Parasomnias Make You Go Bump in the Night

Reviewed by Deborah Hong

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This information has been reviewed and approved by Deborah Hong, MD (February 2018).


Parasomnias Make You Go Bump in the Night

Abnormal movements, behaviors, emotions or perceptions while sleeping or waking up are symptoms of parasomnias. See who’s at risk and the common symptoms.

1 in 10 Americans have a parasomnias, which can run in families.


Common Parasomnias in Children

A strong genetic and family link.

Sleep Talking

  • 50% of children
  • Utters words & sentences, unclear mumbling

Sleep Terrors

  • Ages 4 & 12  
  • Loud screams, panic, heavy breathing & sweating  


  • Ages 8 & 12
  • Appears awake, gets up, moves around, doesn’t remember events after waking 


Common Parasomnias in Adults

Confusional Arousals

  • Runs in families, night workers, worriers, high stress people
  • Wakes up confused & disoriented

Sleep Groaning

  • Runs in families, small jawed people, common after orthodontic procedures
  • Groans or high-pitched squeaks during exhalation in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder *

  • Common in men 50+, the elderly, people with Parkinson’s disease & multiple system atrophy
  • Kicking, hitting, complex movements & running while dreaming

Sleep-Related Eating Disorder *

  • Common in women under 30 & people taking depression and sleep medications
  • Sleepwalking, preparing or eating foods at night without remembering the event

Bring these symptoms to the attention of your sleep partner, and ask your doctor to determine if treatment is necessary.

 * Consult a Sleep Medicine specialist if experiencing these symptoms.

More Information on Sleep


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