Child health: what is it when babies twitch in their sleep?

Babies: twitching while sleeping is probably not related to dreams
When babies twitch in their sleep, parents often think that the little ones are dreaming. However, this assumption may be wrong. According to US scientists, twitching could help the baby develop his motor skills.

When children twitch in their sleep
Parents who have just become parents often want to concentrate fully on the baby in the first few weeks. Even when sleeping, the little ones are still watched. When the child flinches, parents often think that this is related to dreams. But this assumption is wrong, according to US researchers. Rather, they assume that the twitching helps the baby develop his motor skills.

Infant becomes familiar with his limbs
As the professional association of pediatricians (BVKJ) reports on its website "", the scientists at the University of Iowa believe that twitching while the baby is (REM -) asleep circuits in the brain activated which familiarize the infant with its limbs and its functions.

In a statement from the university, Professor Mark Blumberg from the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience stated that knowledge of early sensory and motor learning (sensorimotor) and the development of skills help to better understand and treat certain developmental disorders, such as autism and schizophrenia.

When babies start reaching for things
"Although this is often overlooked, there are often significant problems in sensorimotor functions with these disorders," explained Blumberg. "We were able to identify interesting connections between twitching and the skills that babies develop," said the expert. For example, there appears to be a connection between the twitching of the neck during sleep and the baby's ability to move and hold its head when awake.

According to a report by the Internet portal "HealthDay", Blumberg's colleague Greta Sokoloff said: "As soon as the children are able to hold their heads themselves while they are awake, the twitching during sleep decreases somewhat in this region and occurs more often in another part of the body on."

The researchers also observed that twitching of the fingers and wrists occurs especially when babies start to grab things.

Do not prevent twitching
So parents don't have to be surprised if their offspring becomes “active” in their cradle while they sleep. "Pucking" is therefore not necessary in such cases. This is a traditional wrapping technique for babies, in which they are tightly wrapped up to their necks in a cloth, sheet or a special puck sack.

The aim of the wrap is to prevent, among other things, uncontrolled twitches ("Moro-Reflex") that quickly wake the baby from sleep. Above all, supporters of this method are concerned with the fact that the child experiences the security through the tightness that it knows from the mother's belly. However, experts reported that swaddling babies can cause hip damage.

Adults also twitch in their sleep
Adults also twitch in their sleep, the BVKJ writes on its website. The American scientists believe that this may update their sensorimotor system. "We are getting fatter, we are losing weight, we are doing weight training and we are learning new skills," said Blumberg. "All of these things require a recalibration of our sensorimotor system." (Ad)

Author and source information

Video: Why do babies twitch in their sleep? (January 2022).