People can do the most annoying things when they are in the land of Nod. The snorting, mumbling and wriggling can send the most committed bedmate straight to the couch for relief. But what if the behavior is so fierce it exposes innocent bystanders to an unconscionable, potentially criminal, act.
Among the 81 official sleep disorders listed in The International Classification of Sleep Disorders are a group of conditions called parasomnias. In this group, physical activity normally reserved for wakefulness sneaks out during sleep cycle transitions causing sufferers to walk, talk, even eat in their sleep. While it may look like they are consciously aware, they are completely oblivious to the action because they are technically asleep.
Some parasomnias however cause the afflicted to unknowingly act out their dreams or perform sexual acts. The problem can be so severe that people resort to restraining themselves at night to protect their loved ones.
Here are 3 disturbing and potentially dangerous sleep disorders that may help to explain your housemate's peculiar night (and daytime) behavior.
REM Behavior Disorder
Over the course of the night a normal sleeper will go in and out of a sleep cycle at least a few times.. During REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the brain shuts down certain signals: The sleeper's muscles are paralyzed and the brain goes into dreamland. In people with REM behavior disorder, muscles become activated and dreams breakthrough causing the afflicted to swear, scream, thrash and punch as they try to mimic what they are experiencing in their dreams.. Anyone in his or her wake is a potential victim.
Although it can occur at any time of life, it is more common in men over 60. Recently the disorder has sparked interest as it may foreshadow some neurodegenerative diseases. Studies have shown that many people with REM behavior disorder develop Parkinson’s disease or other form of dementia years later.