REM Behavior Disorder

REM sleep is Rapid Eye Movement sleep, which refers to a specific phase of sleep that is more common in the last half of the night. We have our most vivid dreams during REM sleep. Our muscles are more relaxed during REM sleep than they are at any other time. This relaxation prevents us from physically acting out our dreams during sleep.

In people with REM Behavior Disorder, their muscles do not sufficiently relax and their bodies act out the contents of their dreams. This may include fighting, punching, jumping or running, all of which can cause injury to the person or to people in the room with them. Fortunately, this is a rare condition. It occurs much more commonly in men than women, and increases in frequency with age.

Medical treatments are available and are often very effective. Evaluation by a sleep specialist is advised.