Sleep-related rhythmic movement disorder
Rhythmic movements in sleep are repetitive motions seen during drowsiness and sleep. At nine months of age, 59% of all infants have one of the following rhythmic movements: body rocking, head banging and head rolling. Rolling of the legs or whole body or leg banging can also be seen. Your child may also hum softly with these movements. Most movements resolve by the age of 5 years.
These movements become a problem if they disturb your child’s sleep or result in injuries, and may require treatment with a medication.
Occasionally, an underlying condition may cause these movements. For instance, children with sleep apnea, may get up on their knees and hands while rocking their body. If these movements occur for the first time in older children and adults, there is frequently underlying autism or mental disorder.
Sleep starts or hypnic jerks are sudden contractions of one or more body parts seen while falling asleep or during night-time awakenings. They may be associated with a sense of falling, flash of light, sleep hallucination (seeing, hearing or feeling something that is not there), or a sharp cry.
Hypnic jerks are very common (seen in 60-70% of people) and occur in all age groups. They are more frequent when you do not sleep enough or have irregular sleep-wake schedules.
Sleep starts become bothersome when they are frequent and cause difficulty falling asleep and staying asleep, and can lead to anxiety or fear of sleep. Your kicks can also disturb your partner.
Similar jerks are occasionally seen during the daytime (especially when you are dozing off), spontaneously or in response to a loud noise. This condition is known as ‘startle response’ or ‘hyperekplexia syndrome’, when it is severe.
Leg cramps are painful contractions of the leg or foot that occur when you are lying down at night. You may be awake or asleep. This occurs more frequently on days when you are standing a lot (surgeons during long surgeries, cashiers).
The best way to relieve these cramps is to forcefully stretch and hold the affected muscles. For instance, if your foot is flexed during a cramp, then slowly extend your foot, and hold it. If these cramps are occurring frequently, practice stretching for a few minutes before going to bed each night.
Propriospinal Myoclonus of Sleep Onset (PSMSO)
PSMOs are sudden jerks of the trunk, neck and limbs, which occur while trying to fall asleep. They can be single or occur in clusters. Starting in the trunk, they spread to the neck, arms and legs. The jerks can be very uncomfortable and cause trouble falling asleep. They are usually benign, but when they occur during the daytime, a spinal lesion may be seen 16-20% of the time.
If you are worried about movements during sleep,
make an appointment with AMARA Sleep today