Could my daughter and I be suffering from a sleep disorder?

This question was asked in Anchorage, Alaska on 08/06/2012.
My 1 year old often wakes up tense and shaking like she's coming out of cold water. I don't know if this is the same but, I wake up at times feeling something like electric waves running down my back, neck, legs, and arms. Also, for my daughter, she twitches and moves during her sleep. What could be going on in our bodies?

Doctors Answers (4)

Richard J. Schumann Jr., MD
Answered on: 8/10/2012

Some shaking may be part of a normal transition of consciousness from sleep to drowsiness and vice-versa. The movement could also represent seizure during sleep. You should seek help from a sleep center to monitor your sleep and possibly a neurologist to perform an EEG on both of you to diagnose if these phenomena are pathologic.

Syed Nabi, M.D.
Answered on: 8/9/2012 6

Sleep apnea is a common disorder, other common disorders include periodic limb movement disorder. Some times seizures can present that way too. It is best to see a sleep physician and perhaps get a sleep study if the physican recommends it.

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 8/8/2012 1

Yes, you and your daughter could be suffering from a sleep disorder. Your awakenings with electrical sensations in your spine and extremities could represent the night time version of restless legs syndrome which we call Periodic Limb Movement Disorder (PLMD).Treatment is available. Many other medical disorders should be excluded. Your daughter, at one year of age, cannot explain her feelings and you can only relate to her symptoms or what you can see. She could be suffering from PLMD but it would be a medical rarity to be diagnosed so young. She could be having nocturnal seizures if she awakens "tense" and shakes all over. However, if this is not a frequent issue then she may well outgrow the problem. If it continues I would keep a calendar of the frequency and report this to her pediatrician. I doubt that your symptoms and your daughter's symptoms are directly related.

Ahmad Jalloul, MD
Answered on: 8/7/2012 1

The fact that those symptoms are happening during the night and in your sleep makes it within the realm of a sleep disorder. Movements and twitches during sleep are considered to be abnormal. The cause of these abnormal movements vary according to age and weather the patient has other sleep disorder such as sleep apnea or not. In a 1 year old seizure disorder need to be ruled out. In an adult seizure disorder could be the cause though less likely. Differential diagnosis of movement disorder in sleep include: 1- seizures2- Periodic leg movnebt3- REM behavior disrder4-sleep walking and talking to mention a few. A sleep study with seizure montage would be needed to diagnose the condition.