Lively Slumber
Nannette sent Dr. Phil a video message regarding the strange night-time behavior of her husband-to-be, Rick:
Hi Dr. Phil,
This is Nannette, and my fiancé has been having a lot of violent dreams. A few of have them kept me up very, very late. I get punched, and pushed and shoved. At one point, I was sleeping, and all of a sudden these hands come at me and woke me up very shockingly. I had four prints, one on each side of my chest. Could you help me explain what these dreams actually mean?
"Are his eyes open?" Dr. Phil asks Nannette of Rick's behavior.
"I don't see, usually, because it's dark. A lot of times, it's very physical things, but then very funny tings that he does," she replies. "His dreams usually start at 12:00 and go until 4:00. In that time frame is when it all happens."
[AD]"Do you ever talk to him while he's asleep?" Dr. Phil probes.
"I talk to him and ask him, ‘Honey, are you OK? What are you doing?'" she replies. She adds that her husband is a cyclist, so he often makes kicking motions with his feet.
"Do you ever wake him up?"
"I wake him up, because I'm thinking, What's going to happen next? Is it going to escalate?" Nannette answers.
Dr. Phil addresses Rick. "Do you wake up rested?" he asks.
"No," Rick responds. "I wake up, and I see her and my daughter's face looking at me."
Dr. Phil says there are a number of reasons behind Rick's behavior. "This could be just a dream cycle and a dream pattern that you're in, but it could be something that's more serious and has a medical basis to it," he says. "There's something called REM sleep behavior disorder. Rapid eye movement is the stage of sleep where it's very reparative, and it's a time where you're likely to dream, but you can have a disorder in there that could involve some type of neurological involvement."
[AD]Dr. Barrett weighs in. "This is serious. During REM sleep, we're normally paralyzed exactly so we don't act out our dreams," she says. "In a few people, that paralysis lessens, and people begin to act out their dreams. I would want to err on the side of caution and have you call a sleep clinic today to make an appointment."
"If this is something that has a neurological basis, a sleep disorder basis to it, you could hurt yourself or someone else purely by accident," Dr. Phil adds. "It is something for which there are remedies available."
"Sleep deprivation could be causing the brain chemistry issue. It might not be a disorder; it might just be that you need to learn how to get a really good night's sleep," says Cynthia.