Do you know about parasomnias?

Are you having nightmares? Experiencing insomnia? Do you have the sensation that you’re falling through the air when you fall asleep? Or do you grind your teeth at night? All these symptoms belong to the same category of disorders, which are called parasomnias, or sleep disorders.

All categories combined, parasomnias affect about 4% of adults and 17% of children.1 There are several parasomnias with varying levels of severity, but they have one thing in common: most people asleep are unaware of their actions. Sleepwalking is a well-known example of an unconscious parasomnia. Parasomnias occur during sleep, but more commonly when a person begins to fall asleep or wake up. They usually last about 30 minutes.

Here is a list of the most common parasomnias:

  • Insomnia: It is estimated that one in 10 Canadians suffers from insomnia, which is not trivial!2
  • Night terrors and nightmares: The sleeper starts screaming and becomes agitated under the effect of fear (a disorder more common in children, most likely).
  • Snoring: Did you know that this disorder affects men more than women, but not exclusively?
  • Sleep apnoea: These respiratory stops during sleep can unfortunately lead to serious health problems.
  • Somniloquy: Many adults suffer from this disorder, which is prevalent in childhood. It makes you talk or scream while sleeping. It’s not enjoyable for your bedmate, however…
  • Sensory hallucinations (or hypnagogic): These occur when the body falls asleep before the brain. The sensation of falling through the air when going to sleep belongs to this category!
  • Bruxism: This is the grinding of the teeth at night, which can lead to tooth wear and jaw pain.

Did you know that most parasomnias occur during the Rapid Eye Movement (REM) phase of your sleep, when your brain is active and our body relaxed? During a normal night’s sleep of 8 hours, you go into the REM phase 4 to 5 times, or up to 25% of your time asleep.

Causes and risk factors

Parasomnias have different causes and risk factors ranging from mild to more serious. They are often due to:

  • Anxiety or overwork
  • Sleep deprivation or jet lag
  • Taking medication or drugs
  • A disease
  • Genetics

Some parasomnias are even considered a warning sign of certain degenerative diseases, such as Parkinson’s disease.

When should you see a doctor?

Without worrying too much, it is better to consult a doctor when a parasomnia manifests itself too regularly, especially in adults. You can seek the opinion of a doctor or a psychologist. You can also contact a dentist who is familiar with these disorders, since snoring, apnoea and bruxism often have a cause or a dental impact. A sleep professional can make a diagnosis, assess your oral health and advise you, for example, about the use of a custom-made oral appliance to reduce the disorder and its side effects.

When parasomnia speaks to you, you should listen—and take action!

1 Physiopathologie du somnambulisme, Université de Montréal [Online] (page viewed November 5, 2020).

2 Prevalence of insomnia for Canadians aged 6 to 79, Statistics Canada [Online] (page viewed November 5, 2020).


Hello, meditation. Goodbye, pain!

Regular meditation does not only improve your mental health but also boosts your mood. Some studies1 suggest that it helps reduce anxiety, addiction, chronic pain, and blood pressure—all while improving memory, awareness and harmony in interpersonal relationships. Eight weeks of practice is more than enough to reduces stress and anxiety, or help you concentrate. Regularly meditating can even help to partially block1 the sensation of pain, which is very common during a toothache.

1Mindfulness meditation-related pain relief: Evidence for unique brain mechanisms in the regulation of pain,” Neuroscience Letters, Volume 520, Number 2, June 29, 2012, F. Zeidan, J.A. Grant, C.A. Brown, J.G. McHaffie, R.C. Coghill.


Migraines, the silent enemy

Do you suffer from migraines that are affecting your quality of life? Did you know that these can be caused by a simple sleep disorder? In addition to severe headaches, there are tell-tale symptoms related to lack of sleep:

  • Painful jaws when you wake up
  • Difficulty opening your mouth when you wake up
  • Sensitive or worn teeth
  • Stiffness of the next
  • Muscle tension in the head region

The experts at Clinique Sommeil Santé and Dr. Lechner offer several proven and effective solutions. The NTI-tss system has provided relief to more than one and a half million patients around the world. This system requires no medication and has no side effects. It enables you to wear a patented appliance that keeps your teeth from clenching and protects them. This treatment works directly on the intense muscle contraction that occurs at night without your knowledge—and attacks the source of your pain. It provides relieve after only a few days of use and the symptoms, including migraines, gradually diminish in severity or fade away altogether. Why suffer when you can consult one of our experts and say goodbye to migraines?


Easy tips to mitigate snoring

Do you snore so much that your family grinds their teeth in frustration? Snoring can be caused by sleep apnea, which may require medical and dental care. Here are a few tips to help you reduce snoring.

  1. Clear your nasal cavities before going to sleep: a warm shower, a nasal solution, and nasal strips sold in pharmacies are all 100% natural means you can choose from.
  2. Sleep on the appropriate pillow, whether it is a special pillow for snorers, a support pillow for your back or a corner pillow that prevents rolling on your back while you sleep.
  3. Also consider losing weight. Excess fat around the neck and abdomen constricts the airways and can induce or worsen snoring.
  4. Avoid alcohol and cigarettes before going to sleep. They can irritate the throat and relax the muscles, preventing circulation of air in the respiratory tract.

If, despite taking all these measures, you keep snoring, consider visiting our Clinic for a dental health check-up.


Protect your teeth against wear!

Whether you clench your teeth or you grind them, the result is the same: it wears the tooth enamel. Bruxism can appear at any age. As there is no curative treatment, the prevention of lesions to the bucco-facial structures is the main therapeutic objective.

This motor activity is mostly unconscious, so pay attention to the following events:

  • Dental abfractions (loss of hard tissue of the tooth including enamel and dentin);
  • Dental fractures;
  • Articular noises;
  • Noises disturbing the household;
  • Possible headaches and muscle aches in the jaw.

Talk to your dentist about it. They can take a look and recommend the best course of action!