A recent study suggests that REM sleep behaviour disorder (REMSD) – highly agitated recurrent sleep – may be linked to certain psychological conditions.
During REM sleep, the brain normally sends signals to the muscles to prevent them from moving. In people with REM sleep behaviour disorders (HSDD), these signals are disrupted. The latter can then be altered by the occurrence of restless dreams, during which people can scream, punch, kick, and injure themselves or a sleeping partner.
For their study, published in the medical journal American Academy of Neurology, the researchers selected a sample of 30,097 people aged 63 on average. A lifestyle questionnaire concluded that 3.2% of them had a REM sleep disorder.
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After analyzing the medical records in this sample, the research team found that people with PHCT were 2.5 times more likely to report taking antidepressants, twice as likely to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, and 2.5 times more likely to be affected by mental illness. The team of scientists highlighted the doubly high risk for men to have PSCT. The study also found that people with PHCT are 25% more likely to drink alcohol moderately to regularly than people without PHCT.
For the research team, this study does not prove that these factors are at the root of REM sleep behaviour disorder, it simply establishes that there is a link.