ABC Medical Center > REM sleep disorder

What is REM sleep disorder?

21:56 - 4 May , 2021


Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep is characterized by atony in the upper and lower limbs, but in desynchronized sleep behavior disorder, when physically enacting dreams, there are sudden, forceful, and even violent movements of the arms and legs, accompanied by screaming or strange noises.

Normally, a little more than 20% of the total sleep in a night is desynchronized, and when the disorder appears, the brain nerve channels that do not allow muscle movement do not fulfill their function, which affects sleep quality progressively in intensity and duration.

On occasions, this disorder has been related to neurological conditions, such as multiple system atrophy, Lewy body dementia, and Parkinson’s disease.

Signs and symptoms REM sleep disorder

The characteristic symptoms that occur during the REM phase are:

  • Sudden and intense movements of arms and legs, or even jumps.
  • Strange sounds, such as screaming, guttural noises, unintelligible words, laughter, and profanity.
  • Ability to remember the theme of the dream in question.

Potential risks:

  • Narcolepsy.
  • Antidepressants.
  • Drug addiction.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Smoking.
  • Head injuries.
  • Men over 50 years old.
  • Parkinson’s disease.
  • Multiple system atrophy.
  • Stroke.
  • Lewy body dementia.

Diagnosis and treatment REM sleep disorder

Once the specialist analyzes your symptoms and clinical history, they will perform a physical and neurological examination to rule out other sleep disorders and establish an accurate diagnosis.

Likewise, it will question your partner or the person with whom you sleep, about your behavior during sleep, being able to channel you to a sleep study center to perform a polysomnography, with which they will be able to identify your behavior in the different sleep phases.

The treatment plan consists of the intake of drugs and the adoption of physical protection measures:


  • Melatonin nutritional supplement to reduce symptoms.
  • Clonazepam dosage to decrease symptoms, although side effects such as daytime sleepiness, balance problems, and worsening of obstructive sleep apnea are common.

Physical protections:

  • Put padded bars on the sides of the bed.
  • Clear the surrounding area of furniture.
  • Put padded protection on the windows.
  • Try to sleep in a separate bed or room while the symptoms are controlled.
  • Surround the bed with cushions or pillows.
  • Remove breakable objects or hazardous materials from the bedroom.

At the Neurological Center, a select group of highly trained and certified doctors in the various neurological specialties are ready to assist you with the quality and warmth that characterizes us.


Nervous system specialties

  • Neurology
  • Neurosurgery
  • Spine surgery
  • Pediatric neurosurgery
  • Neurophysiology
  • Neuro-rehabilitation
  • Neuro-pathology
  • Interventional neuro-radiology
  • Neuropsychology
  • Neuro-oncology
  • Neuro-otology
  • Epilepsy
  • Neuro-ophthalmology
  • Neuroimaging


  • Díaz-Pacheco A, Moo-Estrella J. Calidad de sueño, trastorno conductual del sueño MOR y somnolencia diurna en adultos con y sin Parkinson. Arch Neurocien. 2021;26(2):20-25.
  • Pérez SIL, Quiñones ME. Trastornos del sueño en un escolar posterior al aislamiento social por la COVID-19. MediSan. 2021;25(01):142-151.
  • González NJE, Alfonso AM, Calzada DAI, et al. Trastornos del sueño en pacientes con enfermedad de Parkinson. Rev Cubana Neurol Neurocir. 2020;10(1):1-17.
  • Jiménez-Genchi A, Guarneros-Roniger DD, Barrera-Medina A, et al. Actualidades en las aplicaciones clínicas de la melatonina en trastornos del sueño. Rev Mex Neuroci. 2013;14(1):39-43.

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    The dissemination of the content of this material is for informational purposes only and does not replace, under any circumstance or condition, a consultation with a specialist doctor, for which the ABC Medical Center is not responsible for the different use that may be given to it. If you require more information related to the subject, we suggest you contact the specialist doctor you trust directly.