National Sleep Foundation

Chapter 6: Parasomnias

Assessment and Diagnosis of NREM Sleep Arousal Disorders

Parasomnias all require a similar clinical assessment involving a diagnosis by detailed patient history and interview. To rule out the presence of other sleep disorders, however, an extended polysomnography (PSG) may be necessary. Extended PSG includes additional EEG channels to assess nocturnal epilepsy and additional EMG channels to assess REM Behavior Disorder (discussed below). The evaluation is often videotaped for better documentation and assessment1.

Sleep-Related Eating Disorder (SRED) should be distinguished from night eating syndrome (NES), in which the individual feels hungry (even if having just eaten) and is unable to go to sleep without eating again. In NES, which can occur before going to sleep or during nighttime awakenings, the individual is completely awake. For this reason, NES is not considered to be a parasomnia.


  1. Silber MH, Krahn LE, Morgenthaler TI, “The parasomnias,” In: Silber MH, Krahn LE, Morgenthaler TI (eds.), Sleep Medicine in Clinical Practice, London: Taylor and Francis; 2004:321-345.