Parasomnias: causes and symptoms of disorders in children

Parasomnias: causes and symptoms of disorders in children.


It is normal for parents to worry if their children are not getting good rest. Among the various reasons that cause children to have trouble sleeping are parasomnias. These are sleep disorders with an episodic cadence and abnormal behaviors. This happens in particular stages of sleep or when we go from sleep to wakefulness. These problems resolve themselves as they grow older, so parents need not worry. Here are the various types of parasomnias that exist:

  • NREM sleep parasomnias: confusional awakenings, sleepwalking, night terrors
  • REM sleep parasomnias: nightmares, sleep paralysis
  • other types of parasomnias: nocturnal enuresis, groaning (catathrenia), hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations

In many cases, the causes of parasomnias in children are genetic . In other cases it can happen when something has stressed the children during the day. Parasomnias occur more in children, but are also present in adults. The most common ones occur during the deepest stages of sleep, or non-REM:

  • night terror: after an hour or two of sleep the child seems awake, but is not. While he sleeps he sits on the bed and starts crying, screaming, sweating and shaking in fear. It occurs mainly in males and from 12 months, but even more often after 18
  • sleepwalking: without being frightened, the child gets out of bed and walks with his eyes open
  • somniloquy: talking in your sleep
  • confusional awakenings: they can occur both at night and in the morning and following an afternoon nap. The child wakes up disoriented

However, when parasomnias do occur, it is always best to talk to your pediatrician or specialist. If parasomnias are very frequent, then it is absolutely mandatory to consult a doctor. Especially if there is recurrent sleep paralysis, prolonged enuresis after 6 years of age or other particular disorders.



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