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Acting Out Dreams While Asleep

Some people act out their dreams while asleep. They may punch, kick, yell or even fall out of bed. This sleep problem, called REM sleep behavior disorder, is a risk factor for some brain diseases, including Parkinson's. Our landmark Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) is examining this connection. Join the study today. Call 877-525-PPMI or email to learn more.

What Is REM Sleep Behavior Disorder?

Normally when we dream, our brain prevents our muscles from moving. In some, these brain signals don’t work properly, and a person moves while dreaming. This is REM sleep behavior disorder (RBD). People with RBD often have very active dreams in which they’re playing sports, running, or even being chased or attacked.

What Is the RBD and Parkinson's Connection?

RBD is a risk factor for Parkinson's and other brain diseases. Not everyone with RBD gets Parkinson’s disease. But in some people, RBD is one of the earliest symptoms of Parkinson's. 

What Study Is Looking at RBD and Parkinson's?

The Parkinson's Progression Markers Initiative is recruiting people with RBD. PPMI is a landmark study sponsored by The Michael J. Fox Foundation. It aims to better understand and measure Parkinson's disease, including before movement symptoms begin. This information could lead to new treatments.  

Through PPMI, scientists also could learn more about the biology and experience of RBD. 

To learn more and get started, call 877-525-PPMI or email

Join the study that could change everything

Resources to Learn More

  • Screen icon with play symbol

    Watch a Video

    In this Ask the MD video, Rachel Dolhun, MD, speaks with a couple about their experience with RBD.

  • magazine icon with orange circle backdrop

    Download a Guide

    In this guide, we explain three things to know about Parkinson’s risk if you or a loved one act out dreams while asleep. 

  • Computer icon

    View a Webinar

    In this webinar, expert panelists discuss common sleep problems and tips for managing them. 

"I am hopeful that my participation in studies like PPMI can serve as my contribution to this vitally needed research and can hopefully over time lead to true scientifically proven cures and prevention strategies.”
Brian Duggan, 67, Mill Valley, CA Lives with RBD

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