Irshaad Ebrahim (Medical Director of The London Sleep Centre) gives expert video advice on: What is parasomnia?; Are parasomnias harmful?; How can parasomnias be cured? and more...
What is parasomnia?
The term parasomnia, it refers to behaviors that arise out of sleep. They vary in the complexity and in the presentation. Parasomnias include things like sleep talking, tooth grinding, bruxism, sleep terrors, sleep walking and or nightmares. Parasomnias may occur in non dreaming or non REM sleep or they occur in REM, or rapid eye movement sleep.
Are parasomnias harmful?
Parasomnias are divided into those that have a tendency for violence and those who have a tendency for no violence. There are two particular types of parasomnia that are frequently associated with violence and harm. The most common association between violence and harm in a parasomnia occurs in a condition called REM sleep behavioral disorder. In this condition, during REM sleep, or during dreaming sleep, the person acts out their dreams. There is no suppression of the motor system that usually occurs in all of us when we dream. In other words, most people are paralyzed in dreaming sleep. In this proportion of people with REM sleep behavioral disorder, there is loss of their paralysis. So they are able to act out their dreams. They report typically, violent dreams and tend to become violent with the person in the bed next to them. These are very vivid dreams and very vivid enactment of violent dreams. This condition is a potentially serious condition in that it is associated with the latent development of Parkinson's disease in approximately 60% of people with this diagnosis. REM sleep behavioral disorder can also be precipitated by the use of certain drugs that act in the brain. In particular, the use of anti-depressants and anti-psychotic medications have a tendency to cause REM sleep behavioral disorder.
How can parasomnias be cured?
The good news regarding Parasomnias is that most people with Parasomnias can be effectively treated. In a significant portion of them, we find that underlying sleep disorders such as sleep apnea are causing the symptoms. In those in whom there are clearly identifiable stress points that precipitate these episodes, by treating them from a stress perspective, one can alleviate symptoms.
Is it harmful to wake someone having a parasomnia episode?
The easiest way to cope with someone who is in the midst of a parasomnia is to gently guide them back to bed. Attempting to wake someone suddenly from a parasomnia episode may result in a violent episode, as the person may well be in a deep state of sleep and prone to being violent if woken suddenly.
What makes people twitch in their sleep?
The common cause of restless legs syndrome and pediatric lymph disorders is the diffiency of ion or one of the of metabolite of ion called Parathion
What is restless leg syndrome?
Restless Leg Syndrome refers to a condition where there is an inability to sit still or lie still for an extended period of time which is associated with sensations or pain in the lower limbs usually but may affect the upper limbs. All of these symptoms are relieved by movement or by walking.
Is restless leg syndrome more common in women?
Restless Leg syndrome is very common in pregnancy where it is associated with deficiency of iron and iron stores. It is more common in women because women tend to have lots of iron on a regular basis through menstruation. However in the majority of people, restless legs have no identifiable cause.
What is bruxism?
Bruxism or tooth grinding refers to habitual grinding of teeth due to uncontrollable actions of the maximus and temporalis muscles in sleep. Bruxism is frequently associated with another underlying <a href="http://www.videojug.com/interview/sleep-disorders-3">sleep disorder</a> such as sleep apnea. It occurs commonly in both men and women and is usually treated by having a mouth guard fitted in order to prevent the grinding of the teeth.
Is bruxism harmful?
Bruxism can be harmful for several reasons. In the first instance bruxism may indicate the presence of an underlying sleep disorder such as sleep apnoea. Therefore anyone with bruxism should have a sleep study done to see whether there is another sleep disorder. In the second instance bruxism can cause damage to the enamel of the teeth and also to the gums and jaws and therefore people with bruxism should have a dental opinion.
Is it possible to carry out activities while sleep walking?
It is possible to carry out very complex activities during sleep walking. We've had patients who are able to undo and rebuild their curtain railing systems. We've had patients who've driven cars while sleep walking. We've had patients who have attempted to ride horses while sleep walking, and there are also other more sinister things that can occur during a sleep walking episode. There are patients who can cook and prepare meals while sleep walking. There are people who get violent during sleep walking. There's been an episode of a person who drove 23 kilometers and murdered his mother-in-law while sleep walking. More rarely, there's a condition called sexomnia, where a person can commit sexual acts while in the state of somnambulism, or sleep walking.
Do you remember sleep walking?
The characteristic features of sleep walking are that it occurs usually within an hour to an hour and a half of falling asleep. These actions are usually stereotypical. If the person is awoken, they are usually confused. And inevitably, and characteristically, have no memory for this episode. These are episodes that occur during a state of sleep, not during a state of consciousness, and therefore there can be no memory for these episodes, or very little islands of memory, for these episodes.
Is it dangerous to wake someone who is sleep walking?
The best way of dealing with someone who is a passive sleep walker is to gently guide them back to bed. Trying to forcibly wake them may result in a violent outburst which could cause injury.