Show Summary Details
Page of

Sleep-related Movement Disorders 

Sleep-related Movement Disorders
Sleep-related Movement Disorders

Paul J. Reading

Page of

PRINTED FROM OXFORD MEDICINE ONLINE ( © Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in Oxford Medicine Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 21 October 2021

As in many areas of sleep medicine, it is often a challenge deciding whether or not movements during sleep reflect truly abnormal nocturnal phenomenona or are simply physiological variants. Indeed, when asleep, subconscious shifts of body position occurring every 15 minutes or so are considered entirely normal, as are minor jerks of the extremities and face, particularly during periods of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. However, if nocturnal movements are observed to be excessive, violent, or arousing, either to the subject or bed partner, they will usually indicate a defined disorder, especially if the events are stereotypic through the night. Although the second edition of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD) was revised in 2005 to include a new section dedicated to movement disorders occurring specifically during the state of sleep, diagnostic precision of such phenomena is often lacking and evidenced-based treatment protocols, when indicated, are poorly developed. Furthermore, if a sleep-related movement disorder is recognized, it can be very difficult to determine its true clinical significance for sleep quality and subsequent daytime wakefulness, especially in the elderly patient.

This chapter addresses those movement disorders that are intimately or exclusively related to the state of sleep or the sleep–wake transition. By convention, parasomnias causing abnormal arousals from deep non-REM sleep, such as sleepwalking or night terrors, will not be covered, although restless legs syndrome is discussed, partly because of its close association with periodic limb movements during sleep.

Access to the complete content on Oxford Medicine Online requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site and view the abstracts for each book and chapter without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.