Parasomnia is used to refer to a wide range of disruptive sleep-related events. These behaviors and experiences generally occur during sleep, and in most cases are infrequent and mild.
The most common of the parasomnias are "disorders of arousal," which include confusional arousals, sleepwalking and sleep terrors. These disorders all occur when a person is in a mixed state, both asleep and awake, and often emerge from the deepest stage of non-dreaming sleep:
Confusional arousals – Are most common in infants and toddlers, but are also seen in adults. Episodes begins with crying or thrashing around in bed. The sleeper appears to be awake, and seems to be confused and upset, but resists attempts to comfort or console.
Sleepwalking – Is most common in older children. Can range from simply getting out of bed and walking around the room, to complex actions such as going to another part of the house or even outdoors.
Sleep terrors – Are the most extreme and dramatic of the arousal disorders. It often begins with a "blood curdling" scream or shout, and can produce signs that suggest extreme terror, such as dilated pupils, rapid breathing, racing heart rate, sweating and extreme agitation.
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