Parasomnia is any sleep disorder such as sleepwalking, sleep sex, teeth grinding, night terrors, rhythmic movement disorder, REM behaviour disorder, restless legs syndrome, characterized by partial arousals during sleep or during transitions between wakefulness and sleep.
Parasomnias are often associated with stress and depression, and biological factors may also be involved.
Many parasomnias are more common in children than in adults.
Parasomnias do not involve abnormalities of the mechanisms generating sleep-wake states, nor of the timing of sleep and wakefulness. Rather, parasomnias represent the activation of physiological systems at inappropriate times during the sleep-wake cycle. In particular, these disorders involve activation of the autonomic nervous system, motor system, or cognitive processes during sleep or sleep-wake transitions.
Sleepwalking / somnambulism is a phenomenon occurring occasionally during Stage III and IV NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep, during the first third of the night. Sleeper manifests complex motor activity, incl. rising from bed and walking with a blank facial expression, and is unresponsive and difficult to awaken, with amnesia for the episode the following morning.
Dyssomnia is a disturbance in the quality, amount, or timing of sleep, the normal rhythm or pattern of sleep.
Insomnia is inability to fall asleep or to maintain restful sleep.
Pseudo-insomnia is a condition of recurrent dreams of lying awake.
Major types of dyssomnias:
1. Intrinsic sleep disorders include hypersomnia, narcolepsy, periodic limb movement disorder, restless legs syndrome, sleep apnoea.
2. Extrinsic sleep disorders include alcohol-dependent sleep disorder, food allergy insomnia, inadequate sleep routine.
3. Circadian rhythm sleep disorders include advanced sleep phase syndrome, delayed sleep phase syndrome, jetlag, shift work sleep disorder.
The effect of sleep deprivation is a general lack of the necessary amount of sleep. This may occur as a result of sleep disorders, active choice or deliberate inducement such as in interrogation or for torture, prevention of lying down and sleep.
Physiological effects of sleep deprivation include aching muscles; blurred vision; cardiovascular disease; daytime drowsiness and naps; weakened immune system; dizziness; dark circles under the eyes; weakness/fainting; hand tremors; headache; irritability; vomiting/nausea; nystagmus (rapid involuntary rhythmic eye movement); pallor; weight loss or gain. In some studies, sleep deprivation led to decrements in immune function, and extreme, extended deprivation to altered metabolism.
Psychological effects of sleep deprivation include clinical depression; decreased mental activity and concentration; depersonalization and derealisation; slowed reaction time; slurred and/or nonsensical speech; general confusion; hallucinations; hyperactivity; hypertension; impatience; Lucid dreaming (once sleep resumes); memory lapses or loss; psychosis.
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