Hitting and kicking in your sleep – Violent sleep disorders by antidepressants?

Study identifies risk factors for REM sleep disorder

Some people suffer from a so-called REM sleep disorder, which Occur with seemingly aggressive behavior such as screaming, and Hitting in sleep is associated. In a recent study by a canadian research team has now identified previously unknown risk factors for this particular Form of sleep disturbance.

“The use of antidepressants for depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, or Doctors-diagnosed anxiety are risk factors for disruptive and sometimes violent sleep disorder that is also referred to as REM-sleep disorder,” said study author Ronald Postuma and colleagues from McGill University in Montreal. Your recent study results have been published in the Online edition of the magazine “Neurology”.

What is a REM-sleep disorder?

The REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement; rapid eye movement) dream phase of sleep. “During normal REM sleep your brain sends signals, in order to prevent your muscles to move, but in people with REM sleep disorder, these signals are disturbed,” explain the experts. Affected exhibit in the course of your dreams, therefore, unusual behavior: they roar, striking with the arms or occur until they hurt themselves or a sleeping partner.

More than 30,000 persons examined

So far, sleep disorder is the REM-much is still not known. So the risk factors are largely unclear. In the current studies, the researchers sought to bring light into the darkness. For 30.097 people were examined in the average age of 63 years. The researchers examined a variety of health factors and also asked about Lifestyle, behavior, social, economic and psychological aspects. In the course of the investigations, they were able to identify 958 persons (3.2 percent of the subjects) with a possible REM sleep disorder. Participants with Parkinson’s disease, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, or sleep apnea were excluded.

Identified Risk Factors

Further evaluations showed that the Affected reported more than two and a half Times more often than subjects without a sleep disorder, antidepressants for the treatment of depression. Also be affected two times more frequently from post-traumatic stress disorder and had twice as likely to have a mental illness and more than one and a half times as often psychological problems, report researchers.

Men are affected more often than women

Furthermore, the study has shown that men are affected twice as often as women from a REM sleep disorder. Also the consumption of alcohol seems to play a role. People with a possible REM sleep disorder were 25 percent more likely than people without the sleep disorder, moderate to heavy alcohol consumers. In addition, the Affected had a slightly lower education, lower income, and authors were more often smokers, the study said.

The Basis for further research

There is a clear causal connection between the risk factors and the REM sleep disorder can not be proven with the study. “Our research shows that these risk factors cause a REM-sleep disorder, it just shows that you are connected with her,” said the study leader Postuma. The new findings could, however, serve as a Basis for future research and to contribute to a better understanding of the REM-sleep disorder, – emphasizes the expert. Because the REM sleep disorder is closely related with the future of neuro-degenerative diseases, could be prevented in a next step, may also diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, scientists hope. (fp)