Sleep Disorders and Parasomnias
Irregular Heart Rhythms
A cardiac arrhythmia -- the medical term for an irregular heart rhythm -- is a change from the normal rate or control of the heart's contractions. People who have coronary artery disease and whose blood oxygen is lowered by sleep-disordered breathing may be at risk for arrhythmias, which take place during REM sleep. Continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) treatment may reduce this risk.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD)
People with rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder act out dramatic and/or violent dreams during REM sleep. REM sleep usually involves a state of sleep paralysis (atonia), but people with this condition move the body or limbs while dreaming. Usually, RBD occurs in men aged 50 and older, but the disorder also can occur in women and in younger people. It differs from sleepwalking and sleep terrors, in that the sleeper can be easily awakened and can recall vivid details of the dream. In the diagnosis and treatment of RBD, potentially serious neurological disorders must be ruled out. Polysomnography (sleep tests) and drug treatments also can be involved in the diagnosis and treatment of this disorder.
Sleep Bruxism (Teeth Grinding)
Sleep bruxism -- or teeth grinding -- involves the involuntary, unconscious, excessive grinding or clenching of teeth during sleep. It may occur along with other sleep disorders. Sleep bruxism may lead to problems, including abnormal wear of the teeth and jaw muscle discomfort. The severity of bruxism can range from mild to severe enough to cause dental injury. In some cases, grinding can be prevented with the use of a mouth guard. The mouth guard, supplied by a dentist, can fit over the teeth to prevent them from grinding against each other.
Sleep Enuresis (Bedwetting)
In this condition, the affected person is unable to maintain urinary control when asleep. There are two kinds of enuresis -- primary and secondary. In primary enuresis, a person has been unable to have urinary control from infancy onward. Primary bedwetting appears to run in families. Children are more likely to have it if their parents or siblings had it as children. In secondary enuresis, a person has a relapse after previously having been able to have urinary control. Enuresis can be caused by medical conditions (for example, diabetes, urinary tract infections, and sleep apnea) or by psychiatric disorders. Some treatments for bedwetting include behavior modification, alarm devices, and medications.
Nocturnal Paroxysmal Dystonia (NPD)
This disorder is sometimes marked by seizure-like episodes during non-REM sleep. Most evidence points to NPD being a form of epilepsy. Episodes of NPD typically recur several times per night.