Sleep Care


Parasomnias are sleeping disorders that are usually associated with abnormal movements or waking during sleep. These disorders can be very disruptive to a good night of sleep and can be troublesome to your bed partner. Parasomnias can be hard to diagnose, since they do not always occur every time a person is asleep. Parasomnias should not be confused with limb movements related to sleep apnea; a sleep study may be needed in order to rule out difficulty breathing. The most frequent parasomnias include:

Confusional Arousals

These are usually seen in children and are frequently associated with thrashing or crying during sleep. Often during this arousal the person will be difficult to awaken fully and will seem disoriented or confused.

Sleep Walking

Most sleepwalking is done early in life and can decrease in frequency as a person gets older. Sleepwalking can be dangerous, especially in children, as the person is often capable of completing complicated tasks while still asleep. This disorder should be diagnosed and watched closely to avoid any injury to the sleepwalker.

Night Terrors

When people experience night terrors, they often wake from sleep crying or screaming. This parasomnia is also associated with an inability to remember why one is upset or awake. Waking a person with night terrors can be difficult, depending on how deeply he or she is sleeping at the time. The inability to remember the dream or image that has caused the terror makes these events different from having nightmares.


This disorder consists of grinding your teeth at night during sleep. This can be very bad for your teeth and can cause jaw pain.

Restless-Leg Syndrome

RLS is associated with itching, burning or painful leg sensations. These feelings can make sleep difficult and can cause the person to move or scratch his or her legs continually.

Persistent Leg-Movement Disorder

PLMD is the presence of continuous leg movements during sleep. PLMs can be as soft as a light twitch or as severe as kicking during sleep. These movements frequently will wake up the person asleep as well as his or her bed partner. Often PLMs are associated with the leg discomfort seen with restless leg syndrome.

REM Sleep Behavior disorders

This parasomnia is characterized by significant disruptive movements during REM sleep. Since during REM sleep a person is often actively dreaming, this disorder is frequently described as a person acting out his or her dreams while still asleep.


Catathrenia occurs when a person holds his or her breath while in REM sleep, then exhales, making a squeaking or groaning noise. Typically you will see this person inhale deeply, hold his or her breath for several seconds, then finally exhale while making noise. This disorder is often not noticed by the person, but it can be observed by others who are nearby during sleep.

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