Sleep Desorder

I am a Captain of a large yacht and spend alot of time at sea.I have found myself out side close to the edge of the boat on occasion. Previuos to this I had broke through a plate glass window and tried to get out. I was dreaming that the boat was sinking and I had to get out. I went through a sleep study then at Hoag Hospital in Newport beach. Unfortunately I never stayed around long enough to go through a treatment. I figured I would just live with it. I hope you receive this e-mail and and can give me a response. I am married and sometimes I worry that I will hurt my wife unintentionally.

I hope that if there are some new treatments you might write in response. Or if there is more information to be learned, where can I get this.


Our colleague R. L. seems to have a REM desorder, the 'dream sleep'disorder. When we are sleeping, we have an adaptative mechanism that protect us from ourselves or from injuries to other people. The same mechanisms of the brain stem that control the sleep processes of the forebrain also inhibit the spinal motor neurons, preventing the descending motor activity from expressing itself as actual movement.

People who act out during their dreams often sustain repetead injuries and even their brother, siters, spouses and husbands have fallen victims to their nocturnal failings. The basis for this REM disorder seems to be a disruption of the brain stem systems that normally mediate REM atonia.

Silvia Helena Cardoso, Psychobiologist

What is the point of suggesting treatment if you have already refused a treatment regimen based on your sleep study?

If this illness is so severe that you are afraid you might hurt your wife, and you have already gone through teh window of a boat, then perhaps you may even hurt her fatally. I strongly suggest you get immediate help. It is unconscionable not to do so, and should you actually kill your good wife, suspicious souls might argue that it was intentional, carefully planned, and that your 'sleep disorder' was a sham to provide yourself with an excuse.

Do something about this before a tragedy occurs. For starters, I suggest you call your wife in and show her this letter, so she can decide for herself if it is safe for her to remain in your company.

Sean OSullivan. M.D.

Copyright 1997 Universidade Estadual de Campinas