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Parasomnia is a term used to describe abnormal behaviors that occur during sleep, including sleepwalking, sleep talking, sleep eating, and sleep sex. These behaviors can be harmless, but they can also be disruptive to sleep and cause safety concerns. Parasomnia can be caused by a variety of factors, including sleep deprivation, alcohol consumption, and certain medications. Treatment options may include lifestyle changes, medication, and behavioral therapy.


Parasomnias are a group of sleep disorders that involve abnormal behaviors or experiences during sleep. These behaviors can occur during any stage of sleep and can range from mild to severe. Parasomnias can be categorized into two groups: those that occur during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, and those that occur during non-REM sleep.

Non-REM Parasomnias

Non-REM parasomnias occur during the non-REM stage of sleep and can include sleepwalking, sleep talking, and confusional arousals. Sleepwalking, also known as somnambulism, is a behavior in which an individual walks or performs other complex behaviors while still asleep. Sleep talking is a behavior in which an individual talks while asleep. Confusional arousals are behaviors in which an individual is in a state of confusion upon waking up, and may not be fully aware of their surroundings.

REM Parasomnias

REM parasomnias occur during the REM stage of sleep and can include nightmares and REM behavior disorder (RBD). Nightmares are vivid, frightening dreams that can cause an individual to wake up feeling anxious or scared. RBD is a behavior in which an individual physically acts out their dreams during REM sleep, and can involve actions such as punching, kicking, or shouting.


Treatment for parasomnias depends on the specific type and severity of the disorder. In some cases, no treatment may be necessary. For more severe cases, treatment may involve medication, therapy, or changes to sleep habits. For example, treating RBD may involve medications that suppress muscle activity during sleep, while treating sleepwalking may involve creating a safer sleep environment and addressing any underlying causes of the behavior.

Frequently asked questions

  1. What are parasomnias? Nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking, sleep talking, head banging, wetting the bed and grinding your teeth are kinds of sleep problems called parasomnias.
  2. How common is sleep talking? It is very common especially in children where up t0 50% of children are reported to have talked in their sleep. In adults, about 5% of both men and women are reported to talk in their sleep.
  3. Why people talk in their sleep? We do not know why people talk in their sleep.
  4. How do you stop sleep talking? There are some treatments available to suppress sleep talking. A sleep doctor can prescribe medications that can suppress parasomnias such as sleep talking. Often, a medication such as Clonazepam is prescribed that can help treat parasomnias such as sleep talking.
  5. What stage of sleep do people talk in their sleep? Sleep talking can occur both in REM(Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep and Non-REM sleep.
  6. Does sleep talking mean a person is dreaming? It is not fully clear if the sleep talking is closely related to dreaming although it is believed that it is closely linked to what is happening in their dreams.
  7. Is talking in your sleep a sign of dementia? No. Sleep talking and dementia are unrelated.
  8. Is sleep talking dangerous? Usually not. However, if sleep talking is associated with sleep walking, it can be physically harmful if a person falls or does things that can physically harm self or others.
  9. What are symptoms of sleep talking? Other than the person engaging in often loud and disturbing sleep talking, there are no other symptoms. The person sleep talking is usually not aware of their behavior.
  10. Can someone be sleep talking with eyes open? Not usually unless a person sleeps with their eyes open.
  11. Can melatonin cause sleep talking? Rarely, sleeping aids such as Melatonin, Zolpidem etc are associated with sleep talking.
  12. Is there something like conscious sleep talking? Not unless a person is malingering.
  13. What is the treatment for sleep talking? A sleep physician can evaluate and treat sleep talking with medications and other behavior interventions. It is also important to rule out other sleep disorders as sleep talking maybe associated with other sleep disorders such as REM behavior disorder, other parasomnias such as sleep walking, or sleep disordered breathing such as sleep apnea.
  14. Is there spiritual meaning for sleep talking? No, from a scientific perspective although we cannot rule out.
  15. Can one be sleep talking true feelings? No.
  16. Can sleep talking reveal secrets? Usually not. Since sleeping person is not aware of what he or she is saying, and often it makes no sense at all, it is very risky to draw conclusions from it.
  17. What are some things you can do yourself for sleep talking? Getting enough sleep of about 7 hours or so, good sleeping habits and staying away from recreation drug use can help. W8MD's sleep medicine program uses state of the art technology including the convenient home sleep studies or in lab sleep diagnostic studies to diagnose and treat over 80 different sleep disorders

including sleep apnea, narcolepsy, restless leg syndrome, insomnia to name a few.

W8MD Weight Loss, Sleep and MedSpa

At W8MD Weight Loss, Sleep and MedSpa, we understand the importance of treating sleep disorders such as parasomnias. Our Sleep Medicine Program uses state-of-the-art technology, including convenient home sleep studies or in-lab sleep diagnostic studies, to diagnose and treat over 80 different sleep disorders, including parasomnias. Our team of board-certified sleep medicine physicians, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants work with each patient to develop an individualized treatment plan that addresses their unique sleep needs.

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