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Partial or Full Awakening, Sleep Disturbance
Parasomnias: Disorders That Disrupt Sleep
A parasomnia is a disruptive physical act that occurs during slumber. People who suffer from walking or talking while asleep (somnambulism and somniloquy), or thrash around while dreaming have parasomnias. These physical acts may cause partial awakening, full awakening, or disturbances of sleep-stage transition.

While you or someone you know may experience one or more of these disorders, they are considered rare. The most common are talking while asleep, night terrors, starts (body jerks), and disorientation or confusion upon wakening. In many cases parasomnia activity is inherited.

Parasomnia and Childhood Sleep Disorders

Many childhood sleep disorders are actually types of parasomnia. Somnambulism, night terrors, bedwetting, talking while asleep, and body rocking are much more common in children than they are in adults. Most children outgrow these problems before adolescence. Parents may note an increase in frequency or intensity when their child is ill, under stress, or taking certain medications.

Childhood sleep disorders may go hand-in-hand with other conditions. In some cases a child with a rhythmic movement disorder, such as body rocking or head banging while falling asleep or moving from one stage to another, may also suffer from headaches, ear infections or sinus problems. Neurological disorders and apnea are associated with night terrors.

Arousal: Those that wake the sleeper; night terrors and sleepwalking.
Night Terrors
Sleep-Wake Transition: Those that cause partial arousal; sleep talking.
REM Sleep: Those that occur during REM; RBD and sleep paralysis.
Sleep Paralysis
Other Parasomnias: Bedwetting, teeth grinding and SIDS
Teeth Grinding

Sleep-onset delay is common among children; they cannot fall asleep until long after an appropriate bedtime. Bedtime resistance, a fancy way of saying the child doesn't want to go to bed, is also common. Children with these types of disorders often require less rest than other children their age.

What's an Arousal Mechanism?

The arousal mechanism, in terms of slumber, has nothing to do with sexual arousal. Rather, it refers to the ability to wake up. Partial arousal is simply a state of partial wakefulness.

Sleep Deprivation and Parasomnia Activity

Fortunately, most children grow out of bedwetting and other parasomnias. And equally fortunately, most kids who suffer from parasomnias don't experience sleep deprivation as a result. The same cannot be said of parents who must deal with their child's night terrors, bedwetting, nocturnal wandering, or talking while asleep. If you're feeling exhausted check out the site on

Types of Parasomnia

Sleep starts
Confusional arousal
Night terrors
Teeth grinding
Nocturnal eating disorder
Rhythmic movement disorder
REM behavior disorder
Hypnagogic hallucination and  

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Last modified 01 February 2007
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