Parasomnias Specialist

Sonoran Sleep Center

Sleep Medicine & Sleep Labs located in Glendale, AZ

If you regularly wake up due to nightmares or uncomfortable physical sensations, you might have a parasomnia. Though irritating, it’s possible to reduce symptoms and improve your quality of sleep with diagnosis and treatment. At Sonoran Sleep Center, board-certified sleep medicine doctor Sarah Patel, MD, regularly works with people ages four and older to treat parasomnias. To make an appointment in Glendale, Arizona, call the office or book online today.

Parasomnias Q&A

What are parasomnias?

A parasomnia is a sleep disorder characterized by undesirable and/or unusual physical events and experiences that affect sleep quality. Parasomnias affect everyone differently and can occur before sleep, during sleep, or while waking up.

There are two types of parasomnias: parasomnias that occur during rapid-eye-movement (REM) sleep and parasomnias that occur during non-rapid-eye-movement sleep (Non-REM).

What parasomnias occur during non-REM sleep?

At Sonoran Sleep Center, Dr. Patel treats various parasomnias that occur during non-REM sleep, including:

  • Sleep terrors (extremely realistic nightmares)
  • Sleepwalking
  • Confusional arousal (a sleep disorder that causes you to wake up partially)
  • Sleep-related eating disorder (eating or drinking while you’re half asleep)

Parasomnias that occur during non-REM sleep typically affect people between the ages of 5-25.

What parasomnias occur during REM sleep?

At Sonoran Sleep Center, Dr. Patel treats various parasomnias that occur during REM sleep, including:

  • Nightmare disorder (vivid dreams that cause fear or anxiety)
  • Recurrent isolated sleep paralysis (the inability to move during sleep)
  • REM sleep behavior disorder (swearing, laughing, or shouting during sleep)
  • Sleep-related groaning
  • Sleep-related hallucinations

Anyone can experience parasomnias during REM sleep, but they’re especially common in men aged 50 and older.

How are parasomnias diagnosed?

To diagnose a parasomnia, Dr. Patel asks about your symptoms and lifestyle, including when they first started and if you drink alcohol or take any prescription medication. Next, she orders blood work and asks you to keep a sleep journal for several weeks.

If these steps don’t provide insight into your condition, Dr. Patel might recommend an overnight sleep study. Sonoran Sleep Center has several overnight sleep suites on-site, designed to look more like hotel rooms than medical offices.

During a sleep study, Dr. Patel monitors your heart rhythm and respiratory rate as well as your eye movements, muscle movements, and brain activity. She uses this information to make a diagnosis and develop a treatment plan.

How are parasomnias treated?

At Sonoran Sleep Center, Dr. Patel usually treats parasomnias with healthy lifestyle changes. Depending on your symptoms, she might recommend:

  • Maintaining a regular sleep-wake schedule
  • Practicing good sleep hygiene 
  • Limiting the use of alcohol and other recreational drugs
  • Exercising regularly

If your symptoms don’t improve or worsen, Dr. Patel might recommend prescription medication.

To learn more about parasomnias, make an appointment at Sonoran Sleep Center. Call the office or book online today.