REM Sleep Behavior Disorders

While many people see dreaming as a purely mental activity, people who suffer from REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) act out their dreams. This means they might physically move their limbs, walk, sleep talk, shout, scream, hit, or even punch. This can be extremely dangerous if there is another person sleeping in their bed, or if they sleep walk and encounter others. When left untreated, there can be injury to self or others.

Fortunately, RBD can be treated successfully. But first you have to understand the different stages of sleep. For example, there are three main states – waking, rapid eye movement (REM) and non rapid eye movement sleep (N-REM). To know how to treat REM sleep behavior disorder, you have to understand what REM is.

In REM sleep, the electrical activity of the brain looks similar to when a person is actually awake. Thus while neurons in the brain are functioning like the person is awake, the distinctions between these different states breaks down so that the person acts like they are waking even though they are asleep. Scientists believe that the neurological pathways in these cases do not function properly, though the cause of such occurrences is not entirely understood.

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