Clinic Locations

Woolcock Sleep Clinic
Phone: (02) 9114 0000
Address: 431 Glebe Point Road, Glebe, NSW, 2037 Email: reception@woolcock.org.au
Royal Prince Alfred Hospital
Phone: (02) 9515 6655
Address: Level 11, Main Block, Missenden Road, Camperdown, NSW, 2050
Integrated Sleep Health
Phone: (02) 9238 2209
Address: MLC Building, Level 57, 19-29 Martin Place, NSW, Sydney, 2000 Email: info@isleephealth.com.au

Professor Ron Grunstein

Professor of Sleep Medicine

MBBS, MD, PhD, FRACP

REM-Sleep Behaviour Disorder

Patients with REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder (RBD) experience abnormal movements during REM (dream) sleep, such as ‘acting out dreams’. This is a rare condition caused by abnormalities in the brain’s behaviour when shifting between dream and non-dream states.

RBD is predominantly seen in older males, some of whom later develop neurodegenerative disorders (such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple system atrophy or dementia). RBD in the younger population, especially young female patients, is likely to be associated with medication, narcolepsy, or a structural central nervous system lesion.

When dreaming occurs during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep in normal patients, the brain blocks signals from being sent to the muscles, in order to prevent us from acting out dreams. In patients with RBD, signals from the brain to muscles are not blocked during REM sleep, allowing the sufferer to act out dreams (which are often violent, horrific or frightening in nature).

Due to the unusual nature of the condition, RBD is often misdiagnosed as a disorder of arousal, a seizure or a limb movement disorder.

People who suffer from REM Behavior Disorder (RBD) act out their dreams.

People who suffer from REM Behavior Disorder (RBD) act out their dreams.