A type of myoclonus, a medical condition that refers to a quick, involuntary muscle spasm, causes twitching during sleep. Different types of myoclonus include physiological, essential, epileptic and symptomatic forms, according to Mayo Clinic.
Sleep twitching is most often a result of physiological myoclonus which happens with many healthy people and rarely requires medical attention. Other symptoms associated with physiological myoclonus are hiccups, shakes and spasms due to anxiety or exercise and infant muscle twitching after feeding, as explained by Mayo Clinic. Essential myoclonus happens without additional symptoms and is usually unrelated to an underlying illness. The cause of this type of myoclonus is unknown, as of 2015; however, in some cases it is a hereditary occurrence.
Epileptic myoclonus is a result of an epileptic disorder. In some cases muscle jerks are the only symptom, but other symptoms may occur as well, as Mayo Clinic notes. Symptomatic myoclonus is a result of an underlying medical or nervous system condition. Medical conditions associated with this type of myoclonus include head injuries, infections, failure of the kidney or liver, chemical poisoning or prolonged oxygen deprivation. Nervous system conditions linked to symptomatic myoclonus include stroke, brain tumor, Huntington's disease, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease.