Involuntary Jerking While Asleep, What Could it be?
My husband (virtually every night) has involuntary jerking of his entire body. I have timed these jerks and they are every 10 seconds at its worst! They can go on for hours and it's driving me insane. After 4 hours or more I lose my patience and ask him to sleep in the spare room. I hate the fact we sleep apart but I suffer ME and being kept awake for so long means I can barely function some days.
Has this got a name? Is it a medical problem? I have read some stuff about this but not to the extent he is doing it. Three years ago he suffered a great deal of stress, could it be that?
The first thing to remember is that sleep is not the same as 'relaxation'. When you are alert but relaxing the muscles are relaxed and still. As soon as you fall asleep the mind is not controlling movement and you enter the different stages of sleep. We are all familiar with how the body moves when asleep and some people are more restless sleepers than others. Assuming that the restlessness and jerking is not causing any distress, this is nothing to be worried about and most people will be familiar with the experience of a jerk when they are drifting off to sleep.
Periodic Limb MovementsOf more concern would be Periodic Limb Movements, or Restless Leg Syndrome, which occurs mainly in the lower limbs and more frequently than an occasional jerk. Sleep Epilepsy also causes limb movements and other symptoms. If the jerking is causing distress or daytime fatigue, a visit to a GP will rule out any medical condition.
Look at the information in the Sleep Problems Category of this site and be assured that movement during sleep is normal and worry can keep you awake! The sleeping person is often unaware of the problem but it can keep a partner awake especially if they are concerned about their partner.
Visit Your GPIt would be helpful for both partners to check up on their sleeping habits and a visit to the GP will be useful in case there are any other underlying problems. Stress can have an impact on sleeping habits and last long after whatever triggered the stress has disappeared.
Moving beds in the middle of the night is not a long-term solution and with ME it is important that regular rest and sleep is obtained. If this is becoming a frequent occurrence, it may be a short-term solution to go to bed separately so that you both get a decent nights sleep occasionally. A cuddle in the morning will compensate for a few hours apart!
Check on your 'sleep hygiene' too – are you eating late at night and does your husband get enough exercise? Maybe there are a few changes you could make to encourage better sleep...
Make sleep your priority and get the help you need from your GP. Many people suffer for years before asking for help. Good luck!