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Old 08-07-2022, 07:13 PM
Location: Midwest
7,113 posts, read 9,143,323 times
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Originally Posted by movinon View Post
Unfortunately I do have experience with this.

The first time it happened with my now-deceased significant other (SO for short), he did the screaming, thrashing, fighting thing. He grabbed for my throat but got my pinkie finger instead as I leaped from the bed, dislocating the finger. When I asked him about it, he said he had terrible nightmares and saw someone standing at the end of the bed who was going to kill him. In his mind, he was fighting for his life. He spent the rest of that night and all subsequent nights of our ultimately 5-year relationship sleeping in the guest room. When we traveled we always got two beds but we didn't travel until he was successfully on medication for it.

I later learned from his kids that he'd done this with his ex-wife and nearly strangled her to death. We met in our 60's and were only together for a few months when this first occurred.

I didn't wait for a second time and hustled him off to the sleep doctor for a sleep study where he was diagnosed with REM sleep disorder. You're right that it can be connected to dementia, although at the time neither of us knew what was coming down the road. His dad had become "peculiar" as he got older and did some thoughtless, impetuous things that the family just thought were "just dad/grandpa". I never knew his parents so I have no firsthand knowledge. Anyway, the sleep doctor told us to put furniture in front of windows so he wouldn't/couldn't jump out as REM patients have been known to do that, and do not keep knives or guns or anything that could be turned into a weapon in the house. Cooking implements, including cooking forks, skewers, ice picks, etc., fell into that category. The doctor also suggested alarms on doors and windows or some kind of barricade. Do you have a balcony on your condo? I'd be really concerned about that, although I don't have any ideas on what to do about it, except to make certain he can't get out there during the night.

SO was put on Klonopin which did help to a point. However, he did have breakthrough moments when he, for example, broke the entire bed frame of the guest room bed with his acting out. Time for a dosage change, which the doctor did and which helped.

As you've probably read, REM sleep disorder can be a part of or precursor to Lewy Body Dementia, Parkinson's Disease, and in my SO's case, Frontotemporal Dementia. Is there any doctor in your area who can help you with this? I realize there are limitations where you live, but is there a bigger city nearby where you could get some help? Believe me, you can't handle this on your own.

I wish I had better news but unfortunately I don't. It's just finding the management tools that keep both of you safe. I wish you all the best with this. It can be a real challenge, as you're sadly finding out.
Holy moly. I have never heard of this stuff. Scary.

Not that it would be a lot of help, but in the FWIW Department I bought an Oura ring a few months ago. It supposedly gives readouts of REM, deep, and light sleep. It's interesting to see but I don't know a lot about that.
One odd piece of my particular data is that at night, I get lots or REM, and during daytime naps I go into long stable periods of deep sleep.

How does Oura determine deep sleep?
While you sleep, the sensors sample your pulse 250 times per second to track both the strength of your heartbeat and your heart rate variability. From this, Oura's algorithms derive insights about your sleep quality – for instance, tracking when you are in stages of light, deep or REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.Jun 18, 2019
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Old 08-07-2022, 11:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Sand&Salt View Post
Thanks, Terry. What did your family do about these episodes, if anything? All his life, that's scary.
My parents got twin beds and put a nightstand between them because he was afraid of hurting my mom. Once my dad jumped on a piece of furniture thinking it was a burglar and got a black eye. It went away in his 50’s.

When I was married we had a king size bed and put up some big pillows between us because I had punched my husband in the head while having a nightmare. Once I reached over the pillows. I didn’t want to go on medication because I read that they paralyzed you while you slept because they are heavy duty psychiatric medications. I did eliminate alcohol thinking I would sleep better and it helped. Mine disappeared in my 30’s and came back in my early 60’s. It’s gone again hopefully for good.
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Old 08-08-2022, 10:55 AM
Location: Anchorage
1,342 posts, read 943,235 times
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Originally Posted by Sand&Salt View Post
Thanks, Guido. You always have good info. We've never taken sleeping pills but I hear about Ambien being so effective. Is that not the case?

Although, I am doubtful we can get any of these kind of drugs here. But I will look into it.

Be careful with Ambien. When my wife was taking it she would sometimes get out of bed at night and do stuff without remembering any of it. Scariest was when she would try to cook in her sleep. Some of the things she made would have been comical except for the fact that she could have really hurt herself or set the house on fire.
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Old 08-08-2022, 11:58 AM
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^^^^ I've heard about things like that happening. Cooking, though, yikes! I knew a woman who was taking Ambien and who would get up and create oil paintings during the night with absolutely no recollection of doing so. Funny thing is that she had no inclination to paint during the day - the painting supplies belonged to her daughter. They were pretty good too and at least not hazardous.
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