What Is REM Sleep Behavior Disorder? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Have you found yourself kicking, punching, or even leaping out of bed in the middle of a vivid dream? For people with REM sleep behavior disorder, dreams don’t just stay in their minds.

REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is a rare parasomnia in which you physically act out your dreams while you’re in the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

REM sleep is typically when we dream. Our blood pressure rises, our breathing deepens, and our eyes dart in all directions. During normal REM sleep, we don’t move. Our bodies go into temporary muscle paralysis, called atonia, while our brains are wide awake with activity, according to a study published in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences.

However, for people with REM sleep behavior disorder, this normal muscle paralysis doesn’t happen. Instead, they experience everything from small muscle twitches and whispering to punching, kicking, shouting, and jumping out of bed. They may even hurt themselves or others.

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