Pathophysiology, Associations, and Consequences of Parasomnias

W. P. Wu, S. Anees, M. J. Thorpy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Parasomnias are undesirable physical events or experiences that occur during the wake-sleep transition, within sleep, or during arousals from sleep. While no clear neuropathologic cause has been found, aberrant activity of the brain's locomotor centers, sleep state instability, and variations in sleep inertia are among the pathophysiological causes underlying parasomnias. Certain parasomnias are associated with underlying neurological or psychiatric conditions. Secondary causes such as medications with central nervous system effects have been implicated in playing a role in precipitating or causing parasomnias. Underlying primary sleep disturbances that predispose to nocturnal arousals have also been shown to be associated with parasomnias. Consequences not only include disrupted sleep and excessive daytime sleepiness, but extend to involve disturbance of bed partners, as well as potential injury and harm to oneself as well as others.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEncyclopedia of Sleep
PublisherElsevier Inc.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9780123786111
ISBN (Print)9780123786104
StatePublished - Jan 1 2013


  • Alpha synucleinopathy
  • Associations
  • Confusional arousals
  • Consequences
  • Disorders of arousal
  • NREM parasomnias
  • Night terrors
  • Nightmares
  • Parasomnias
  • Pathophysiology
  • REM sleep behavior disorder
  • Rapid eye movement sleep behavior disorder (RBD)
  • Sleep paralysis
  • Sleepwalking

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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