The time we spend asleep should all be restful. For the sake of those with whom we share our beds, we should lie still and make as little noise as possible. For our own sakes, we should be able to wake feeling refreshed. Unfortunately, the allocated time for sleeping can be filled with movement, noise and disturbed sleep. The main classification of sleep disorders involving movement and behavior is called parasomnia. It comes into play as partial awakening as you slip into and out of REM sleep, or just as you are falling asleep or slowly waking up. As to movement, some sleepers regularly move their arms and legs around. In most cases, this will be determined, but relatively gentle. In a few cases, the movements can be quite violent. Then there is sleepwalking. This affects children as they approach their teens and about 5% of adults at various times during their life. In most cases, people simply move around the home and then return to bed. But a few go through household routines involving eating or, in rare cases, driving. Obviously, at such times, the sleepers may be a danger to themselves in picking entirely unsuitable things to eat, or in attempting to control a vehicle while semiconscious.
One of the more interesting of the parasomnias is the so-called sleep or night terrors. Everyone dreams. This is marked by rapid eye movement (REM). In most cases, we have no memory of the dreams. It’s only if the dreams come while we are beginning to approach consciousness that we can understand and remember the content of the dream. Most of the time, we have sweet dreams with only the occasional nightmare. However, in a small number of people (estimated to affect about 2% of the adult population at some point during their lives), dreams turn into physical panic. This is not the usual REM dream. This is a moment of complete panic as the dreamer attempts to wake. He or she may move convulsively, shout in fear, and perhaps sit up. Then, he or she will turn over and return to full sleep. There’s usually no memory of this when waking naturally in the morning.
This disorder most often affects people who have recently been through a traumatic experience and they will have terror attacks most nights unless they go through therapy to come to terms with the psychological causes of the repeated fear. In such people, the use of sleeping pills like ambien is not recommended. Sleeping pills are a highly effective way of ensuring people get to sleep or stay asleep during the night. But they are not a form of psychotherapy. If someone is suffering from an anxiety or stress disorder, taking ambien may actually make the problems worse. There are an increasing number of instances where people on sleeping pills are sleepwalking. These pills do not ensure that people remain inactive during their sleep. For night terrors, the only drugs likely to be effective are for the control of anxiety disorders or antidepressants. This article should reinforce the idea that you should always get a doctor to diagnose your condition and advise on the most appropriate treatment. You should not self-medicate with ambien just because you have a sleep disorder.