WHAT IS PARASOMNIA?
Parasomnia is a conscious or unconscious behaviour that occurs during the night but shouldn’t be occurring during this period.
They are classified as “slow-wave deep sleep parasomnia” and “REM sleep parasomnia” (or dream parasomnia).
REM stands for “Rapid Eye Movement”.
Parasomnia occurs in all age categories at various times of the night, whether it is deep sleep or REM parasomnia.
THE REM SLEEP PARASOMNIA
REM sleep parasomnia is much more serious as it indicates neuro-degenerative disorders that will develop over the coming years.
They alert to the need of taking these patients into assess and follow these patients soon enough – before the onset of diseases such as Parkinson’s, thus being more efficient.
Neuroprotector drugs treatment could then be prescribed much earlier, which would prevent the evolution into a more serious and disabling illness in the patient.
The consequences of parasomnia have an effect on both the patient and his family and friends. It is true of the sleep-walker disrupting the family life. It is even more true of the child banking his head against the wall to fall asleep or the one wandering during the night and worrying his parents.
Dream and REM parasomnia are also worrisome because of the violent behaviour displayed by the sleeper, who acts on and lives his dream. These dreams are typically defensive, attack or aggression dreams and the danger is present as much for the patient as it is for the partner at risk of getting injured.
It is thus very important to understand the type of parasomnia affecting the patient to offer him protection measures and even treatments adapted to the pathology.
WHAT ARE THE SIGNS?
The most common signs of parasomnia are: sleep-walking, teeth clenching (bruxism), somniloquy (talking while sleeping), abnormal feeding habits at night (people get up in the middle of the night to empty their fridge), people fighting during the night thinking they are being attached and possibly have a violent behaviour at night.
These parasomnia phenomenon in young subjects are often slow-wave sleep parasomnia and will generally not affect their quality of life or their physical life.