What Is REM Sleep Behavior Disorder and How Is It Treated?

Sleep Behavior

REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD) is a sleep disorder that affects individuals during REM sleep. It is characterized by excessive movement, vocalizations, and complex behaviors that can cause a person to awaken during the night. If left untreated, RBD can lead to greater health complications such as injuries and anxiety.

Symptoms of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

RBD can present itself in numerous ways. Depending on the individual, symptoms can vary. Common signs of RBD are:

  • Involuntary physical acts while asleep
  • Speaking while asleep
  • Screaming or yelling during sleep
  • Bed-wetting
  • Itching/twitching during dreaming
  • Terrors or night terrors

Causes Of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder

The exact cause of RBD is unknown, however, medical experts suggest that it is linked to certain conditions such as:

  • Neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s
  • Seizure disorders
  • Obstructive sleep apnea
  • Use of certain drugs or medications
  • Depression or anxiety

How Is REM Sleep Behavior Disorder Treated?

Treatment for RBD may involve lifestyle changes, therapy, medication, or a combination of all three.

  • Lifestyle adjustments – such as eliminating alcohol and caffeine, getting adequate sleep and exercise, and creating a restful sleep environment.
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help to identify and change behaviors that contribute to RBD.
  • Medication may be necessary to alleviate symptoms of RBD and can help restore regular and restful sleep.

Affect Of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder On Health

RBD can have a significant impact on overall health due to the lack of restful sleep. Studies have shown that individuals with RBD can suffer from

  • Mood disturbances
  • Depression
  • Increased risk of falls and injuries
  • Injuries to bed partners
  • Daytime sleepiness and fatigue

It is important to seek help for RBD as soon as symptoms are identified in order to prevent any additional health complications or injuries.

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