REM Sleep Behavior Disorder is characterized by abnormal behaviors that cause injury or disrupt sleep. The most notorious is Dream Enactment Behavior. As the name suggests, Dream Enacted Behavior causes the sleeper to act out his or her dreams. Flailing arms, leaping from bed, crawling or running are often reported.
Researchers from the University of Minnesota tested a customized bed alarm to keep REM Sleep Behavioral Disorder patients from hurting themselves. A pressurized pad and a cord attached to the pajamas sensed when a patient was away from bed. This activated a recording of family members calmly instructing the sleeper to stop. The recording played on a loop until the patient came back to bed.
All four patients participating in the study reported positive results. They had a decrease in REM Sleep Behavioral Disorder symptoms and in sleep-related injuries. Researchers said a customized alarm may be effective preventing REM Sleep Behavioral Disorder injuries. Patients unable to tolerate medical therapy or respond to medical intervention would be the best candidates. The study appeared in the December issue of the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine.
REM Sleep Behavior Disorder is classified as a parasomnia. Read more about REM Sleep Behavioral Disorder on the AASM website or on the Sleep Education Blog.