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Acting Out Dreams While Asleep

Some people act out their dreams while asleep. They may punch, kick or yell. This sleep problem is called REM sleep behavior disorder or RBD. RBD can be a risk factor for some brain diseases. Our landmark study is examining this connection and planning for Parkinson’s prevention. Join PPMI today.

  • Diagnosed with RBD

    If you have been diagnosed with REM sleep behavior disorder, you can play a critical role in our landmark study. Call 866-525-PPMI or email ppmistudy@michaeljfox.org to speak with the study team. 

  • Not Diagnosed with RBD

    If you experience symptoms of REM sleep behavior disorder — such as punching, kicking, or yelling while asleep — but do not have an official diagnosis, you can share valuable information online.

Know Your Risk for Parkinson's: What's the connection between sleep and brain disease?
 

Narrated by comedian and actor Mike Birbiglia, this video sheds light on RBD's connection to Parkinson's.

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 866-525-PPMI or email joinppmi@michaeljfox.org.

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

Are you a site looking to request materials? Email joinppmi@michaeljfox.org.

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