Parasomnia definitions

Parasomnias are disorders characterized by disruptive events that occur while entering into sleep, while sleeping, or during arousal from sleep, when the central nervous system activates the skeletal, muscular and/or nervous systems in an undesirable manner.

The International Classification of Sleep Disorders categorizes parasomnias into the following three areas:

  1. Disorders of arousal, including:
    • Confusional arousals
    • Sleepwalking
    • Sleep terrors
  2. Parasomnias usually associated with REM sleep, including:
    • REM sleep behavior disorder (including parasomnia overlap disorder and status
    • Recurrent isolated sleep paralysis
    • Nightmare disorder
  3. Other parasomnias, which include:
    • Sleep-related dissociative disorders
    • Sleep enuresis
    • Sleep-related groaning (catathrenia)
    • Exploding head syndrome
    • Sleep-related hallucinations
    • Sleep-related eating disorders
    • Parasomnia, unspecified
    • Parasomnia due to drug or substance
    • Parasomnia due to medical condition

The study and characterization of parasomnias is a relatively new undertaking within the field of sleep medicine. The first of these conditions, REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, was discovered by members of our group in the 1980’s and culminated in a landmark medical paper that was published in 1986.

Pioneering the field of sleep forensics is but a continuation of our on-going commitment to the clinical and scientific advancement of sleep medicine.