Sleeptalking and related topics


You would not believe the dreams I have. My nights are an adventure. A series of weird episodes. Some scary. Some sad. Some mundane. I wake a lot in the night now, and according to my sleep monitor, I only get around 30 minutes of deep sleep at the most each night. The rest of the time, I'm the actor in a series of nightmarish parodies, a kaleidescope of events and imagined situations. I started talking in my sleep some time ago, but last night saw a worrying escalation, in that my wife tells me that I kept up a commentary on and off for most of the night. Mumbling, moaning and babbling incoherent nonsense.


I knew I'd been doing it. I woke up a lot in the night twitching (I do that a lot nowadays too), and somehow, I got the feeling that I'd been shouting out in real time some of the things I'd been dreaming about. Lo and behold - it turned out to be true. As my dreams become more lucid, I become more immersed in them and more liable to shout, cry or lash out. I read somewhere that these characteristics, called Dream-Enactment Behavior or DEB, are symptomatic of REM sleep behavior disorder. I have also read that the medication I take to try and slow down the degeneration of my memory (Donepezil) my be to blame - who knows? What I DO know is that it can be very scary for anyone who hears it.

A couple of weeks ago, my grandaugher (Emily 15) came to stay for a week. Pam was out at work on a sleepover. During the night, Emily was woken by my shouts, even though she was sleeping on a futon in our lounge, and there were two solid closed doors between us. I think I scared her quite badly. As I recall I was being chased in my dream and was shouting out for help. Poor Emily. She knocked on the bedroom door and woke me. I apologised and explained that there was nothing to worry about, but I know she was worried and shaken. I'd like to know if my experience is common amongst people with dementia. If you have any insight or personal story to tell, please post it. It will help me to understand.

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