What is REM Sleep Disorder?

There are many types of disorders about which we might have heard before but still have no idea why they occur, what their symptoms are or most importantly how to treat them.  Among so many disorders, REM sleeping disorder still confuses people.

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder is a sleeping disorder which is seen in elderly men that are men above the age of 50 more often. REM stands for ‘Rapid eye movement’. In this disorder, you can act out physically lucid. Mostly dreams which are unpleasant and violent lead to physically acting out of these.

This disorder is not very rare and simple symptoms can be seen in many people around us.

The possible symptoms can be:

• Symptoms like kicking, running, hitting the person sleeping beside as an action done in dream.

• Talking, yelling or conversing while sleeping.

• Normally people going through it are able to remember their dreams very well even if they are awake during this period of time.

• Even common details of the dream being acted out are remembered very well.

According to doctors normally the episode of REM occurs generally for 90 minutes to 2-3 hours and mostly during early morning time.

What are the causes of REM sleep behavior disorder? Although the cause behind this disorder isn’t very clear, the following can possibly be the reasons behind:

• Stress due to overwork or even general stress.

• It can occur due to certain neurological problems like dementia or even Parkinson’s disease.

• Certain antidepressants which are taken as a cure for PTSD (Post traumatic stress disorder), depression and anxiety can lead to side effects such as REM disorder.

When a person is suffering from this disorder, they might not even realize it. Most of the time, the person realizes this only when someone tells them about this or when they see injuries on themselves which occurred during the REM episode.

What is the treatment to cure this disorder?

Well, there are different types of treatments such as:

• The first step to treat any disorder is to take the help of a specialist. In this case, one should refer to a sleep specialist doctor.

• Many medicines are prescribed such as Melatonin, Clonazepam. (But these medicines too offer certain side effects.)

• One could also opt for therapists, if medicinal treatment is not required.

• A sleep study test may be asked to be taken for further reports.

• Changes in lifestyles are also a part of change like changing the mattress, rooms or time of sleeping.

Treatment of REM disorder are generally considered successful and therefore one can actually get rid of it by correct treatment.

One should remember that this disorder should not be ignored as although its start is gradual, it can get worse by time. The actions can become more and more violent.

People also often misunderstand sleepwalking as a symptom of REM. However, this is not true at all! REM disorder episodes can be way more fragile than sleepwalking episodes and therefore many a time you will notice that it is more difficult to walk person sleep walking then the one who is having a REM episode.

What do you think?

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Written by Apeksha Sharma

Story Maker
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Aditi Dhoundiyal

very informative and easy to understand.

Fiona Gladstone

nicely done!