Clinical identification of the simple sleep-related movement disorders

Chest. 2007 Apr;131(4):1260-6. doi: 10.1378/chest.06-1602.


Simple sleep-related movement disorders must be distinguished from daytime movement disorders that persist during sleep, sleep-related epilepsy, and parasomnias, which are generally characterized by activity that appears to be simultaneously complex, goal-directed, and purposeful but is outside the conscious awareness of the patient and, therefore, inappropriate. Once it is determined that the patient has a simple sleep-related movement disorder, the part of the body affected by the movement and the age of the patient give clues as to which sleep-related movement disorder is present. In some cases, all-night polysomnography with accompanying video may be necessary to make the diagnosis. Hypnic jerks (ie, sleep starts), bruxism, rhythmic movement disorder (ie, head banging/body rocking), and nocturnal leg cramps are discussed in addition to less well-appreciated disorders such as benign sleep myoclonus of infancy, excessive fragmentary myoclonus, and hypnagogic foot tremor/alternating leg muscle activation.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Electromyography
  • Humans
  • Nocturnal Paroxysmal Dystonia* / diagnosis
  • Nocturnal Paroxysmal Dystonia* / etiology
  • Nocturnal Paroxysmal Dystonia* / physiopathology
  • Polysomnography
  • Prognosis