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Why is my body shaking for no reason while sleeping?

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Posted on Wed, 22 Aug 2018
Question: Twice now I have noticed my husband shaking all over while he is asleep. The first time was on an airplane about 2 months ago. It was not while he was falling asleep but after he was asleep. It is not simply a jerking movement that sometimes happens when when a person is very tired and getting ready to fall asleep.

It happened again this morning right as he was starting to stir from sleeping all night. His body shook from head to toe for a matter of 2 seconds or so. It was a shivering type movement but more pronounced than a shiver. He never woke up and slept another hour or so very soundly. He said he has not experienced this while awake and has never noticed it. Thank you.
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Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (37 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
Nothing serious...

Detailed Answer:

Hello,

I've read your description and I don't believe that this kind of muscular activity was caused by some kind of disorder. Some people may experience muscular activity during their sleep - not only the jerky moves you wrote about. If it had lasted for much more then a seizure might have been suspected. Your husband's case seems to be just random muscular activity (perhaps during dreaming?).

Kind regards!


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Follow up: Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (38 minutes later)
Thank you! Wow...what a fast response!

I don't think this was associated with dreaming. I have known him for 37 years and have never witnessed him shaking like this - and twice within a matter of weeks. The first time I saw it, I wasn't sure what I was seeing. It was confusing and scary. This morning, it was very obvious this was something out of the ordinary for him and disturbing to see again.

His mother is 88 and has been diagnosed with essential tremors and now Parkinson's disease.

Should my husband see a neurologist? We live on the island of Guam in the Pacific and so this would involve quite a bit of travel to get to a neurologist in the US mainland.

Thank you!
doctor
Answered by Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis (22 minutes later)
Brief Answer:
I don't believe he should...

Detailed Answer:

Hello,

You're welcome!

I don't believe that he has to see a neurologist at this point. Patients with Parkinson's disease don't tremble during their sleep but they may experience physical activity when dreaming. It could be something like that but since he has no symptoms when awake I don't think the neurologist can help.

Kind regards!

Take care.

Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis, Internal Medicine Specialist


Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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Answered by
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Dr. Panagiotis Zografakis

Internal Medicine Specialist

Practicing since :1999

Answered : 3759 Questions

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Why is my body shaking for no reason while sleeping?

Brief Answer: Nothing serious... Detailed Answer: Hello, I've read your description and I don't believe that this kind of muscular activity was caused by some kind of disorder. Some people may experience muscular activity during their sleep - not only the jerky moves you wrote about. If it had lasted for much more then a seizure might have been suspected. Your husband's case seems to be just random muscular activity (perhaps during dreaming?). Kind regards!