REM Sleep Behavior Disorder Treatment in Ridgewood, NJ
Sleep occurs in two stages. The majority of the sleep we get occurs in a stage called non-rapid eye movement sleep—dreamless sleep. The stage in which dreaming does occur is called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. When we enter REM sleep, nerve pathways in our brains keep our bodies from moving, creating temporary paralysis—a necessary safeguard preventing our nightmares from coming to life, so to speak. When these pathways do not function properly, however, a condition called REM Sleep Behavior Disorder can occur, wherein we physically act out our dreams.
As a result of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, sleepers experiencing dreams, of whose content is action-filled or violent, may exhibit any of the following common symptoms:
- Noises such as talking, shouting, swearing or other emotional outcries
- Arm movements such as grabbing, punching and flailing
- Leg movements such as kicking, jumping and leaping
In some cases, the sleeper may actually engage in activities while sleeping that involve getting up from bed and walking. Sleepers do not realize the actions they are taking while dreaming, they are solely focused on the sensations experienced in their dream. The main distinction between REM Sleep Behavior Disorder and other conditions such as sleepwalking or night terrors is that, upon waking, you can actually recall the content of your dreams.
There is a sleep specialist in your area to restore your good night’s sleep. Call (201) 806-6099 or contact Dr. M.T. Shahab online.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder Risk Factors
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder poses a risk to those it affects, whose movements could cause an injury to themselves or their sleeping partner.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder has historically affected men over the age of 50. While uncommon in women and children, the condition has been reported in rare cases to affect these individuals (especially women under the age of 50), usually in association with having other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, or while taking certain antidepressants. The condition has also been reported as having a higher rate of occurrence in people who have Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple System Atrophy.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder Testing & Treatment
In order to diagnose REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, your doctor will review your medical history as well as your symptoms. Additionally, a nocturnal sleep study may be required. If the latter is required, you will be kept for overnight observation, during which you will be hooked up to sensors that monitor your heart, lung and brain activity, as well as arm and leg movements and blood oxygen levels. Your behavior during your REM sleep cycles will also be videotaped for further analysis.
To treat REM Sleep Behavior Disorder, your healthcare provider may start by recommending you to make initial physical safeguards to ensure your sleep environment is safer, including:
- Padding the floor near the bed, as well as placing barriers on the side of the bed
- Removing dangerous objects, such as sharp items and weapons
- Moving furniture away from the bed
- Protecting windows
Further, your healthcare provider may prescribe certain medications, such as Clonazepam (Klonopin), often used to treat anxiety. Clonazepam may cause side effects such as daytime sleepiness, decreased balance and worsening of sleep apnea.
Alternatively, your doctor could also prescribe a dietary supplement called melatonin, which may help reduce or eliminate your symptoms, and which is usually well-tolerated with few side effects but may cause some grogginess in the morning.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder can be hazardous if not properly treated. Don’t ignore your symptoms; talk with your healthcare provider to determine the most appropriate treatment option for you.
Request more information about REM Sleep Behavior Disorder treatment today. Call (201) 806-6099 or contact Dr. M.T. Shahab online.
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