Sleep is essential for your physical health and emotional wellbeing. Everyone experiences occasional sleeping problems, but repeated issues could indicate an underlying health problem. Parasomnias are sleep disorders characterized by physical events or experiences that occur while falling asleep, during sleep or upon awakening. These include disorders such as walking, talking or eating while sleeping, nightmare disorder or night terrors.
The exact cause of this disorder remains unclear, but activation of the central nervous system during sleep (which is otherwise inactive), to act out a dream, is thought to be a cause.
Parasomnia can be diagnosed by reviewing your medical history. Your doctor may order various sleep studies to rule out other conditions such as seizures.
Treatment is not required unless the behavior or experiences are sufficiently affecting your quality of life or are causing injury or harm to you or your partner. Treatment depends upon the type of parasomnia. Addressing the amount of restful sleep that you get every day helps in most cases. Stress aggravates parasomnia. Simple lifestyle or behavioral modification techniques can help. In some cases, treatment may involve medical intervention with prescription drugs.
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