A number of possible triggers for REM sleep behaviour disorder
(RBD) have been highlighted in a new study.
Research compiled by McGill University has shown there could be a
number of key triggers that influence the onset of this condition,
with exposure to pesticides and smoking highlighted as two key
factors in its development, the National Post reports.
According to the findings, which interviewed 350 sufferers of RBD,
in 64 per cent of cases, individuals had smoked regularly at some
point in their life. Furthermore, those individuals who developed
symptoms of the condition were found to have been twice as likely
as non-sufferers to have been exposed to pesticides, with many
working in the farming and agricultural sector.
"Essentially, all [of] us normally are paralyzed when we go into
our REM sleep," commented Dr Ron Postuma, a neurologist at McGill
University who led the international study. "So we're having very
vivid dreams, but we don't move. Our eyes will move and we'll
breathe, but that's it."
However, for those who suffer from RBD, this mechanism does not
come into effect, meaning they will literally live out their dreams
"If they dream they're smoking a cigarette, the hand will go up to
the mouth and they'll make puffing motions. Essentially, they're
pantomiming a play that's going on in their head and that play is
the dream," Dr Postuma added.
As a result, those who suffer from the rare sleep disorder may
find it difficult to share a bed with
a partner, as their night-time activities could see them getting
out of bed, acting out dreams, talking or just generally keeping
their partner awake.
This means many people with RBD are sleeping alone, but this does
not mean they themselves are safer from harm, as their condition
means they can often fall out of bed or walk into walls or doors
Research from esure revealed earlier this month that at present,
one in ten couples in the UK do not simply rest in separate beds,
but they have their own bedrooms.
The study revealed that 12 per cent of couples now regularly sleep
apart, with many of this group claiming that this is actually one
of the main reasons they continue to have happy, fulfilling
relationships, due to the greater independence they feel.
However, those intent on having a restful night's sleep alongside
their partner have been advised by the Sleep Council of a number of
easy methods to employ to do so.
"Sharing a bed is the ultimate intimacy and the latest research
from America suggests that this intimacy helps to lower stress
hormones and encourage feelings of safety and security," said
Jessica Alexander of the Sleep Council.
As such, the organisation revealed an element of give and take is
required for couples to successfully share a bed, with the focus
being on ensuring both partners are comfortable throughout the
night and able to get the required amount of rest to wake up fit
and raring to go.
This can be achieved more easily if both partners go to bed at the
same time each evening, as in this way they are able to get
comfortable together and one partner will not be waking the other
by entering the bedroom and disturbing their partner later.
In addition, couples are advised to invest in a large mattress and bed that provides them
both with room to stretch out, as being cramped in bed can result
in aches and pains and a less restful night's slumber.
Finally, the Sleep Council revealed one of the key influences on
whether partners are able to successfully sleep in the same bed is
to develop a synchronised bedtime routine, as this will help to
bring the body clocks of both individuals closer together, giving
each a more satisfying and restful evening.
Posted by Elizabeth Mewes