Do I have a sleep disorder if I cannot obtain REM sleep?

I have recently experienced some strange behavior during sleeping. It’s usually happening when I take a nap; my body goes to sleep, and I doze off, but I don't pass to REM sleep. My mind remains awake, and I can't move my body. But it doesn't seem like sleep paralysis, since until now I haven't "seen" any scary creatures or aliens. I just try really hard to wake up, and when I do it, I feel really tired, go back to sleep and the same pattern happens again. Could you please give me some advice on how to improve my condition? Thank you very much!

Doctors Answers (2)

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 9/4/2012 8

To assess your problem of involuntary movements in REM sleep or any other sleep stage you need to have an attended polysomnogram with vidomonitoring and then evaluation of the study to determine if treatment is then necessary.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 9/4/2012 8

Yes, the absence of REM sleep would be considered a sleep disorder. You may be confusing REM sleep with Non REM sleep. The fact that you are paralyzed while awake certainly sounds as though you are experiencing the atonia (loss of muscle tone) which is present during REM sleep. A commoon misconception is that REM sleep is the deepest sleep when, in fact, it is a very light stage of sleep from which you are easily aroused. Dreams are most common in REM sleep but may occur in Non REM sleep. We usually assume, however, that one has acheived REM sleep if they report dreaming. There are medications which can help induce REM sleep. You should report these symptoms to you physician who can refer you to a sleep specialist.