Shuddering in a dream: causes, symptoms, myoclonic seizures, possible diseases, doctor's advice and preventive measures

Healthy sleep is the key to good health. With it, various symptoms may appear that may indicate health problems. The causes of trembling in a dream and the treatment measures of this condition are described in the article.

Physiological movements

Muscle activity appears during the transition of sleep from one stage to another. The stages have a difference in the different activity of the cells of the nervous and muscle systems. Phases do not immediately change, and muscle twitches are a phase conflict. These movements appear during the transition from the stage of slow sleep to fast.

startle in a dream

Everyone at least once noticed that with an uncomfortable pose in the limbs there is numbness, "goosebumps", tingling. The reason is a violation of blood flow. The body has receptors that respond to a decrease in blood flow. They send an impulse to the central nervous system, which leads to muscle contraction and a change in body position. With impaired blood flow, jerking appears in bed patients, in these cases, kneading muscles or performing massage is required.

Due to strong physical exertion and stress, involuntary movements appear before bedtime . After active work, the muscles are not able to completely relax. The impulses that the brain sends lead to twitching, relieve tension and allow you to sleep.

Hypnagogic tremors

There are theories about the causes of jerking in sleep in adults and children. Often this is due to the excitation and contraction of muscle fibers. Shudders appear due to:

  1. Strong emotional, psychological or physical stress throughout the day, from which the muscles are not able to relax. The brain gives an impulse to relaxation, as a result, the whole body shudders, so the person wakes up.
  2. The transition from one phase of sleep to another. If vigorous activity was carried out before going to bed, a person will have thoughts for some time on unsolved problems. The brain will work actively. As a result, when sleep is in a slow phase, and the activity of the brain and muscles decreases, a start occurs.
  3. Inadequate blood circulation in the legs in adults due to uncomfortable posture. With convulsions, the nervous system provokes a change in body position, which is why the legs start.
  4. Reactions to a strong external irritant.
jerking in a dream in adults

Muscle contractions are not dangerous to humans. Doctors call them hypnagogic; they appear in many people. They arise when a strong excitation of nerve fibers going to a particular muscle occurs simultaneously. May appear in any part of the body.

Myoclonic cramps

Myoclonic tremors in sleep are special, as they can indicate chronic ailments. The type of contractions will be determined by the characteristic symptoms:

  1. Uneven trembling of the body or limb occurs.
  2. Seizures occur during the night.
  3. Gradually, the jerking in a dream becomes stronger, more often.
  4. The muscle groups involved in the twitching change.

Myoclonic tremors in a dream are physiological and pathological:

  1. The first appear with a sharp noise or touching the sleeping person. In addition to inconvenience, these shudders do not threaten health.
  2. The latter develops only under the influence of specific factors. To eliminate them, you need treatment.

A person is able to wake up many times from a start, regularly feel night attacks, after a long night's rest in the morning wake up with fatigue. Symptoms include:

  1. Oxygen starvation of the brain.
  2. Degenerative-dystrophic changes.
  3. Mental and nervous ailments.
  4. Epileptic impulses.

Shivering in sleep is often observed in the elderly, as well as after stroke and neurosurgical operations, as well as in patients who have been taking sedatives for a long time. If you fail to establish in time the causes that lead to this condition, and also do not eliminate them, then gradually this can lead to sleep disturbance and insomnia.


Sleep tremors in adults and children can be associated with heart failure, iron deficiency, peripheral nervous system diseases, tumors, genetics, and pregnancy. It will be possible to identify the cause after performing the examinations. Often this phenomenon is observed when:

  1. Obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, snoring. The brain has a reaction to the cessation of oxygen in the form of a sharp contraction of muscles, leading to the awakening and restoration of normal breathing.
  2. Restless legs syndrome. This phenomenon is observed if the patient feels frequent tingling sensations that appear on the arms and trunk. Sometimes there is a desire to urgently stretch your legs, move. These symptoms are associated with a malfunction of the dopaminergic system, which lead to depression, pathological aggressiveness, impotence. In this case, you need to consult a neurologist.
  3. Nocturnal epilepsy. This is a rare occurrence. Seizures occur when the patient falls asleep.
  4. Paroxysmal dystonia. In this case, sharp spontaneous movements of the legs appear. They are observed both during sleep and upon awakening.
causes of startle in sleep

There are trembling in a dream in infants, and this can be due to both an ailment and extraneous factors. In any case, you should consult a doctor to determine the causes and prescribe therapeutic measures.


If there are symptoms of these ailments that lead to sleep disturbance, you should consult a doctor. He will perform additional research to make a diagnosis. An excellent result is provided by a polysomnograph examination. This device records muscle contractions during sleep, which allows you to make an accurate diagnosis.

jerking in a dream in children


When there is a start at bedtime or during its period, then it will not be superfluous to consult a doctor. The specialist will provide recommendations on the daily routine, nutrition, lifestyle correction, taking into account the human condition. Their observance will improve sleep, as well as get rid of night tremors.

How to get rid?

If the reason is pathological, then you can’t get rid of the problem yourself. You need to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.

jerking in a dream in adults causes

If twitching occurs due to physiological or external causes, then these manifestations should be eliminated by following the following recommendations:

  1. Limit strong physical exertion. Do not overload the body with complex monotonous work. If this is impossible to accomplish, it is important to rest more, to use protective equipment - supporting belts, corsets. Strong physical exertion before bedtime is harmful - they must be excluded.
  2. Be calmer and more balanced. Do not allow stresses, depressions. If you can’t fix the problems yourself, you need to visit a psychologist and undergo the necessary course of therapy.
  3. Provide complete rest at night. Blackout curtains help. High-quality sound insulation, comfortable thermal conditions.
  4. Take multivitamin complexes. Often twitches appear due to a deficiency of minerals, trace elements and vitamins. Vitamin-mineral complexes should be taken regularly, especially during an acute shortage of useful components - in autumn, winter and spring.

Recommendations for a restful sleep

Many people all over the world suffer from sleep problems. But, if you follow simple tips, you can improve the quality of rest and well-being:

  1. Sleep should be given 8 hours. It is important to allocate time rationally. Some things can be left in the morning, what to do with them at night.
  2. It is important to normalize circadian rhythms. Lie down and get up at the same time. It is best to go to bed no later than 22 hours. If it is difficult to fall asleep at this time, it is advisable to skip daytime sleep, but sleep well at night.
  3. Moderation in everything is required. Throughout the waking time you should not overload yourself physically and emotionally, you need regular breaks.
  4. Diet correction required. Eating at night is bad. Dinner should be 3 hours before bedtime. Do not eat fatty, fried, harmful dishes. Instead, vegetables, fruits, juices are suitable. Food should be fractional, at least 5 times a day in small portions. At night, do not drink coffee and black tea.
  5. Before going to bed, it is useful to perform relaxation activities. This is a walk, not more than half an hour, a warm shower or bath with aromatherapy, massage.
  6. It is required to provide a good microclimate and bed. It is useful to sleep in a comfortable bed with an orthopedic mattress and pillow, a blanket and bed linen. The temperature in the bedroom should be within 18 degrees, it should be regularly ventilated and humidify the air.
jerking while sleeping

These are general measures that will improve sleep and overall well-being. A specific drug should be prescribed by a doctor. If medications are prescribed to restore the condition, then they must be taken at the indicated dosages, observing the duration of the course of therapy.


If jerking in a dream in children and adults is not a violation that has arisen due to a malfunction in the systems of the body, then this means that the cause is emotional, mental or physical stress. In this case, for a quiet sleep, you need to relax and take the muscles out of tone. This requires:

  • listening to calm tunes;
  • taking a relaxing bath;
  • the use of tea with soothing herbs;
  • performing massage.
jerking at bedtime


If there is a startle during sleep, do not be scared and panic. It is important to relax the body, focus on the tips of the toes and imagine that they are warming. Then move this sensation to the rest of the body. This usually helps a good night's sleep.

Night shudders are not always the consequences of an ailment. If the working day is properly organized, physical activities are carefully calculated, there is moderate evening meals, then they will be able to be eliminated forever.


All Articles