Movement Disorders During Sleep

When it comes to sleep, it isn’t always easy. In addition to general insomnia, the things we eat, drink, and do during the day can play a role in how well or poorly we sleep at night. There are also some movement-related syndromes that can affect people when they are sleeping or trying to sleep.

Periodic Limb Movement Disorder

Often associated with Restless Leg Syndrome (also known as RLS), if your legs move uncontrollably every 20 to 40 seconds while you are in the midst of sleep, you might be experiencing this disorder.

Restless Leg Syndrome

This syndrome often gets worse as people age. It can sometimes be attributed to some medications, and it’s not surprising that both caffeine and alcohol can play a role. Someone suffering from this will feel “restless”, experiencing an urge to move their legs. This often occurs while the person is trying to relax, such as when sleeping. It is believed that in the US about 10% of adults experience this condition.

Sleep Bruxism

To put it simply, this condition is teeth grinding during sleep, though it could also be clenching of the jaw. There are a slew of reasons why a person might experience this phenomenon, including but not limited to, sleep apnea, medications, and even stress or anxiety.

Sleep Paralysis

This can be described as the inability to move while sleeping, typically occurring when a person is going from a state of wakefulness to a state of being asleep. It can happen both while you are trying to fall asleep and during the period when you are waking up. Many who experience sleep paralysis only have isolated occurrences, and it is rarely something that needs treatment.

Sleep Rhythmic Movement

Most often witnessed in children, this disorder involves either body rocking, headbanging, or head rolling, though it can also include leg or body rolling or leg banging. Though many children might exhibit these behaviors, it would only be diagnosed when the behaviors are to a point where sleep is disrupted due to it or bodily injury is experienced.

Sleep Leg Cramping

Many people suffer intense pain when they are trying to sleep, especially in the leg or foot. This pain can come while sleeping or awake, and the onset is often uncontrollable. Stretching the leg muscles can help with cramping.

As always, if you believe that you might have the symptoms of, or if you believe you are suffering from, any of these ailments, you should discuss your condition with your medical professional. Together you can create a plan of action that can assist you in combating these symptoms to bring you towards relief.



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