REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD)

Last week we talked briefly about a condition known as REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD). This is a disorder characterized by a person physically acting out the dreams that they are having, with potentially dangerous results. Often when someone begins to show symptoms of this disorder they simply write it off as sleepwalking but there is a distinct difference to be made between the two.

When does RBD occur?

REM sleep behavior disorder occurs when the brain fails to send a signal to your spinal chord which would render it temporarily paralyzed when you drift into REM sleep. Since REM is the stage of sleep in which you dream and also exhibit similar brain wave patterns to your waking brain, if your body doesn’t shut down your limb functions your brain controls your body as if you were awake. This potentially means talking, yelling, running, flailing or any other physical activity that you might be dreaming about.

Typically the dreams that RBD sufferers act out are intense and vivid and can often turn violent.

Why does it occur?

The specific reason as to why RBD occurs is still uncertain. It is usually seen in middle-aged to elderly men and is often associated with neurological conditions like Parkinson’s disease. 45% of all reported cases of RBD are related to alcohol or sedative withdrawal while the remaining 55% is unknown. RBD also often precedes certain neurological deseases. 38% of patients diagnosed with RBD were later diagnosed with Parkinson’s.

Can it be treated?

RBD can typically be treated with prescription medicine which eliminates the behavior a majority of the time. Even with proper medication it is a good idea for an RBD sufferer to make their bedrooms a safe environment in case they have an episode. If you were having a nightmare about defending yourself or your family against some kind of agressor, you wouldn’t want a weapon laying around for you to grab and unconsciously flail around at the imaginary agressor.

If you suspect you may have some form of REM sleep behavior disorder it is best not to wait it out. Seek out a doctor and get diagnosed before you unknowingly hurt yourself or others. And, of course, a great way to compliment any treatment for RBD would be to have an irresistibly comfortable mattress. Search the massive inventory at Mattresses for Less and find yourself a mattress that not even your dreaming self will want to get out of.