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    Kicking and Yelling During Sleep? Risk Factors for Violent Sleep Disorder Identified



    Summary: Researchers have identified key risk factors for a violent sleep disorder known as REM sleep behavior disorder. According to the study, taking antidepressants, having PTSD and anxiety disorders increases the risk for violent episodes during sleep.

    Source: Neurology.

    Taking antidepressants for depression, having post-traumatic stress disorder or anxiety diagnosed by a doctor are risk factors for an unmanageable and sometimes violent sleep disorder called rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder.

    REM sleep is the dream state of sleep. During normal REM sleep, your brain sends signals to prevent your muscles from causing any movement. However, for people with REM sleep behavior disorder, those signals are troublesome. A person may act out violent or action-filled dreams by yelling, swinging their arms, punching or kicking, to the point of causing harm to themselves or a sleep partner.

    The study examined 30,097 people with an average age of 63. Researchers screened participants for a variety of health conditions and enquired about lifestyle, behavior, economic, social and psychological factors.

    In addition, every research participant was asked, “Have you ever been told, or suspected yourself, that you appear to act out your dreams while asleep?”

    Researchers then picked out 958 people, or 3.2 percent of total participants, with possiblity of REM sleep behavior disorder, after eliminating participants with Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, dementia and sleep apnea.

    Researchers came to know that those with the disorder were over two-and-a-half times as likely to report taking antidepressants to treat depression, with 13 percent of those having the disorder taking them in comparison to 6 percent of those without the disorder. People with the disorder were also two-and-a-half times in probability to have post-traumatic stress disorder. They were twice in probability to have mental illness, and over one-and-a-half times in probability to have psychological distress.

    Published: Neurology.

    Contact: Chun Yao – Integrated Program in Neuroscience, McGill University.

    Details: Image source Istock


    Hi, I’m Aarti, My Psychoanalytical approach towards my clients is to empower them to better their lives through improving their relationship with themselves. I believe shame and guilt is a common barrier to change. I aim to guide my clients through re authoring their narratives where shame, guilt, and other problems have less power and take up less space.

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