Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD) can cause serious self-injuries as well as injuries to the bed partner. A clinical study involving 203 patients found that 60% suffered an injury because of their condition, while 20% of their bed partners had sustained an injury.

Many people around the world suffer from REM sleep behavior disorder. Continue reading to understand this condition better.

What Is REM Sleep Behavior Disorder?


In regular REM sleep, most of the body’s muscles experience temporary paralysis while the brain remains active and dreaming.

However, paralysis of the body in sleep is not common to all. Approximately 0.5% – 1.25% of the general population suffer from REM sleep behavior disorder. They experience sudden body movements and “act out” their dreams through talking, shouting, twitching, punching, kicking, jumping, arm flailing, or grabbing.

REM sleep accounts for around 20% of a night’s sleep, and we often experience vivid dreams in this patch of time. The dreams associated with REM sleep behavior disorder tend to be intense and frightening.

Who Does It Affect?

RBD is more common among middle-aged and older people. Approximately 87% of patients are men, and it’s often seen among people going through withdrawal from alcohol or sedative-hypnotic drugs.

A patient can cause harm to themself during their dreams, and violent sleep reactions can also put their bed partner in physical danger.

REM sleep disorder leads to night-time disturbances for the patient and anyone nearby. It can lead to relationship issues, with 90% of bed partners reporting sleep disruption.

If you want a good night’s rest and need some assistance, check out these products for sleep. Doctors often prescribe dietary supplements such as melatonin or clonazepam to reduce or eliminate symptoms of REM sleep disorder. However, what works for some may not work for others.

A 2021 study showed that the cannabis compound CBN significantly increased sleep quality among 60 people who suffered from sleep disorders.

How Is It Diagnosed?

How Is It Diagnosed

As per the International Classification of Sleep Disorders, there are four criteria to receive a diagnosis of REM sleep behavior disorder:

  1. Repeatedly acting out dreams with vocalizations and body movements.
  2. The episodes are happening in REM sleep, which a polysomnogram can confirm.
  3. The disturbances are happening without atonia, which can also be confirmed with a polysomnogram.
  4. The episodes are not better explained by an alternative sleep or mental disorder.

It’s important to consult your doctor if you think you may have REM sleep behavior disorder. That’s because it can often lead to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Dementia.

Don’t Suffer in Silence

Don't Suffer in Silence

REM sleep behavior disorder is a rare condition that can badly affect your ability to enjoy deep sleep. Everyone suffers from bad sleep occasionally, but it’s a good idea to speak with your doctor if you believe your body is experiencing sudden body movements or violent sleep reactions.

It is treatable, but each individual must find the solution that works for them.

Hopefully, you now understand REM sleep disorder a little better. If you found this article helpful, check out more of our blogs on health and fitness before you leave.

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