REM sleep behavior disorder is a sleep disorder in which you appear to physically act out vivid, often unpleasant dreams with abnormal vocal sounds and movements during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. You normally don't move during REM sleep, a normal stage of sleep that occurs many times during the night. You may have other sleep disorders with REM sleep behavior disorder. REM sleep behavior disorder often may be associated with other neurological conditions, including Lewy body dementia, Parkinson's disease and multiple system atrophy.

  • Experience. Mayo Clinic doctors have experience in diagnosing and treating REM sleep behavior disorder. Each Mayo Clinic location offers a sleep disorders center accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and staffed by specialists trained in treating sleep disorders.
  • Teamwork. Doctors trained in brain and nervous system conditions (neurology), lung and breathing conditions (pulmonary medicine), mental health conditions (psychiatry) and other specialties collaborate to treat REM sleep behavior disorder.
  • Research. Mayo Clinic researchers actively study REM sleep behavior disorder and other sleep disorders to determine your most appropriate treatment options.

Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., is ranked among the Best Hospitals for neurology and neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report. Mayo Clinic in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla., are ranked high performing for neurology and neurosurgery by U.S. News & World Report.

Mayo Clinic works with hundreds of insurance companies and is an in-network provider for millions of people. In most cases, Mayo Clinic doesn't require a physician referral. Some insurers require referrals or may have additional requirements for certain medical care. All appointments are prioritized on the basis of medical need.

Doctors trained in neurology, psychiatry and psychology and pulmonary medicine treat adults who have REM sleep behavior disorder and other sleep disorders at the Sleep Disorders Center at Mayo Clinic in Arizona.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 800-446-2279 (toll-free) 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mountain Standard Time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Doctors trained in neurology, psychiatry and psychology and pulmonary medicine treat adults who have REM sleep behavior disorder and other sleep disorders at the Sleep Disorders Unit at Mayo Clinic in Florida.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 904-953-0853 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Doctors trained in neurology, psychiatry and psychology, and pulmonary medicine treat people who have REM sleep behavior disorder and other sleep disorders at the Center for Sleep Medicine at Mayo Clinic in Minnesota.

For appointments or more information, call the Central Appointment Office at 507-538-3270 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Central time, Monday through Friday or complete an online appointment request form.

Please refer to the international appointment section to request appointments via phone.

See information on patient services at the three Mayo Clinic locations, including transportation options and lodging.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in sleep disorders, nervous system conditions (neurologists), mental health conditions (psychiatrists) and other specialties work together to evaluate your condition.

Doctors at Mayo Clinic have experience accurately diagnosing REM sleep behavior disorder and ruling out other conditions. REM sleep behavior disorder may have symptoms similar to other sleep disorders, or it may coexist with other sleep disorders, including obstructive sleep apnea, periodic limb movement disorder or narcolepsy.

To diagnose your condition, your doctor will review your medical history and your symptoms. Your evaluation may include other tests.

  • Physical examination and neurological examination. Your doctor will conduct a physical and neurological examination. Your doctor will evaluate you for REM sleep behavior disorder and other sleep disorders.
  • Sleep study (polysomnogram). Doctors often evaluate your condition during an overnight sleep study in a Mayo Clinic sleep disorders center. A sleep study (polysomnogram) is a painless test in which sensors are applied to your skin's surface to record brain wave activity, eye movements, breathing function, oxygen levels, heart rate and muscle activity during your sleep. You also will be videotaped to document your behavior during REM sleep cycles.

Mayo Clinic doctors trained in nervous system conditions (neurologists), mental health conditions (psychiatrists) and sleep disorders treat REM sleep behavior disorder and related conditions.

Your treatment may include:

  • Physical safeguards. Your doctor may recommend you make changes in your sleep environment to make it safer, including padding the floor near the bed, placing barriers on the side of the bed and moving the bed away from the window.
  • Medications. Your doctor may prescribe a tranquilizer to treat your condition. This medication often reduces or eliminates your REM sleep behavior disorder symptoms. Clonazepam may cause side effects, including daytime sleepiness, decreased balance and worsening of a sleep disorder (sleep apnea). Your doctor may prescribe a dietary supplement (melatonin) either alone or with clonazepam, which may help reduce or eliminate your symptoms. Doctors continue to study several other medications that may treat REM sleep behavior disorder. Your doctor will work with you to determine the most appropriate treatment option for you.

Researchers at Mayo Clinic actively study REM sleep behavior disorder and other sleep disorders. Researchers study how other neurological diseases, including Lewy body dementia and Parkinson's disease, are related to REM sleep behavior disorder. Researchers also study possible causes, diagnosis and treatment options for REM sleep behavior disorder. Mayo Clinic researchers also use the Mayo Sleep Questionnaire for the diagnosis of REM sleep behavior disorder and other sleep disorders. Read more about sleep disorders research in neurology and the Center for Sleep Medicine at Mayo Clinic.

Mayo publications

See a list of publications by Mayo Clinic doctors on REM sleep behavior disorder on PubMed, a service of the National Library of Medicine.

Nov. 20, 2012