Parasomnia is a broad category that includes many types of in-sleep behaviors in which people are not consciously aware of what they are doing, and likely won’t remember what happened when they wake up. Somnambulism (sleepwalking) is the most well-known form of parasomnia, but there are many others, many of which are self-explanatory:
Night terrors–in which a person is terrified and moving–they may run or strike out–but isn’t awake
Sleep-related eating disorder–eating while asleep, distinct from NES below
Sometimes, many of the other disorders below are also classified as parasomnias, depending on the classifying authority.
REM Behavior Disorder
In this disorder, a person is somewhat conscious of their behavior, but they’re not acting on the basis of reality, they’re acting on the basis of perceptions in dream. They can do many of the activities listed under parasomnias above, but they’re conscious of what they’re doing and why–it’s just that the why might not make much sense in the light of day.
Night Eating Syndrome (NES)
NES is not a sleep disorder, but an eating disorder. It’s often associated with other eating disorders, depression, and anxiety. This condition affects up to 10% of obese individuals, and up to 2% of the general population. People often express awareness of night eating events, which is the main distinction between it and the parasomnia sleep-related eating disorder.
Sleep driving is a combination of a parasomnia and a drug side effect. It may manifest as an independent parasomnia, or it may occur as a result of taking certain sleep medications, such as zolpidem.
Sleep bruxism is a disorder we can help you with right here in our office, although we may refer you to a more qualified specialist if necessary. In this disorder, your teeth clamp down for intermittent and sometimes prolonged periods of time. This results in damage to your teeth and jaw. Some studies show you may clench down with more force than you can produce when consciously biting.
Restless Leg Syndrome (RLS)
RLS is perhaps most famous because of the advertising campaign surrounding medications approved to treat it (often considered controversial), but it is a real condition. In RLS, you have a desire to move your legs to eliminate unusual or disturbing feelings, such as tingling or itching. This can make it hard to sleep and hard to enjoy evening activities.
Non-24-hour Circadian Cycle (Non-24)
In Non-24, a person has a sleep-wake cycle that doesn’t add up to 24 hours. In other words, your natural day might last 23 hours or 28 hours. If you try to maintain a regular sleep routine, you actually end up suffering the types of sleep disturbances experienced by shift workers who are constantly having to get up and go to bed at different.
Narcolepsy is a condition whose primary symptom, similar to sleep apnea, is daytime sleepiness. However, in narcolepsy, the sleepiness may be so extreme that the person cannot resist falling asleep, no matter what they are doing or where they are. They can fall asleep for just a minute or an hour or more. As the condition develops, people may experience cataplexy, in which they lose muscle function, sleep paralysis, parasomnias, and sleep illusions.
Sleep paralysis is a condition in which a person is awake and aware, but unable to move. Although it may be associated with narcolepsy, it can be associated with other neurological conditions such as migraine headaches and anxiety disorders. It can even be associated with sleep apnea. It can also occur as a standalone disorder.
Kleine-Levin Syndrome (KLS)
KLS is a condition where a person needs a lot of sleep. And this is not just sleeping-late-because-you’re-a-teenager amount of sleep, during KLS episodes a person may sleep for 21 hours a day. They will also typically have other symptoms, such as a heightened appetite and sexual desires. They may also have psychotic behaviors. Individual KLS episodes last at least a week but less than a month. Several types of viral infection have been cited as potential causes for KLS.
We Can Help with Sleep Disorders
If you are having trouble sleeping, but don’t know where to go, we can refer you to an appropriate sleep clinic for help diagnosing the nature of your sleep disorder.
To talk to us about your sleeping problems, please contact the Advanced Dental Sleep Treatment Center in Omaha today.