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Question 14

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Question 14 - Help, SRED with sleep study showing low REM sleep.

From: TC


Recently my daughter (23 years old) went in for her second sleep study, The results of both studies showed no apnea, narcolepsy, rls etc. It did however show extremely decreased (11%) REM on the first study and no REM on the second (including none on the 5 naps they had her stay and do the next day.)

We are becoming extremely concerned as about every 1-2 weeks she will get up and eat in her sleep. No one has any answers for us. This is destroying her life and her health.

She has gained 30 lbs, is constantly falling asleep during the day and has had to leave school. We have been to a family doctor, a sleep doctor, and a neurologist so far. Is there any advice, help, point us in a better direction,

ANYTHING you can give us.

Answer Provided by Sandman
April. 22, 2008

If the sleep lab didn't give you a diagnosis for the eating problem, it is a parasomnia related to sleepwalking called SRED (sleep related eating disorder). There are various medications that are used to treat it but none that is found to work for everyone that I am aware of.

If she is sleepwalking, totally unaware of the episode, alarms on the bedroom door and special locks and alarms for the refrigerator and cabinets are available and should be used at night. Sleepwalking occurs during deep, slow wave, sleep.

Gaining weight and falling asleep during the day point to another sleep disorder. Probably a sleep related breathing disorder (SRBD), especially with the weight gain. SRED once every two weeks shouldn't cause weight gain. A SRBDr could cause weight gain with sleepiness and the sleep lab may have missed UARS (upper airway resistance syndrome) which is best detected by placing a tube through the nose and into the esophagus.

Some labs do this regularly, many don't and it is necessary to make the correct diagnosis. Many labs miss it totally. UARS can have the same and sometime even more severe symptoms than full blown sleep apnea.

The most common cause for a low REM sleep percentage is a SRBD. During REM (dreaming) sleep we lose muscle tone. Without muscle tone lose we would act out our dreams. The loss in muscle tone can decrease the size of the airway and effort to breath resulting in a SRBD.

The most common treatments for SRBD/UARS are CPAP or surgery. You may want to get a second opinion at a different accredited sleep lab and ask them if they test for UARS. Again I am not a doc, this is my opinion.

Best wishes and Sweet dreams,


Disclaimer, I am not an MD and my opinions should not be taken as medical advice. If you feel that you need assistance with medications and/or diagnosis, you should seek medical advice from a qualified physician.

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