A WIFE has threatened to leave her husband of 30 years because of a bizarre disorder that makes him punch and kick her in his sleep.
The wife from Taichung City in West Taiwan even filed domestic abuse charges and promised to leave her hubby, known only as Wu, unless he allowed doctors to diagnose his strange sleeping habit.
Wu, 60, said he began talking in his sleep about 10 years ago, but in the last five years he had begun flailing his arms and legs while his wife tried to sleep next to him.
Desperate for help he checked himself into the Kuang Tian General Hospital where he was told that he suffers from REM sleep behaviour disorder.
Doctor Yang Chun-bei, who treated Wu, said disorder causes him to physically act out his dreams instead of just letting them play out in his mind.
The odd behaviour happens only during deep REM (rapid eye movement) sleep which is when dreaming occurs.
Wu spent several days at the hospital’s sleep studies centre, where cameras focused on his bed revealed his nightly “kung fu” adventures.
The footage shows Wu suddenly lifting his arms in front of his face as if preparing to box someone.
He also appears to move his legs under the duvet.
Wu said his activities sometimes become so intense that he “flies” out of bed screaming and shouting, terrifying his wife.
Doctor Yang said these were the classic signs of REM sleep behaviour disorder, which is treatable with the help of medication, usually clonazepam – a benzodiazapine psychoactive drug used to treat seizures by calming the central nervous system.
Wu has been put on a course of treatment that is now helping him save his marriage.
SWEET DREAMS From kicking out your partner to putting down the e-books – here’s the secret to a perfect night’s sleep
Sleep involves transitions between three different states: wakefulness, rapid eye movement sleep – which is associated with dreaming – and non-rapid eye movement (N-REM) sleep, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
During REM sleep, the electrical activity of the brain looks similar to the electrical activity that occurs during waking.
Although neurons in the brain during REM sleep are functioning much as they do during waking, REM sleep is also characterised by temporary muscle paralysis.
But the distinction between these two states breaks down in people who have REM sleep behaviour disorder.
People who suffer from REM sleep behaviour disorder physically move limbs or even get up and engage in activities associated with waking.
Some people may sleep talk, shout, scream, hit or punch and some even jump out of bed while sleeping.
The condition is usually noticed when it causes danger to the sleeping person or the person they sleep next to.
Sometimes the condition isn’t diagnosed until the person injures themselves or someone else.
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