Most sleep disorders tend to not just affect how you enjoy sleep at night, but also how you function during the day. Some disorders can be so intense that they lead to disruptions in cognitive reasoning and can lead to accidents. Parasomnias are a category of sleep disorders that can be pretty worrisome.
Parasomnia refers to a class of sleep disorder that can lead to abnormal behaviours during sleep. With parasomnia, one can experience or exhibit abnormal behaviours during any stage of sleep. From wakefulness to sleeping and vice versa, these behaviours can occur at any point.
Sleep disorders that are classed under parasomnia include sleepwalking/ somnambulism, sleep talking, bedwetting, catathrenia or groaning while asleep, nightmares, night terror, confusional arousal, teeth/ jaw grinding, REM sleep behaviour disorder, sleep texting, sleep-related hallucinations, sleep-driving, sexsomnia and so on.
Some parasomnias are common like sleepwalking, while some are rare like sleep-driving which is a more dangerous form of sleepwalking. Whether common or rare, parasomnias can make it difficult for you or people around you to enjoy restful sleep at night.
POSSIBLE CAUSES OF PARASOMNIA
A number of things can cause and/or trigger parasomnia in a person. They include stress, PTSD, drug abuse/ substance use, genetics, depression, anxiety, an irregular sleep schedule: like with people who work with shifts, neurological problems, sleep deprivation, and so on.
It is important to note that parasomnias are especially common with children than they are with adults. This is typically because the sleep-wake cycle in children is not fully mature and this can result in a mixed state of consciousness.
HOW DO YOU KNOW YOU MIGHT HAVE PARASOMNIA?
Parasomnias are majorly characterized by unusual and abnormal behaviours that you exhibit while you sleep. If you or people around you notice the following symptoms, there is a likelihood you are dealing with parasomnia: waking up feeling disoriented and confused, not remembering carrying out certain activities, feeling extreme fatigue and sleepiness during the day, finding unfamiliar cuts on your body when you wake up, experiencing extreme insomnia and so on. To fully diagnose a parasomnia, you should consider seeing a doctor.
TREATMENTS FOR PARASOMNIA TO EXPLORE
Luckily, parasomnias are treatable and you can explore various habits that would help to reduce abnormal behaviours. Treatments to explore include but are not limited to: prescribed medications, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, psychotherapy, hypnosis, adopting scheduled awakenings: this involves waking up about 15 to 30 minutes before it is time to spontaneously wake up, making your bedroom a safer sleep environment by probably getting rid of dangerous items, ensuring you lock your doors and windows before going to bed and so on.
You should also consider adopting certain lifestyle changes. Reduce allergies with hypoallergenic mattresses, pillows, and beddings. Adopt a consistent sleep-wake schedule. Limit your consumption of water before bedtime. Try to avoid watch intense movies like horror and reading suspense-filled novels before bed. Adopt exercising, meditating, or any activities that can help reduce stress and anxiety. Decrease smoking, your intake of alcohol, carbs, sugary and spicy food before bed.
Parasomnias can make it difficult to enjoy quality sleep and certain types of parasomnia can lead to increased risks of accidents and health problems. Luckily, they are treatable, and depending on their severity, you might be able to overcome them quickly.