What Is Parasomnia And What Are Its Types

What Is Parasomnia?

Parasomnia is defined as a set of sleeping disorders in which a person has a weird sleeping habit. The breakdown of the word “parasomnia” is “para” which means “not normal” or “weird”, whereas, “somnia” obviously means “sleep”. They are mostly characterized by abnormal behaviors or gestures during sleep. But the relieving aspect of parasomnias is that they are typically not harmful to people. Of course, people have weird sleeping gestures and arousals, but it is not significantly harmful to human health. However, you may need sleep disorder treatment, if parasomnia is becoming uncomfortable for you or people around you.

Types of Parasomnias

Parasomnias are a diverse set of sleep disorders. There are many types of parasomnias, some of which are the most common, are listed down below.

Sleepwalking

Sleepwalking is one of the most common types of parasomnias and sleep disorders. Sleepwalking is an unconscious act, in which you tend to walk while you sleep. The most interesting part about sleepwalking is that you don’t remember walking around, because your mind is asleep, but the subconscious part of your brain is wide awake, which enables your body to walk properly, even though you are seemingly “asleep”.

As mentioned earlier, sleepwalking is not typically harmful to people, but it is certainly an interesting disorder, where you don’t remember or recall anything while you are sleeping and walking simultaneously.

Sleepwalking can only be dangerous in a case, if you fall from height, or bust your body against something harmful. There have been cases where people woke up in the middle of sleepwalking, only to find themselves on the edge of their apartment building, ready to leap. So, in this case, a person having sleepwalking issues, should be monitored always, to make sure that he/she is safe.

Restless Leg Syndrome

There are a lot of people who suffer from a disorder called restless leg syndrome. Restless leg syndrome is basically your brain unconsciously moving your feet and limbs. If someone is suffering from restless leg syndrome, then their bed partner might be aware of their legs constantly rocking back and forth, it can happen continuously for a span of 2 to 3 minutes.

It is basically your brain signaling your body, especially your feet to always move, in your sleep. It is, again, not harmful, but it might be irritating especially, if you share a bed with someone. The constant rocking of your feet and limbs can be a source of agitation for the person sleeping next to you. It can be treated by muscle relaxants, which calm your brain and prevent constant rocking your legs.

Sleep Talking

Have you ever come across someone, who talks in their sleep? Well, it’s safe to say that the person suffers from parasomnia. Sleep talking is self-explanatory. You basically talk in your sleep. You stutter or sometimes, pull off strong words, like a normal conversation. But, one interesting aspect is that the person talking in their sleep, mostly talks about meaningless stuff.

A lot of studies were done on people, to make out what they actually say in their sleep, but it’s mostly sporadic and random. Normally, your brain stops you from talking during your sleep, but if you suffer from parasomnia, your brain is unable to stop you from conversing, which, in turn, results in you talking in your sleep.

Night Terrors

This is a serious type of parasomnia and it can take a toll on your mental health, severely. Night terrors include the person experiencing fear in their sleep. While lying down, they will crash, thrash, kick and scream, and as soon as they wake up, they feel out of breath and all they feel is fear around them. This also makes it difficult for the person to fall back asleep, because their brain becomes afraid of the terror. For this, sleeping medications are given to people, so that their brains can completely shut down and they can have a full night’s rest.

Teeth Grinding

Another seemingly harmless parasomnia is teeth grinding. As explained by sleep study clinics MD, a person will unintentionally rub their teeth against each other, making a screeching noise. This can be irritating for people who share a bed with the person grinding their teeth.