National Sleep Foundation

Chapter 6: Parasomnias

Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) Sleep Arousal Disorders

Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) Sleep Arousal Disorders occur when the brain is partly in Non-REM sleep and partly awake enough to perform complex activities without any conscious awareness of them. They occur during Slow Wave Sleep (SWS). NREM Sleep Arousal Disorders are usually not caused by underlying conditions, and are typically treatable1

NREM Sleep Arousal Disorders include confusional arousals, sleep-walking, sleep terrors, and sleep sex.

  • Confusional arousals occur when the person wakes up in a confused state.
  • Sleep-walking involves the person sitting up or getting out of bed and walking around when they are asleep.
  • Sleep terrors involve a person who appears to be awake but is actually asleep experiencing profound panic (which may involve hitting or running around) and inconsolability.
  • Sleep sex (sexsomnia) involves a person who is asleep engaging in sexual acts (this is different from having an erotic dream)2

Sleep Related Eating Disorder (SRED) is a specialized form of NREM Sleep Arousal Disorder. It involves recurrent episodes of involuntary eating and/or drinking during sleep3.  Episodes typically occur during partial arousals. Some individuals have no recall1 of this behavior, while others are alert during the event and have substantial recall. Consumption of peculiar forms or combinations of food or substances is typical for SRED (e.g., a cigarette-peanut butter sandwich).

 

References

  1. Mahowald MW, Cramer Bornemann MA, “Non-REM Arousal Parasomnias,” in Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W (ed.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (5th Edition), St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2011, pages 1175-1082.
  2. Mahowald MW, Cramer Bornemann MA, “Non-REM Arousal Parasomnias,” in Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W (ed.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (5th Edition), St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2011, pages 1175-1082.
  3. Mahowald MW, Cramer Bornemann MA, “Non-REM Arousal Parasomnias,” in Kryger M, Roth T, Dement W (ed.), Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine (5th Edition), St. Louis: Elsevier Saunders, 2011, pages 1175-1082.