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Avatar universal

tremors during sleep

I'm a 60 year old men, in excellent health, except for experiencing tremors during sleep that wake me up and have difficulty going  back to sleep.  As I start to fall sleep again, I feel these "rumbleling" (tremors) around my upper body.  I immediately wake up again.  These tremors last for about 10-15 seconds after I wake up.  The first time I experienced this condition was exactly two years ago.  It lasted for about four days and it simply went away.  Except for minor incidents (by "minor" I mean I experience the tremors for about two nights and go away) with no major disruptions in my sleep patters.  Last week, however, I experienced another episode which does not seem to be going away.  The first two nights I simply could not go back to sleep at all.  My body wanted to go back to sleep, but, as I mentioned above, everytime I fell sleep the tremors woke me up.  I'm on my  9th day and there seems to be no sign of letting up. I went to see my doctor on the fourth day--He prescribed Zolpidem, which I have been taken since.  Interestingly enough, even under the influence of the sleeping pill, the tremor wake me up, but they are short-lived since I go back to sleep almost immediately.  My doctor said to take the medicine for about two weeks and essencially placed me on a "wait-and-see" mode.  My concern at this point is "how long can I possobly survived on this medicine.  Does any body "out there" know anything about this condition?  As you can immagine, it is extremely debilitating.  I'm, for my age, a very atheletic man who is the right things, no vices and bikes to work every day--About
twenty miles a day.  Married with two grown children.  My job is very stress-free and very enjoyable.  Any ideas?  Thank you very much.
558 Responses
Avatar universal
Hi, how are you? Can you give some more details as to which part or whole of upper body does involve in the tremors you suffer from? Do you correlate with the initiation of these episodes with any particular event? You might be having a rhythmic movement disorder, which more or less resembles the symptoms or even age related. Has your doctor done a sleep study? You need to continue the medication for couple of weeks as advised by your doctor and try to avoid trigger factors like alcohol, smoking and stress. It is better to consult a neurologist and get evaluated. Take care and updated on your thoughts and progress.
Avatar universal
Thank you for your timely response.  My tremors are pretty much localized in my upper body; say, between my waist and my neck.  By the way, something I did not mention on my original description is that these tremors are not external.  As I pointed out, after they wake me up they last for about an extra 10-15 seconds and they disappeared completely.  During these 10-15 second period, I have asked my wife to place her hand on my stomach/chest so she can feel what I am experiencing.  She has never felt anything--This leads me to believe that they are totally interior in nature.  I Do not correlate the initiation of these tremors with any particular event/diet/state of mind?  I have not been able to determine what precipitates them.  I have changed my diet, my exercise routine to no avail.  I do have a bit of anxiety, but I truly believe it is as a result of the lack of sleep.  My wife thinks that I'm making things worse by turning all the clocks in the house (the ones that chime) off in order to avoid knowing the time so I don't panic by learning that I have ONLY a few hours left before I have to get up and get ready for work.  Again, she thinks I am creating a great deal of anxiety for myself.  Yes, I have a sleep study two years ago.  I did not experience the tremor that night.  The sleep specialist sent me to the cardiologist and they order a halter (24-hour monitoring of my heart functions) as well as a cardiogram--Everything turned out to be fine with my heart.  After all this, I went back to the sleep specialist and he simply stated that in further review of my sleep study, they determined that when I sleep I do not go into deeper stages of sleep, and he prescribed "Clonazepam."  By that time, my symptoms have gone away and I never took that medicine.  As I mentioned on my original symptom description, my symptoms disappeared after a few days (6-9 days), except for minor tremors once every three months or so, which do wake me up, but I seem to go back to sleep with no problem whatsoever.  I figured I can live with this "minor" inconvenience and not have to take any medicine.  But as I mentioned, this time is different.  The tremors don't let me go back to sleep, at all.  And that's when I "panic" and decided to see my doctor about about the problem.  He ordered some blood work to test the functions of some of my key glads.  I guess glands that in his opinion could be causing my problem if they are "malfunctioning."  He said my lab work came back perfect--No irregularities, whatsoever.  I mentioned to him about my sleep study and the medicine they had prescribed (Clonazepam)--He simply said:  "I hate to see you taking this type of medicine without knowing exactly what is going on with you--The side affects of this medicine could be more potentially harmful the problem you are experiencing."  I cannot think of what can be more problematic than not being able to sleep--But this is besides the point.  He also mentioned that he hated to order another sleep study based on the fact that I physically don't meet any of the criteria that will lead him to believe that I need one, i.e., obesity, smoking, heavy coffee drinker, heavy alcohol drinker--I'm 5' 9" and my weight is 150 lbs; I do not smoke or drink.  I pedal my bicycle to work every day.  Approximately a 20-mile round trip.  Stress, however, seem to be creeping up due to the fact that I am getting concern about my health due to lack of sleep.  My doctor did mentioned, as you did, that a neurological study might be appropriate, but he wants me to be on the sleeping pills for two weeks before we start talking about those options.  At any rate, I know you asked me a few questions/clarifications and I pretty much wrote a book for you.  I'm sorry about that.  I am simply excited about the fact that someone "out there"  has manifested some type of concern about my plight.  One more question, please.  You mentioned that I could have a "rhythmic disorder."  What is that?  Thank you again, whoever you are--You are a good person.
Avatar universal
Hi bobito, how are you? Thanks for your reply and time you spent in writing a lengthy details. Well, you can be patient for few more days and keep observing the progress of the jerks to see the effect of the drug you are presently taking. Stress is a major factor in triggering the symptoms and worsening the daily activities to sometimes even impossible. You can get a sleep study test done to know your present sleep pattern, which can also be discussed with your attending physician. Rhythmic movements occur during the stage just prior to falling asleep and typically increase along with stress levels. These are most common among very young children. Commonly seen in children but can affect any one, and usually slowly disappears but if presents a danger or the activity persists for long time, it is better to consult an Neurophysician soon to get an evaluation and also to rule out any other possibilities. Take care and keep updating us of your doctor advise.
Avatar universal
Your post is interesting as my son-in-law recently described almost identical symptoms that left him afraid to go to sleep for a while. He's only had a couple more mild episodes. My daughter said his tremblings/vibrations are not visible by observation - they are internal.

I've had similar sensations but not while asleep. I blamed them on low blood sugar but never really knew for sure. I have rythmic movements in my legs while asleep, but they feel like contractions or jerks when they wake me up.

Sorry, no answers. But I'll be watching to see if someone else comes up with something.

Avatar universal
I have the same thing happen to me sporadically, probably a few times a  week. As I'm drifting off to sleep I suddenly get "tremors" in my upper body that wake me up. If I try to go back to sleep there's a good chance it'll happen again. But if I put my hand on my chest I find that my heart's not beating all that fast, which makes me think it might be muscle twitches, possibly in my neck or chest. In any case I"m still trying to figure it out.

I've found that it's more likely to happen if I go to bed unusually early or late (or if I nap), and that a few glasses of wine seem to make it less likely to happen.

BTW I'm a 22-year old male of average height and weight with no real medical history.
Avatar universal
Hi bobito, how are you? Hope you are feeling better now? Are your tremors under control now and letting you to have a normal sleep? At your age, as discussed early also stress seems to be a trigger factor due to less activity and sleep deprivation. You need to get evaluated by a neurologist and get investigated. Have you checked your blood sugar and blood pressure? Even an EMG study would be helpful. Taking too many medicines also is not advisable so seek medical advise by a neurologist. Try to go for a morning-evening walk or regular stretches and body massages occasionally. Take warm shower and sleep early. Listening to your favorite music or reading book in a comforting room can put you to sleep. Do update on your progress and any visit to doctor. Take care.
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