Sleep Myoclonus

Sleep Myoclonus – Research & Treatments

What Is Sleep Myoclonus?

Myoclonus is a brief twitching of the muscles that occurs when you’re asleep, and can occur separately or in groups, as well as in a sequence or at random. Sleep Myoclonus may be a sign of other nervous system disorders including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Myoclonus is manifest by sudden jerks or contractions of the muscles, and also of the muscles uncontracting or relaxing after contraction.

Sleep Disorders Related To Sleep Myoclonus

Sleep myoclonus is a form of Myoclonus which occurs during sleep, usually in the stage just before deep sleep. Also known as a hypnic jerk or hypnagogic jerk, Sleep myoclonus will rarely disturb the subject or bed partner to the point of waking and disrupting sleep, but may indicate the presence of sleep related findings or disorders such as restless legs syndrome and Periodic Leg Movement during Sleep (PLMS).

What Are The Common Symptoms & Impacts

A common form of myoclonus during wake is hiccups, which are quick contractions affecting the diaphragm. Myoclonus, especially sleep myoclonus in particular, are not harmful or life threatening, though some of the more complex forms of myoclonus may indicate the presence of other potential nervous system issues.

Sleep myoclonus primarily affects the fingers, toes, lips and eyes, and is often barely perceptible to anyone watching the person in their sleep. Sleep myoclonus has been shown to have some connection to stimulus- sensitive myoclonus, whereby contractions may be caused or increased by environmental factors such as light, sound or movement.

Why Am I Twitching While I Am Sleeping?

Myoclonus has been connected to several areas of the brain, and in many cases stimulus-sensitive myoclonus has been shown to be an overreaction of the brain in areas that control movement in response to startling events. Myoclonus is actually fairly common in individuals.

Treatment For Sleep Myoclonus

Myoclonus on its own does not necessarily require any treatment, but if someone with myoclonus is exhibiting unaccountable symptoms of insomnia, it may be necessary to look into it further. The first step should be to rule out any other sleeping disorders that could be causing the problem by taking an overnight sleep study. The polysomnogram will not only detect any other possible sleeping disorders, but may also indicate whether the myoclonus itself is causing restless sleep.

Treatment for myoclonus is centered on medications which relax the muscles and inhibit contraction. Clonazepam is a commonly issued drug for sleep myoclonus, and when taken near bedtime has the added benefit of causing drowsiness. For this reason it should only be taken before bed, and not as a cure for myoclonus during waking hours. The body may also develop a tolerance for the drug and lessen its usefulness, so the more sparingly it is used, the greater the length of time it will remain useful. Sodium valproate can be used separately or in conjunction with clonazepam to treat myoclonus as well.

Other treatments may also improve other nervous system disorders that may be present during sleep in addition to myoclonus. These include barbiturates, phenytoin and primidone.

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  • Hi I'm Jennifer Backfisch my boyfriend says I twitch so bad that he can't sleep I have no idea how long this has been going on but I don't sleep very well at nights. I have no ideal what to do please help me.

  • I have been having these shudders for two weeks now. I can't sleep because of this. As soon as I am falling asleep my body trembles. Sometimes it's legs sometimes whole body. I am going through lot of stress right now so I think that might be the cause. But nowadays you don't know what it could be.

  • My fiancee has been twitching as she tries to fall asleep and it's progressively getting worse. It used to be a little twitch here and there then a bit more and now it's full blown she's basically flopping around popping herself awake every 15 seconds or so, with tongue clicks and her whole body spasming out of control. She sleeps very little and im sure this is why. Im worried that it's a symptom of something neurological thats never been diagnosed nor treated! I'd love for her to be able to sleep well for a change!

  • Hi Any one with experience of this kind of jerks are so starbon I can't fall asleep plz. Help me which kind of medical should use to comfort my sleep.
    Write on emmadidas @gmail.com

  • Hi I'm Isaac Sutton, and I'm 13 years old (going to be 14 on March 16), recently I have to get up at 7:00 in the morning to catch my bus but I keep over sleeping because it takes me forever to get to sleep. I don't accually know when it started but what I end up doing is if I'm stressed or just trying to sleep my neck, thy, calf,leg and foot have a little twitch randomly but it'll be with a minute and I don't know what could have caused it. It is starting to effect my school work and my life in general, on a weekend 11am is early for me because it takes me so long to get to sleep, most of the time I don't even get my 8 hours of sleep I should be getting every night. Please help me to see if this is an illness or anything that I should see the doctor about.

  • I babysit my grandson that is 3yrs old . He nap's every afternoon and as soon as he fall's asleep he give's a big jerk sometimes twice it doesn't wake him up . He sleeps good but that jerk he does when he first falls to sleep scares me . He only does it when he first fall's to sleep .

  • I am 55, I have been told that my lower torso trembles when I am sleeping, it doesn't wake me up, I don't tremble while awake, though I remembered I complained to my dad of hands trembling @ 20 yrs, later no longer noticeable. My Son has restless legs while awake. What Is happening?

  • I am 70 and just started with violet twitches mostly when I lay down I have tried magnesium cherry juice apple cider vinegar turmeric and then my doc put me on ropinerol from 1 to 5 tablets a day and sometimes it makes them twitch mire and then added cybalta I hate the side affects listed I don't take any other pills but bp so it cant be withdrawals I am on a cpap but only can get a couple hrs sleep on it because I have to get up and walk also I get very dry mouth please help

  • I am 40 years last one year i suffer in sleep myoclonus twitching head in sleep, full night my head jerk and disturbing my sleep.pls told anyone remedy.

  • If you have some mild twitches upon falling asleep it is nothing to worry about and quite common. But if you having tremors to the degree I have, then you need medication, specifically Propanalol or Clonozepam. I have had these tremors, sometimes called Essential or Benign Tremors, for 2 years and when they began I thought I was going to go crazy because I couldn’t ever stay asleep due to the extreme tremors. I can either take 40mg of Propanalol which will keep me asleep for 4 hours or 1/2mg of Clonozepam and I’ll stay asleep the whole night. Clonozepam can be addictive, but I haven’t had any problems and have maintained taking 1/2mg 15 min before bedtime for the past 2 years without increasing the amount. Hope this helps someone!