As the name suggests, Rapid Eye Movement (REM) is when your dream the most and your eyes move rapidly in response to your dream. REM sleep is a phase of the sleep cycle that begins 90 minutes after falling asleep where dreams occur. REM sleep behavior disorders cause unusual behaviors or actions during the phase of REM phase of sleep. With REM sleep behaviour disorder (RBD), people enact their dreams as they occur in ways that can cause injury to themselves and others. RBD is disruptive, not only for the person suffering from it, but also for anyone sharing the bed. For better sleep quality, improve the sleep stages in REM and reduce the outbursts and disturbances experienced in RBD, the phytocannabinoid Cannabidiol (CBD) can be useful.
What Is REM Sleep Behavior Disorder (RBD)
REM sleep behaviour disorder refers to a sleep disorder in which you physically enact, often unpleasant, dreams with abrupt violent movements and vocal sounds during REM sleep- known as dream-enacting behavior. You generally do not move in REM sleep, a regular phase of sleep that happen several times during the night. REM sleep is generally related with dreaming and covers 20%-25% of the duration of sleep.
In an individual with REM sleep behaviour disorder, the temporary paralysis of the muscles that normally happens during REM sleep is lacking; permitting the person to “act out” their dreams. RBD is marked by enacting the dreams that are intense and severe. Dream-enacting behaviors involve yelling, punching, sitting, jumping, kicking, talking, shouting, jumping from bed, arm grabbing, and tossing. An acute form can arise during withdrawal or abstinence from alcohol or sedative hypnotic medications.
Symptoms Associated With REM Sleep Behavior Disorder
In the case of REM sleep behavior disorder, in place of experiencing the regular temporary paralysis of the arms and legs (atonia) During REM sleep, you physically enact your dreams. The incurrence of RBD can be sudden or slowly, and episodes may happen occasionally or multiple times during the night. The disorder often aggravates with time.
Symptoms of REM Sleep Behavior Disorder may involve:
- Movement like punching, kicking, flailing of the arms and legs or jumping from bed in reaction to violent or action-packed dreams such as shielding yourself from an assault or being chased.
- Sounds such as laughing, talking, shouting, cursing, or even emotional outbursts
- Can recall the dream if you get up during the occurrence.
Causes of REM Sleep Behaviour Disorder
Nerve pathways within the brain that obstructs muscles from movement are working during normal REM sleep as you dream, causing temporary paralysis of the body. These nerve pathways no longer function in REM sleep behavior disorder and you start to physically enact your dreams and become agitated.
Certain other factors that are linked with the progress of REM sleep disorder are:
- Certain kinds of neurodegenerative disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, stroke, multiple system atrophy or dementia
- Narcolepsy, a persistent sleep disorder marked by overpowering drowsiness during the day
- Certain drugs, particularly newer antidepressants, or the use of drugs or alcohol
- Current evidence also hints at various environmental or individual risk factors like exposure to occupational pesticide, smoking, farming, or a previous head injury.
During the REM stage of sleep the brain remains very active, but the body is inactive and most dreaming takes place. Heart rate rises and your breathing gets irregular. There are 4 phases of REM sleep and each stage helps you in an undisturbed night of quality sleep. Relaxed sleep and CBD are often closely associated as this plant compound has anxiolytic, sedative and relaxing properties.
CBD Can Help In Improving The Stages Of REM Sleep
The plant derived cannabidiol, CBD, aids in regulating the outbursts and disturbances faced during RBD. CBD has been proven to assist in Parkinson’s disease and slowdown its neurodegenerative progress. RBD can develop in patients suffering from Parkinson’s and the neuroprotectant, anxiety relieving, relaxing and antioxidant properties of CBD are beneficial for combating Parkinson’s disease.
CBD has immense influence on the sleep-wake cycle as it works on the endocannabinoid system that affects sleep health.
CBD can impact sleep as higher doses of CBD can act as a sedative and can help in sleep deficiency. A 2013 study presented in the Journal of Psychopharmacology examined the impact of varying doses of 2.5,10,40 mg/kg. Though humans may not be influenced in the same manner by these dosages as rodents since both metabolize CBD quite differently. Rodents who were administered CBD 10 mg or 40 mg showed an increased sleep duration. Those treated with 40 mgs significantly raised the time duration required to enter into REM sleep. This dreaming period that happens prior to waking helps in processing of emotionally powerful memories. There was an increase in slow-wave restorative sleep. At the 10 mg level, rodents lowered the duration of time for REM sleep which is a lighter phase of sleep compared to non-REM sleep. The higher doses of CBD in this study seemed to be more sedative in contrast to the lower dose.
High-dose CBD can be beneficial for insomniacs; CBD works upon the endocannabinoid system, a vast neurotransmitter network in humans consisting of receptors, ion channels and endocannabinoid molecules. Jointly, these components aid in managing communications between the body and the brain. As the cannabinoid receptors are located all over the body and the ECS performs a wide variety of biological functions which includes appetite, learning, sleep, memory, regulating hormonal imbalances and body temperature to name a few. CBD can interact with this system and impact your sleeping patterns.