National Sleep Foundation

Chapter 6: Parasomnias

What Are Parasomnias?

Parasomnias are undesirable events or experiences that occur near sleep onset, within sleep, or during arousals from sleep1

About 10 percent of Americans experience parasomnias. Parasomnias are more common in children, due to brain immaturity, but tend to go away as the child gets older and their brain matures2

Parasomnias can be “primary,” resulting from a problem with the person’s sleep state. Or, they can be “secondary,” resulting from another condition that results in sleep problems. Secondary conditions that may result in parasomnias include other sleep disorders (i.e., sleep apnea), medical or psychiatric condition (i.e., Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]), or as the result of substance use or abuse.

Parasomnias can result in Excessive Daytime Sleepiness (EDS) and other have negative effects, but most are treatable. Although strange, these behaviors are rarely a result of psychiatric problems.

This chapter addresses the following primary sleep parasomnias:

References

  1. Schenck CH, “Ask the Expert: What are Parasomnias?” Arlington, VA: National Sleep Foundation, no date. Available online at: https://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/sleep-and-parasomnias.
  2. Schenck CH, “Ask the Expert: What are Parasomnias?” Arlington, VA: National Sleep Foundation, no date. Available online at: https://sleepfoundation.org/ask-the-expert/sleep-and-parasomnias.