Sleep Myoclonus

Sleep myoclonus is a condition wherein sudden jerking of muscles occur during sleep. This generally happens during the sleep stage which comes just before the person falls into deep sleep.
The following article gives a brief description on sleep myoclonus condition. Read to know the condition in detail.

Myoclonus is a brief, sudden, involuntary jerking movements of muscles. When these movements happen during sleep, the condition is referred as sleep myoclonus. This condition can rarely disturb the sleep of a person but, it raises the risk of developing serious sleep problems such as restless sleep syndrome, later in life. It even affects the fingers, toes, eyes and lips.
Sleep Myoclonus

Causes of Sleep Myoclonus

Sleep myoclonus is a symptom, but not a disease as such. It happens during REM sleep and is provoked by stimulus. This means the contractions or jerking movements are caused or increased by environmental factors like sound, light or movement.

Symptoms of Sleep Myoclonus

People suffering from sleep myoclonus experience the following symptoms:

  • Rapid contraction and relaxation of muscles
  • Hypic jerks or hiccups while drifting off to sleep
  • Jerks in arms or legs

Sleep Myoclonus in Children

Even children experience sudden jerking movements during sleep. Both the sides of the body are affected and child faces sudden twists. Bending movements occur in elbows, wrists, fingers and even in feet. Most of the parents mistake this condition to be infantile spasm or seizure attack. But, this condition does not cause any harm to children.

Sleep Myoclonus in Newborns – Benign Neonatal Sleep Myoclonus

This condition was first observed in infants by Coulter and Allen in the year 1982. This was also mistaken as seizures. Newborns experience sudden and light jerky movements of the extremities during deep sleep. But, this condition slowly diminishes as the central nervous system undergoes maturity in newborns.

Sleep Myoclonus Treatment

Treatment is rarely required as the condition is not that big a concern. This condition is generally tested to diagnose any underlying neurological disorder. However, the condition may not always indicate serious neurological disorders or any other health complications. But, it is advisable to consult your physician if you or your child experiences sleep myoclonus.

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