Jefferson University Hospitals

Sleep-Related Rhythmic Movement Disorder in Children

Sleep-related rhythmic movement disorder (RMD) involves repeated body movements while drowsy or asleep. Loud humming or other sounds are sometimes made along with the body motions. It is very common in infants and children.

Most children who display these actions do not need medical help because it is a part of their sleep process. But if the motions are starting to injure your child or keep your child from sleeping well, seek the expertise of pediatric sleep medicine specialists within the Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center.

Types of RMD

  • Body rocking: rocking the entire body while on hands and knees
  • Head banging: lifting head or entire upper body repeatedly against the pillow or mattress
  • Head rolling: rolling head back and forth and making loud noises

Testing for RMD

No tests are needed to detect RMD in most children, so a sleep study may be recommended to monitor the severe motions. If your child is undergoing a sleep study at Jefferson, our staff is willing to accommodate a parent's or caregiver's needs to feel as comfortable as possible during the overnight stay. If you'd like to stay in the room with your child, we can provide a cot or recliner for you to sleep on. If you prefer to sleep in an adjacent room, we will offer a wireless baby monitor so that you can hear your child should he or she need you.

Established in 1978, the Jefferson Sleep Disorders Center was the first such program in the Philadelphia area and is accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.