Sleep Education

American Academy of Sleep Medicine 

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Parasomnias - Risk Factors


Certain parasomnias, such as sleepwalking or bedwetting, frequently occur in childhood. Most children outgrow these problems. If the problems worsen or if they do not resolve with age, talk with a sleep medicine physician.


If sleepwalking, night terrors or certain other parasomnias run in your family, you are more likely to have them.


Some people are more likely to sleepwalk or have other parasomnias when they are under stress. You may sleepwalk while undergoing a stressful situation but stop when the situation ends.

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Nightmare disorder and trauma-related nightmares are frequently associated with PTSD. Nearly 80 percent of patients with PTSD have nightmares within three months of the trauma.


Nightmares are a somewhat common side effect of certain medications. Some medications may cause other parasomnias.

Drug or Alcohol Abuse

Sleepwalking, night terrors and other parasomnias are more likely in people who use or abuse alcohol or drugs. These substances may also worsen the symptoms of some parasomnias.

Other Disorders

Some parasomnias are linked to other disorders. For instance, bedwetting is linked to obstructive sleep apnea and congestive heart failure. REM sleep behavior disorder is often associated with Parkinson’s disease.

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