Brewer Waddell

Rem Sleep

Several studies in recent years have suggested that REM sleep can affect how accurately people can read emotions and process external stimuli. Walker’s research, for example, has demonstrated that people who achieved REM sleep during a nap were better able to judge facial expressions afterward than those who’d napped without reaching REM. that occur episodically in REM sleep have been called its phasic features. As mentioned above, not getting enough REM sleep can negatively impact your brain’s ability to learn and create new memories. The normal amount of REM sleep also declines with age, beginning with infancy (when it may be greater than 50% of total sleep time) and extending all the way through adulthood. More generally speaking, there’s been research to suggest that when people are deprived of REM sleep they have troubling recollecting things they are taught before falling asleep. This is how a person with RBD may become aware of the problem.
Moreover, drugs that target dopamine receptor activity influence cataplexy in narcoleptic mice . Specifically, activation of dopamine D2-like receptors increases the frequency of cataplectic attacks in these mice, whereas receptor blockade reduces their occurrence . Despite the clear involvement of the dopamine system in mediating cataplexy, the specific part of the dopamine system which contributes to the motor paralysis of cataplexy remains unknown. Although initial studies suggest that SubC neurons generate REM sleep , their neurotransmitter and genetic characteristics remain poorly defined. Future studies need to focus on improving characterization of REM-generating circuits and should define how the different neuronal populations of the circuits interact to produce REM sleep. Moreover, we should investigate why such circuits are vulnerable to degeneration in RBD or pathological recruitment in narcolepsy. A major concern in RBD is that it precedes, in 80% of cases, development of synucleinopathies such as Parkinson’s disease by several decades .
The dorsal paragigantocellular reticular nucleus , a group of GABA-containing neurons, is also REM-active and may inhibit wake-promoting areas; hence, allowing the entrance into REM sleep . These medullary neurons are hypothesized to inhibit the LC, dorsal raphe , and part of the ventrolateral periaqueductal gray .

Electrical stimulation and pharmacological activation of the DPGi promote REM sleep (38–40). Adding to that research, the most recent study — from researchers at Rutgers University — suggests that the quality of a person’s sleep before a traumatic event can play a role in how the brain reacts to a scary situation. “The more REM, the weaker the fear-related effect,” the authors write in their paper.
This link suggests that neurodegenerative processes initially target the circuits controlling REM sleep and specifically SubC neurons. Subtle motor manifestations, usually bradykinesia, are frequent in idiopathic RBD and quantitative motor tests allow detection of Parkinsonism more than 4 years before the clinical diagnosis of PD . Another component of the REM-generating circuit is located in the medulla.
People with RBD are not more aggressive or violent than others when awake. The prescription drug clonazepam has proven effective in reducing symptoms for 50-80% of individuals with REM sleep disorder. However, it can cause some side effects, including sleepiness, forgetfulness, and impaired balance in the morning. These findings have been confirmed in subsequent research; 30 percent of individuals with REM sleep disorder developed a Parkinsonian disorder or dementia within 3 years, and 66 percent did so within 7.5 years.

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