Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Please Stop Hitting Me While You Sleep

You are abruptly awakened from a sound sleep. You are being thrashed by your partner (yet again). you try to stop them, but as they are in another state of conicousness, it is hard to bring them to awareness of their actions. Then they turnover and seem to go back to sleep. In the morning, you confront his or her (yet again) and they denie it. They have no memory of doing such as thing. And he or she is probably telling the truth. He or she may have a form of parasomnia.

Here is another study for your box of hypnosis-does-good. The Mayo Clinic College of Medicine’s Sleep Disorders Center has done a long-term study on hypnosis and parasomnia. What is parasomnia? This is the distinction and category that sleep disorders such as talking, walking and eating while you sleep, as well as night terrors, restless leg syndrome, and teeth grinding fit nicely into. Also, some people have sex or drive while asleep. We have all seen a few of the later, I expect. However, this is serious stuff, as it causes inappropriate psychical responses during slow-wave sleep or non-REM modes, which means the person with this disorder may hurt themselves or someone else without knowing it or doing it intentionally. These are often triggered by stress or depression.

The five-year study was done to see if hypnotherapy would be useful in treating people with parasomnia. It followed 36 people for this duration to see what the effects of hypnosis would have upon the disorder. The ages of the study participants varied between age sex and 71 years (four were between the ages of six and 16). Each was given one to two sessions of hypnosis with follow-ups at one month, 18 months, and five years. At the one month mark, 45.4% had stopped experiencing parasomnias. At 18 months, 42.2% remained without symptoms, and at five years 40.5% were still free of symptoms.

Did the hypnosis relieve these people of the symptoms or did it work because hypnosis is a great stress reducer or perhaps the depression was released during the process? That is undecided, but in my book, it beats medication.

A potential finding of other studies on parasomnias show a link between it and Parkinson Disease. It is possible that the parasomnia is a potential warning sign of it.

Insight Journal
When the Brain Disrupts the Night (from the New York Times)

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