Parasomnias From a Woman’s Health Perspective

  • Carlos H.
  • Mark W.
Part of the Current Clinical Neurology book series (CCNEU)


Parasomnias are defined as undesirable physical events or experiences that occur during entry into sleep, within sleep, or during arousals from sleep (1). Parasomnias encompass abnormal movements, behaviors, emotions, perceptions, dreaming, and autonomic nervous system functioning that can emerge in relation to any sleep stage at any time of the night. Parasomnias can affect people of any age-infants, newborns, and even fetuses (as described in the documentary Sleep Runners: The Stories Behind Everyday Parasomnias [2]). It is believed that the kicking of a fetus in utero is a manifestation of “spontaneous motility patterns,” that is, the most primitive form of motor activation-without concurrent inhibition-during primordial sleep (3). This developmentally normal motor activity, when exaggerated in intensity and duration, could alter or disrupt the sleep of the “bed partner” (the mother), causing an insomnia in the mother induced by parasomnia behavior in her fetus (1).


Obstructive Sleep Apnea Eating Disorder Nocturnal Eating Sleep Terror Dissociative Disorder 
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Copyright information

© Humana Press Inc., Totowa, NJ 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carlos H.
    • 1
  • Mark W.
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry, Hennepin County Medical CenterUniversity of Minnesota Medical SchoolMinneapolis

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