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Question 17

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Question 17 - What causes shaking during sleep?

From: BO


I am a middle aged woman who has always had a poor time sleeping. As a child, I'd sleep with my eyes open, talk in my sleep and, even into adulthood walked in my sleep.

The latest event really scared me. It was a "seizure" that woke me up thru the night. My head was shaking from side to side and my arms were shaking as well. It took a minute or less to stop, but I was unable to speak right after it happened. I layed awake for a short time and fell back to sleep.

When I awoke the next morning I was fine. My doctor said it was a vivid imagination. I belive that was quite the brushoff.

Is this a concern?

Thank you,

Answer Provided by Sandman
June 13, 2008

What you describe sounds like nocturnal seizures. There can be many causes including neurological.

One thing we do know is sleep disorders can trigger nocturnal seizures which only happen during sleep, usually deep sleep and they rarely wake up during the seizure. You should talk to a sleep specialist in your area. If they are triggered by a sleep disorder and the sleep disorder is treated, many times the seizures go away. Try to find a sleep specialist who is also a neurologist.

If I was experiencing this and my current doctor would not give you a referral to a sleep specialist, I would find another doctor. Preferably one who has some knowledge of sleep disorders.

Best wishes and Sweet dreams,


Disclaimer, I am not an MD and my opinions should not be taken as medical advice. If you feel that you need assistance with medications and/or diagnosis, you should seek medical advice from a qualified physician.

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