Dangerous dreaming: Sleep specialist says rem behavior disorder likely underreported
(Medical Xpress)—A troubling sleep disorder that causes sleepers to physically act out their dreams by kicking, screaming or falling out of bed may be more common than reported, according to Loyola University Medical Center sleep specialist Dr. Nabeela Nasir.
The condition is called REM behavior disorder. The sleeper, usually a man, will kick, punch, scream, thrash about or fall out of bed, potentially injuring himself or his partner.
"I don't think we have a clear idea of how prevalent it is," Dr. Nasir said. "Patients don't report it and doctors don't ask about it."
Dr. Nasir would like to raise awareness of the disorder because sufferers often can be treated successfully with medications. And even when medications don't work, patients can prevent injuries to themselves and their partners by safe-proofing their bedrooms, Dr. Nasir said.
REM behavior disorder occurs during rapid-eye movement (REM) sleep, when dreams occur. Normally, a sleeper's muscles don't move during dreams. But this temporary paralysis doesn't occur in patients with REM behavior disorder. They physically act out vivid dreams in which they are, for example, running, fighting, hunting, warding off attackers, etc.
REM behavior disorder belongs to a class of sleeping disorders called parasomnias, which also includes sleep walking and eating while sleeping.
REM behavior disorder occurs most often in men, typically after age 60. Many patients eventually develop Parkinson's disease or other neurodegenerative disorders - but this does not happen to everyone.
Many patients can be successfully treated with a class of medications called benzodiazepines. One such drug is clonazepam, which works by decreasing abnormal electrical activity in the brain. (Side effects may include daytime drowsiness and dependence.) Melatonin, a hormone that helps to regulate the sleep-wake cycle, also is being studied as a treatment.
Dr. Nasir recommends safe-proofing the bedroom. For example: Sleep on a mattress on the floor; clear the room of furniture and objects that could cause injury, such as glass lamps; and sleep alone, if necessary.
Not all dream enactments are caused by REM behavior disorder. In some people, alcohol or antidepressants can trigger dream enactments, Dr. Nasir said. Patients who act out their dreams, or experience other sleep disorders, should see a sleep specialist, Dr. Nasir said.
Provided by Loyola University Health System
- Smoking, head injury, pesticide use may be risk factors for rare sleep disorder Jun 27, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- Study identifies how muscles are paralyzed during sleep Jul 11, 2012 | not rated yet | 0
- U of T research finds glycine could be key to REM Sleep Behavior Disorder Mar 27, 2008 | not rated yet | 0
- REM sleep behavior disorder is a risk factor for Parkinson's disease Jul 29, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Potential cause of severe sleep disorder discovered, implications for Parkinson's disease Jun 15, 2011 | not rated yet | 0
- Motion perception revisited: High Phi effect challenges established motion perception assumptions Apr 23, 2013 | 3 / 5 (2) | 2
- Anything you can do I can do better: Neuromolecular foundations of the superiority illusion (Update) Apr 02, 2013 | 4.5 / 5 (11) | 5
- The visual system as economist: Neural resource allocation in visual adaptation Mar 30, 2013 | 5 / 5 (2) | 9
- Separate lives: Neuronal and organismal lifespans decoupled Mar 27, 2013 | 4.9 / 5 (8) | 0
- Sizing things up: The evolutionary neurobiology of scale invariance Feb 28, 2013 | 4.8 / 5 (10) | 14
Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras
Apr 15, 2011 I'd like to open a discussion thread for version 2 of the draft of my book ''Classical and Quantum Mechanics via Lie algebras'', available online at http://lanl.arxiv.org/abs/0810.1019 , and for the...
- More from Physics Forums - Independent Research
More news stories
Calorie information in fast food restaurants used by 40 percent of 9-18 year olds when making food choices
A new study published online today (Thursday) in the Journal of Public Health has found that of young people who visited fast food or chain restaurants in the U.S. in 2010, girls and youth who were obese were more likely ...
Health 21 minutes ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—Implementation of systematic monitoring for medication adherence will allow for identification of barriers to adherence and tailoring of interventions, according to a viewpoint piece published ...
Health 2 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(AP)—The Obama administration says more doctors and hospitals are embracing technology as adoption of computerized medical records reaches a "tipping point" in America.
Health 3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
Johns Hopkins researchers report that hospitals may be reaping enormous income for patients whose hospital stays are complicated by preventable bloodstream infections contracted in their intensive care units.
Health 3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
A University of Illinois researcher says that the cornerstone of our efforts to alleviate food insecurity should be to encourage more people to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) "because ...
Health 4 hours ago | not rated yet | 0
(HealthDay)—Migraines and depression can each cause a great deal of suffering, but new research indicates the combination of the two may be linked to something else entirely—a smaller brain.
3 hours ago | 5 / 5 (1) | 0 |
Until now, little was scientifically known about the human potential to cultivate compassion—the emotional state of caring for people who are suffering in a way that motivates altruistic behavior.
3 hours ago | not rated yet | 2 |
Swiss scientists reveal the mechanism responsible for aging hidden deep within mitochondria—and dramatically slow it down in worms by administering antibiotics to the young.
6 hours ago | 4.5 / 5 (2) | 0 |
An independent panel of experts on Wednesday recommended US approval of a new Merck sleeping pill called suvorexant, but expressed concerns over the highest dosage and risks of drowsy daytime driving.
1 hour ago | not rated yet | 0
Researchers from Queen Mary, University of London have led the largest sequencing study of human disease to date, investigating the genetic basis of six autoimmune diseases.
6 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |
A new approach for immunizing against influenza elicited a more potent immune response and broader protection than the currently licensed seasonal influenza vaccines when tested in mice and ferrets. The vaccine ...
3 hours ago | not rated yet | 0 |