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Polysomnography in the evaluation of abnormal movements during sleep

Charlene E Gamaldo, MD, FAASM, FAAN
Rachel Marie E Salas, MD
Section Editor
Susan M Harding, MD, FCCP, AGAF
Deputy Editor
April F Eichler, MD, MPH


Sleep-related movements are commonly observed on polysomnography (PSG) and are often benign. However, certain movements warrant further investigation when they negatively impact sleep quality, resulting in daytime symptoms or injury.

Important elements of in-laboratory PSG recordings of simple sleep-related movements are reviewed here. More detailed reviews of the pathogenesis, evaluation, diagnosis, and management of sleep-related movement disorders are presented separately. (See "Approach to abnormal movements and behaviors during sleep" and "Clinical features and diagnosis of restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease and periodic limb movement disorder in adults" and "Treatment of restless legs syndrome/Willis-Ekbom disease and periodic limb movement disorder in adults".)

PSG in the evaluation of more complex movements, including parasomnias such as sleepwalking and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep behavior disorder, is also reviewed separately. (See "Polysomnography in the evaluation of parasomnias and epilepsy".)


Technical points — Polysomnography (PSG) consists of the simultaneous recording of multiple physiologic variables during sleep (figure 1):

Electrooculogram (EOG) captures eye movement.

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Feb 20, 2017.
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