Are you curious about why you move while sleeping? Does it interest you that how can your body move without you even feeling it? Importantly, are you scared whether sleep movements are normal or are they indicating a major ailment?
Right off the bat, sleep movements are entirely normal. Every single person moves during their sleep. So, there’s nothing to worry about!
In fact, Stacie Stephenson, D.C., CNS, says that an average person moves at least 50 times during their sleep! But what causes these movements in the first place? How to sleep better? Read on and discover more!
Is Moving Around During Sleep a Conscious Act?
Most people don’t remember moving while they are asleep. And that is completely understandable. When we are asleep, our brain puts our body into rest mode.
During these hours, our metabolism is up and running while our conscience is resting. Therefore, a vast majority of people don’t recall doing anything while they are sleeping. However, this is not always the case.
It varies from person to person. One person might recall changing their position, while others might not even remember sleepwalking.
The science behind this contrast is still under consideration. Scientists are yet to come up with a precise theory regarding this variability.
What Does it Mean if You Move Around in Your Sleep?
As we mentioned earlier, sleep movements are natural, and you don’t need to stress them. However, things are not as straightforward as they appear. Although mostly sleep movements are harmless, sometimes specific movements might be an indication of a disorder.
Besides, on what basis can we determine the extent of sleep movements? Well, it depends on your body’s condition. Usually, movements are rare when you are exhausted, and your body is sleep-deprived.
Conversely, people who usually maintain their sleep-wake cycle are likely to move a lot as their bodies are healthy and active. In essence, your physical and mental wellbeing directly regulates sleep movements.
On top of that, there are some common reasons behind why you move while you are asleep. The four most common causes are:
Protection From Pressure
Have you ever experienced numbness in a limb while you are sitting in an uncomfortable position? This numbness, temporary loss of sensation, and motor activity are due to a compressed nerve and blood supply.
Our body is designed to remain in particular positions to avoid putting stress on our neurovascular bundles. Likewise, your brain regulates this mechanism while you are sleeping.
It detects excess pressure on a particular region with the help of receptors. This signal then triggers the brain to change the body’s posture to relieve the pressure. It is the most simple and the most frequently occurring cause behind sleep movements.
Random Unconscious Movements
You must have seen people move during their sleep for no reason more often than not. Sometimes, there is no reason why a person moves during their sleep. Like people sleepwalk unconsciously and don’t recall a thing, the same goes for slight movements.
These sudden movements are random and occur due to no particular reason. However, if you notice a pattern in these movements, your body might be trying to tell you something.
For instance, people with anxiety and mental ailments show restless legs syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder. Therefore, it is imperative to keep track of your sleep movements.
An Obstructive Disorder
There are several types of obstructive disorders. The term refers to ailments in which any physiological or pathological anomaly blocks your respiratory tract. The most common type of this class is sleep apnea.
People with sleep apnea tend to move a lot during their sleep. They even make sudden swift movements when their airway is obstructed.
It is one of the less frequent causes of moving around during your sleep. Studies have shown that involuntary, short-lived arousals cause some sleep movements. They arise due to some action potentials and vanish once you shift your sleeping position.
Apart from these common causes, several other diseases can lead to abnormal sleep movements. If that’s the case, referring your doctor is your best bet.
How to Sleep Better – 3 Practical Sleep Tips
After learning the causes and effects of sleep movements, it is time to see sleep tips that will help you overcome all problems. These sleep tips are generalized, and you can easily implement them in your daily life.
However, if you suffer from a chronic condition, you might modify the tips per your medications and rituals. Nonetheless, here are three working tips on how to sleep better without doing anything extraordinary.
Maintain Healthy Sleeping Positions Before Sleeping
Your sleep posture has a pivotal role when it comes to regulating sleep movements. You need to check that the surface you lie on is flat so that no protrusions put pressure on your body, forcing you to move often.
You can also try the best sleeping positions to ensure that you get a good night’s sleep.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A fully nutritious diet is vitally important in fulfilling your metabolic needs. It not only affects your sleep quality but also directly regulates your energy levels, your activity, and your physical and mental wellbeing.
For that reason, you must always take a balanced diet that contains all the nutrients your body needs.
Check Your Medicines
Sometimes the medicines you take for any unrelated condition may affect your sleep quality. For instance, if you take a psychoactive drug right before bedtime, it will ruin your sleep. Hence, it is best to consult your doctor regarding the medication and tell them your concerns.
Moving around during sleep is a truly intriguing phenomenon. How we move while being totally unconscious is nature’s marvel. It is a normal action. However, it can sometimes hide a medical condition.
Therefore, note your sleep movements and check whether they are giving a red flag. Apart from that, use the sleep tips mentioned above, counter all problems, and sleep peacefully!