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Toddler twitches slightly while sleeping. Toes, fingers and arms jerk. Worry? Normal?

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My toddler (2 yrs old) twitches slighty while sleeping, her fingers may move, toes as well... even her little arm very slightly jerks.. is this something to be worried about ? is this normal?
Posted Tue, 22 May 2012 in Brain and Spine
Answered by Dr. Shiva Kumar R 8 hours later

Thanks for the query

Most common cause of twitching in the sleep is an infant is Hypnic jerk. A hypnic jerk or night start, is an involuntary myoclonic twitch which occurs during sleep, just as a person is beginning to fall asleep, often causing them to awaken suddenly for a second.

At times it can be seen only in one half of the body or only fingers and toes. If myoclonic jerks occur during wakeful state or in deeper stages of sleep, child requires evaluation from Pediatric Neurologist. Rarely it can be due to conditions like myoclonic epilepsy.

So I personally feel these are hypnic jerks and hence does not require any neurological evaluation. If these increase or persist during the wakeful state I request you to fix an appointment with Pediatric Neurologist for evaluation.

Thanks again for the query. I hope you found my response to be helpful. If you have any additional concerns i would be happy to address them.


Dr Shiva Kumar R
Consultant Neurologist & Epileptologist
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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