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Sleep Behavior Disorders
Rapid Eye Movement (REM) Behavior Disorder
The mechanism that ensures paralysis during REM sleep does not operate correctly. Sleepers with this disorder “act out” their dreams and may injure themselves or their bed partners. This disorder is more common among older men and responds well to medication.
Sleep talking is more a nuisance than a danger. People who sleep talk may only say a few words of gibberish or recite an entire speech. Generally, the condition coincides with stress or illness, and the sleep talker has no recollection of their nocturnal speeches. Sleep talking also occurs with sleep terrors and sleep apnea.
Sleep terrors cause sudden awakenings with violent behavior linked to fear. Screaming is common and intense physical efforts – to fight or flee – may cause injury to the sleeper or sleeper’s partner. An episode lasts about 15 minutes, during which the sleeper may seem to be awake, but in the morning the sleeper generally remembers nothing. Sleep terrors are common in children and typically disappear by adulthood.
This occurs mostly in children and tends to run in families. Most people who sleepwalk stop sometime during puberty.