What is it?

A parasomnia is a sleep disorder that causes abnormal behavior while sleeping. The behavior can occur during any stage of sleep, including the transition from wakefulness to sleeping and vice versa.
If you have a parasomnia, you might move around, talk, or do unusual things during sleep. Other people might think you’re awake, but you’re actually unconscious. You typically don’t remember the incident.

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Signs & symptoms

Aside from the unusual behavior during sleep, parasomnia can cause other symptoms. You might:
* wake up confused or disoriented
* wake up wondering where you are
* not remember doing certain activities
* find unfamiliar cuts on your body
* have difficulty sleeping throughout the night
* feel daytime sleepiness or fatigue


The doctor can help diagnose parasomnia. They’ll likely have you see a sleep specialist, who can further examine your sleeping behavior. Diagnosis often includes:

Medical history. Your doctor will ask about underlying medical conditions, current medications, family history, and lifestyle.
Sleep history. A sleep diary can show your sleep behavior patterns. If you live with someone, they can observe how you sleep.
Polysomnogram. In a polysomnogram, you sleep in a lab overnight so a specialist can analyze your sleeping behavior. They’ll record your brain waves, breathing, and heart rate to make a diagnosis.


Parasomnia treatment depends on the type and severity. Your doctor might recommend the following:
* Medication- If your parasomnia is frequent or recurring, medication can help manage it. The best choice depends on your symptoms.
* Cognitive behavioral therapy- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common parasomnia treatment. That’s because parasomnia is often related to mental health concerns, like stress and anxiety.
* Home treatments- Some treatments can be done at home. Your doctor may suggest:
Scheduled awakenings. Scheduled awakenings are when you wake up your child about 15 to 30 minutes before they spontaneously wake up. It may help minimize behaviors that follow a certain pattern. It’s often used for sleepwalking and night terrors.
Safer sleep environments. If you sleepwalk or have RBD, you might need to sleep alone or remove dangerous items from your home. You can also lock windows and doors, place the mattress on the floor, and sleep with extra padding.

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

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