Sleep happens in cycles of rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (non-REM).

REM happens several times during a night’s sleep, and during REM sleep our brains are very active but our muscles are paralysed temporarily (atonia). Dreaming normally occurs at this stage, and the paralysis of the muscles prevents us from acting out our dreams. People with REM behaviour disorder do not have such muscles paralysis, so they act out their dreams, often violently.

A person with RBD may perform the following actions:

  • Kicking
  • Punching
  • Jumping
  • Sitting up in bed
  • Swearing
  • Shouting
  • Leaping out of bed
  • Grabbing

In some cases, he can injure himself or his bed partner.

REM behaviour disorder may have association with other sleep disorders like Obstructive Sleep Apnoea, narcolepsy, and periodic limp movement disorder.


REM behaviour disorder can be treated. It is sometimes confused with other parasomnias like sleepwalking and night terrors. For an accurate diagnosis, arrange for an evaluation with our senior specialist Dr YT Pang at CENTAS. We offer hospital-based and home-based sleep study for your convenience.