Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

There has been increasing concern about the long-term impact of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) as evidenced by anecdotal case reports of acute-onset parkinsonism and the polysomnographic feature of increased rapid eye movement sleep electromyographic activity. This study aimed to determine the prevalence and correlates of dream-enactment behaviours, a hallmark of rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder, which is a prodrome of α-synucleinopathy. This online survey was conducted between May and August 2020 in 15 countries/regions targeting adult participants (aged ≥18 years) from the general population with a harmonised structured questionnaire on sleep patterns and disorders, COVID-19 diagnosis and symptoms. We assessed dream-enactment behaviours using the Rapid Eye Movement Sleep Behaviour Disorder Single-Question Screen with an additional question on their frequency. Among 26,539 respondents, 21,870 (82.2%) answered all items that were analysed in this study (mean [SD] age 41.6 [15.8] years; female sex 65.5%). The weighted prevalence of lifetime and weekly dream-enactment behaviours was 19.4% and 3.1% and were found to be 1.8- and 2.9-times higher in COVID-19-positive cases, respectively. Both lifetime and weekly dream-enactment behaviours were associated with young age, male sex, smoking, alcohol consumption, higher physical activity level, nightmares, COVID-19 diagnosis, olfactory impairment, obstructive sleep apnea symptoms, mood, and post-traumatic stress disorder features. Among COVID-19-positive cases, weekly dream-enactment behaviours were positively associated with the severity of COVID-19. Dream-enactment behaviours are common among the general population during the COVID-19 pandemic and further increase among patients with COVID-19. Further studies are needed to investigate the potential neurodegenerative effect of COVID-19.

Original publication

DOI

10.1111/jsr.13613

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Sleep Res

Publication Date

26/04/2022

Keywords

coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19), dream-enactment behaviour, neurodegeneration, prevalence, rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder (RBD)