A new study reveals sexsomnia to be common among sleep centre patients. It was reported that sexsomnia was nearly three times higher in men at 11 percent than in women at four percent but very few patients were free to talk about their problem with their doctor. The study indicates that 7.6 percent of patients specifically 63 of 832 patients initiated or engaged in a sexual activity with a bed partner while they were asleep.
This study included a contemplative chart review of 832 patients who had sleep disorders. The sample included 428 men and 404 women who filled a questionnaire regarding sleep disorder symptoms, behavior during sleep, sleepiness and mood.
“There have been no previous studies of how frequently sexsomnia occurs,” said co-investigator Sharon A. Chung, PhD, Sleep Research Laboratory staff scientist in the department of psychiatry at the University Health Network in Toronto, Canada. “While our finding of eight percent of people reporting sexsomnia seems really a high number, it should be stressed that we only studied patients referred to a sleep clinic. So, we would expect the numbers to be much lower in the general population.”
Experts observed that the symptoms of insomnia, fatigue and depressed mood were common among sexsomnia patients and other patients at the sleep disorders center. The patients had equal caffeine consumption and similar rates of smoking. Patients reporting sexsomnia also used illicit drugs twice the amount as compared to other patients.
Patients rarely discussed the problem of sexsomnia with their doctors even though it is common say experts. Chung observed that among 832 patients only 4 patients discussed their problem with a sleep specialist. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders, Second Edition, published by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine in 2005.reports that sexsomnia may occur during confusional arousals and during sleepwalking.
Patients with confusional arousals and sleepwalking are categorized as ‘parasomnias’ and they involve unwanted behaviors that occur while falling asleep, during sleep or while waking up. A literature review in the June 2007 issue of Sleep concluded that an array of sleep related disorders are linked with abnormal sexual behaviors and experiences.
This study was presented on Monday, June 7, 2010, in San Antonio, Texas, at Sleep 2010, the 24th annual meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies LLC.