Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Arousal (NREM Disorder in Adults


ICD-10 Codes:

Sleepwalking type: F51.3

Sleep terror type: F51.4

Non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep arousal disorders are part of a cluster of diagnoses called the sleep-wake disorders.  Sleep-wake disorders are a group of psychiatric conditions that include:

  • Insomnia Disorder
  • Hypersomnolence Disorder
  • Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Arousal Disorders
  • Nightmare Disorder

These disorders are broadly characterized by disruptions in sleep and wakefulness.  Individuals with insomnia disorder have frequent difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep.  Individuals with hypersomnolence disorder feel excessively sleepy during the day, despite obtaining what for most people would be a full night of sleep.  Individuals with parasomnias such as non-rapid eye movement sleep arousal disorders and nightmare disorder experience unusual behaviors while sleeping, such as sleep walking, or vivid and disturbing dreams or night terrors.  

Some sleep-wake disorders, including insomnia disorder and hypersomnolence disorder, are associated with disturbances in the amount of time the individual spends asleep (too much or too little) or the times at which the individual sleeps (often outside of the desired sleeping window).  Other disorders, such as the parasomnias, are not associated with disturbances in the quantity or timing of sleep per se, but are instead associated with behavioral disturbances during sleep or frequent highly distressing dreams.

What is Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Arousal Disorder?

NREM sleep arousal disorders, also called parasomnias, affect approximately 2 - 4% of adults.

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Understanding Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Arousal Disorder

NREM sleep arousal disorders can range in severity from mild to severe.  In severe cases, NREM sleep arousal disorders can adversely impact relationships with significant others and lead to medicolegal consequences, particularly if the individual engages in behaviors that may put others at risk (e.g., sleep-related violent or sexual behavior; driving while asleep).

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How is Non-Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Arousal Disorder Treated?

Few controlled trials have investigated treatments for NREM sleep arousal disorders and no published guidelines are available.

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