Parasomnias: what they are and what to do if you suffer from any

Parasomnias are a group of highly varied sleep disorders. They are usually triggered in periods such as childhood and adolescence, but in some people they can persist until they are adults. In general, they are usually benign and do not pose any danger to the physical or mental health of those who suffer from them, except in certain cases in which they can become serious and therefore compromise the quality of life of the patient.

Some of the parasomnias are well known, such as sleepwalking, while others are very strange and violent, such as the so-called explosive head syndrome (from the English "exploding head syndrome") which, as its name suggests, produces strong auditory rumbles while the person is asleep, accompanied by flashes of light or trouble breathing. But let's go by parts to unravel which are the most frequent parasomnic phenomena, their causes and the possible treatment that those who suffer from them should follow.

The best thing to avoid any parasomnia is to adopt a constant sleep routine and avoid substances such as alcohol or tobacco

As we said, the most common disorder within parasomnias is sleepwalking, which makes us get out of bed and stay asleep. It presents no more danger than the fact that you could injure yourself or put your life at risk in that trance in which you wander while you are asleep. Or in any case, that you get aggressive when it happens to you. According to 'Psychology Today', more than half of adult sleepwalkers have shown violent behavior when they are in this phase. Only 17% have suffered injuries, such as the case of a patient who jumped out of a third-story window while he was tired.

What to do in case you see that someone is in a state of sleepwalking? The most advisable thing is to accompany him back to bed in a calm way. If you are the one who suffers from it and you are worried, the best thing is that you go to the doctor to do a study of the dream. To prevent, lock the door of the house and hide the keys, as well as anything that may turn out to be a danger to others. The most curious thing is that neurologists and psychiatrists have associated sleepwalking with having strong positive emotions, so if you suffer from it, it is a good sign.

REM phase sleep behavior disorder

This alteration, also called "dream acting behavior", appears when you physically represent vivid dreams, mostly unpleasant, with vocal sounds, sudden and often violent movements of arms and legs in the stage of desynchronized sleep. About 20% of sleep is in this phase, which usually arrives towards the second half of the night. The disorder is associated with neurological diseases, such as dementia with Lewy bodies, Parkinson's disease or multisystem atrophy, according to the Mayo Clinic. What to do in case it gets serious? Get in touch with a neurologist, he is the one who will know best how to act.

Night terrors

There is a difference between simple nightmares and night terrors, and that is that the latter can become especially terrifying. Nightmares usually induce us to panic and can even affect our mood the next day, but we can come to remember even slightly of them. In contrast, in night terrors the feeling disoriented and scared defeat the memory of the image we have dreamed of. They usually occur during deep sleep in the first half of the night (unlike nightmares that tend to happen in the second half).

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It is a very common disorder in young children And although it is not dangerous for the health of the baby, parents can get a good scare if they see their offspring suffer from it. In case this happens, the baby should not be awakened, but you must ensure his safety during the episode and act normally the next day.

Sleep paralysis

If you have suffered a sensation of paralysis while you were asleep, accompanied by severe pressure in the chest and a feeling of fear or doom it's because you've experienced sleep paralysis. Perhaps the most common parasomnia after sleepwalking. Another defining feature is that those who suffer from it tend to feel presences that accompany them in the room in which they sleep, so it can be a most terrifying experience. People who experience it tend to report unreal sounds or figures in the room, which is known by the name of "hypnagogic hallucination."

Sleep paralysis: why you wake up in the middle of the night and can't move

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What to do in case it happens to you? The best thing, not only if you have sleep paralysis but also if you want to improve the quality of your rest, is to adopt a constant sleep routine and avoid substances such as alcohol or tobacco, as well as establish a series of healthy habits before bedr, such as reading a book. Nothing to check the latest phone updates.

Exploding head syndrome

Perhaps the most curiously strange of the rest of pasomnias. It happens when a person hears or feels a very loud noise in his head, especially when he is about to fall asleep or on the contrary on the verge of waking up.. These booms are so loud that it can feel like your head is going to explode although there is no physical pain associated with the experience. Experts still do not know what causes this rare syndrome, but it seems that stress and emotional tension are two factors that increase the likelihood of it occurring.. See your doctor if you experience this or any of the other phenomena parasomnic before it affects your work or personal life.