According to doctor of chiropractic and functional medicine expert, Stacie Stephenson D.C., CNS, it’s perfectly normal to move while sleeping.
In fact, she notes, the average sleeper moves 40 to 50 times per night. When we’re sleep-deprived, we may move less, but under normal circumstances, she adds, we’re naturally more active during stage 1 or light sleep, as well as REM sleep, than we are in other sleep stages.
That said, moving in certain ways can be a sign of a problem. Specific types of sleep movements, such as restless leg syndrome and periodic limb movement disorder, Stephenson explains, are linked with stress, depression, lifestyle factors like too much caffeine, and even certain health conditions, from diabetes, heart disease, and sleep apnea, to ADHD, PTSD, and frequent nightmares.
“We know that these sleep disorders, if not the movements themselves, are associated with lower quality sleep,” Stephenson tells mbg, “but if you feel well-rested during the day, you likely do not have a problem.”
Now, if you’re nodding off in the middle of the day, or feel you could always use a nap, “that is an indication you might not be getting enough sleep, or that your sleep quality is suffering,” she adds.
Long story short: if you’re frequently fatigued and struggle with tossing and turning or restless limbs, “there might be a connection and it might be time to do something about it.”