Narcolepsy, Sleep Walking, Sleep Talking, REM Sleep Disorders & Parasomnias
The superbly trained professional staff at Winthrop is proficient in evaluating and diagnosing the full spectrum of common and unusual sleep conditions, as well as in designing personalized treatment programs to manage other sleep problems. Some of the other sleep problems that people may experience include:
- Narcolepsy – Narcolepsy, one of the most difficult sleep diagnoses and one of the rarest sleep disorders, is characterized by irresistible daytime sleepiness. Patients sometimes experience abrupt “sleep attacks”. Untreated, they are compelled to nap frequently, and get limited refreshment from such naps. If unaware of the diagnosis, patients can be at serious risk when driving, caring for a child alone, operating heavy machinery or performing work requiring attention, concentration, decision-making and alertness.
- Sleep Walking – Any movement out of bed during sleep is abnormal. Sometimes this is part of normal development in childhood, but it can cause serious injury to both children and adults. Sleep walking is one of the parasomnias, which need careful multimodal therapeutic approaches. With sleep walkers it is crucial to keep the environment safe, including the elimination of weapons from the bedroom. Securing doors, windows and balconies is also very important, as is keeping car keys in a safe place that is difficult for a sleep-walking person to find.
- Sleep Talking – A very commonly experienced symptom, most children talk in their sleep. When adults talk during sleep or make other noises such as moaning and groaning, evaluation is warranted because these sounds can be signs of sleep problems in adults.
- REM Sleep Behavior Disorder – Often described to patients as “dream sleep-related behavior disorder”, REM behavior disorder is rare. Patients awaken finding they are engaging in activity that matches a dream they remember having. Patients with this condition frequently injure themselves or their bed partner seriously. Occasionally, the behavior can seem aggressive, and the partner wakes up trying to fight the patient off. Patients and their partners are sometimes embarrassed by these behaviors, but careful evaluations and counseling, as well as behavioral and pharmacological therapy can help.
- Parasomnias – Parasomnia refers to disorders that occur during the transition between wakefulness and sleep or between stages of sleep. More commonly found among sleep problems in children, parasomnias are also sometimes seen in adults. Common parasomnias include sleep walking and sleep talking, night terrors, and sometimes even very complex behaviors like sleep related eating and sleep related driving.