Rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder (RBD) is a neurological condition characterized by physical enactment of vivid, often unpleasant dreams with vocal sounds and violent arm and leg movements. This is in drastic contrast to normal REM sleep, when movements are suppressed by normal brain activity. This entry provides an overview of the clinical features, neurophysiological mechanisms, comorbid conditions, and treatments of RBD.

Clinical Features

REM sleep is a normal stage of sleep that alternates with non-REM sleep in cyclical fashion, usually during the second half of the night. REM sleep is characterized by rapid eye movements, cortical activation, vivid dreaming, and skeletal muscle paralysis (atonia). Muscle tone is suppressed during REM sleep by multiple neuronal circuits from the brain stem, forebrain, and hypothalamus that ...

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