Neurological Sciences

, Volume 33, Issue 3, pp 491–513 | Cite as

Sleep-related movement disorders

  • Giovanni MerlinoEmail author
  • Gian Luigi Gigli
Review Article


Several movement disorders may occur during nocturnal rest disrupting sleep. A part of these complaints is characterized by relatively simple, non-purposeful and usually stereotyped movements. The last version of the International Classification of Sleep Disorders includes these clinical conditions (i.e. restless legs syndrome, periodic limb movement disorder, sleep-related leg cramps, sleep-related bruxism and sleep-related rhythmic movement disorder) under the category entitled sleep-related movement disorders. Moreover, apparently physiological movements (e.g. alternating leg muscle activation and excessive hypnic fragmentary myoclonus) can show a high frequency and severity impairing sleep quality. Clinical and, in specific cases, neurophysiological assessments are required to detect the presence of nocturnal movement complaints. Patients reporting poor sleep due to these abnormal movements should undergo non-pharmacological or pharmacological treatments.


Restless legs syndrome Periodic limb movement disorder Sleep-related leg cramps Sleep-related bruxism Sleep-related rhythmic movement disorder Hypnagogic foot tremor 



The costs of the study (personnel) were covered by the institution of affiliation of the authors.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurosciencesSanta Maria della Misericordia University HospitalUdineItaly
  2. 2.Department of Experimental and Clinical MedicineUniversity of Udine Medical SchoolUdineItaly

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