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  Sweet dreams can be ruined by chocolate
Updated 04 April 2002, 13.14
Chocolate
Chocolate heaven can turn into a chocolate nightmare for people who suffer from a particular sleeping disorder, say scientists in the US.

  Click here for the choc-tastic quiz!

It's called rapid eye movement sleep behaviour disorder, or RBD, and usually affects around one in 200 people.

Thrashing

Sleeping can be a nightmare
Sleeping can be a nightmare

In RBD, sleepers thrash around violently and shout as they dream.

And chocolate has been found to trigger it off in people who already suffer from it, making bedtime worse for RBD sufferers.

The choccie scientists have been able to prove this by studying people in special sleep labs.

Usually people are naturally paralysed when they dream in a process called "atonia". This is the body's way of preventing injury when asleep.

But the scientists found caffeine in chocolate blocks atonia which means the sleeper can act out their nightmares.

The scientists say if you don't already have the disorder there is no need to give away your choccies!

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