characterized by abnormal behaviors that occur with insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns. They are defined as disorders that occur during the transition between sleep and wakefulness, or during the sleep cycle.
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The main difference between parasomnias and other sleep disorders is that parasomnias occur during the transition period of sleep. Sleep disorders such as insomnia and sleep apnea are considered disorders because they disrupt sleep patterns.
Parasomnias are further differentiated from other types of sleep disorders due to the fact that they are directly related to specific behaviors and/or psychological disorders.
Parasomnias are a result of abnormal activity in the brain during sleep. This abnormal activity can include spikes in the brain's electrical activity, or deficiencies in certain neurotransmitters. These irregularities can lead to irregular brain signals, which in turn can trigger specific behaviors.
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The best-known parasomnias are sleepwalking, night terrors, and sleep eating. There are other types of parasomnias, but these three accounts for the majority of reported cases.
There is a connection between parasomnias and abnormalities in the structure of the brain or a deficiency in certain neurotransmitters in the brain.
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The most common neurotransmitter abnormality associated with parasomnias is a deficiency in serotonin, which is responsible for regulating the sleep cycle. There is also a high correlation between parasomnias such as sleepwalking and night terrors and dopamine deficiency in the brain. Low levels of acetylcholine have also been associated with sleepwalking and night terrors.
There is, however, no one single cause for parasomnias. There is a genetic component to parasomnias, which suggests that a predisposition for them can be inherited.
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Abnormalities in the structure of the brain can also cause parasomnias by disrupting normal sleep patterns. Abnormalities in the structure of the brain have been shown to affect the function of neurotransmitters, which can ultimately lead to an abnormal behavior during sleep.
The most common treatment for parasomnias is medications that increase the amount of serotonin in the brain.
Selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) are commonly prescribed for parasomnias such as sleepwalking and night terrors due to their ability to regulate serotonin levels in the brain.
Antidepressants such as tricyclic antidepressants (TCAs) and monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs) have also been used to treat parasomnias such as sleepwalking and night terrors due to their ability to increase levels of serotonin in the brain.
Other medications used to treat parasomnias include antipsychotics, antiepileptics, benzodiazepines, and beta blockers.
Another popular treatment for parasomnias is cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT). This form of treatment teaches patients how to manage their sleep patterns without relying on medications.
This treatment is beneficial because it addresses the root cause of parasomnias, which is poor sleep management skills.
Parasomnias are a class of sleep disorders characterized by abnormal behaviors that occur with insomnia or disrupted sleep patterns. They are defined as disorders that occur during the transition between sleep and wakefulness, or during the sleep cycle. The best-known treatments for parasomnias include medications that increase the amount of serotonin in the brain and cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT).
Common parasomnias include: sleepwalking, sleep terrors, night terrors, bruxism (teeth grinding), REM sleep behavior disorder, and confusional arousals.
While parasomnias are not dangerous, they can be very disruptive. People with parasomnias often report feeling tired, exhausted and/or irritable the day after an episode. Parasomnias can also be frustrating for family members, who are often awakened by the behavior.
Parasomnias are very common. One study of 70,000 people found that 15% of the population experienced at least one parasomnia each year.
1) Behaviors that contribute to parasomnias include: stress, poor sleeping habits, and drug/alcohol usage. 2) Certain conditions increase the risk of parasomnias, such as: sleep deprivation, sleep disorders, and neurological conditions.
People with mental health conditions such as anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia are at an increased risk for developing parasomnias.