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I’m Dr. Janne Nissinen, a board certified neurologist.
Please note that this is an information request and does not substitute an in person visit to a physician or an official diagnostic process. The advice given here is for information purposes only.
A few more questions:
How old is your husband? Does he have any memory problems? Does he shuffle when he walks? Does he fall while walking? Does he have any tremors in his hands or legs?
To me it sounds like he has what is called "REM sleep behavior disorder" or RBD for short. It's a condition in which the person acts out their dreams. Normally an individual is functionally paralyzed in REM sleep (the stage of sleep we dream in) so that we do not act out our dreams. When this system fails and there is no paralysis, the person can act our their dreams, often in a violent matter which in turn can lead to injuries to themselves and their partner.
To formally diagnose the disorder, he will need a sleep study to document it and have him observed overnight. It is a treatable condition with certain medications.
Sometime the disorder is associated with parkinson's disease or other neurodegenerative diseases but can start 20 years before other symptoms occur or it can simply remain an isolated disorder.