Duhaime's Law Dictionary

Parasomnia Definition:

Sudden unexplained arousal from sleep, sometimes combined with sleep-walking or hand gestures or other bizarre activities.

Related Terms: Automatism, Narcolepsy

In R v Luedecke, Justice David Doherty of the Court of Appeal for Ontario adopted these words from medical expert evidence:

"Parasomnia involves a sudden unexplained arousal from sleep. Persons may carry out various physical activities while in a parasomniac state. Usually those activities are not complex, and may include hand gestures, talking, or walking. More rarely, an individual in a parasomniac state engages in complex physical activity that can include eating, sexual acts, or driving a vehicle. Physical activities performed by a person in a parasomniac state are often bizarre but can appear purposive. Parasomniacs are seldom violent."


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