Sleep-related movement disorders are those that lead to frequent agitation of the body that somehow interferes with the quality of sleep, leading to consequences such as insomnia. Recently, sleep disturbance in children has been recognized as a problem and several conditions leading to this disorder have been identified, including iron deficiency in the body.
Studies have already shown that oral iron supplements may have modest benefit for children with sleep-related movement disorders, but new research, published in the Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, finds that oral iron injections intravenously in these children may be even more beneficial. • Better, because it has more effective responses with fewer side effects.
To reach their conclusion, the researchers followed a sample of 63 children with sleep-related movement disorders for an average of 7.2 years, for about 16 weeks. Before iron injection, 85% of them had a sleep disorder, about half (46%) had difficulty falling asleep, 41% had a desire to move during sleep, 54% had difficulty staying asleep and 20% had abnormal sleep. .refreshed
After sixteen weeks of intravenous iron, 73% reported that at least one of their symptoms had improved; according to the researchers, intravenous supplementation has been shown to be beneficial. In addition, almost a third of the patients showed an improvement in sleep onset. 34% improved maintenance and 15% said they had more restful sleep.
One of the main problems with oral iron supplements is side effects. In this case, after intravenous injection, the investigators found that adverse effects were minimal and without any events considered serious/worrying: behavioral changes (9%); gastrointestinal upset (6%); Headache (4%). Rash (3%). This was all to be expected because they were also reported when oral supplementation was performed.
Sleep Without Rest
According to neurologist Leticia Azevedo Soster, who specializes in sleep medicine at the Albert Einstein Israelite Hospital, the first sleep-related movement disorder is restless legs syndrome, a condition in which a person experiences poor and uncomfortable sensations and she feels restless and cramped. She explains: “This feeling occurs at the end of the day before going to sleep. One of the main characteristics is that this sensation worsens at rest and improves when the person is doing some activity”.
Another common sleep-related movement disorder is periodic limb movements, which occur when a child sleeps and moves their arms and legs throughout the night, especially during periods of sleep. There are also temporary disorders, such as hitting the head to sleep: “These are movements that can hurt the baby because she moves a lot,” warns the specialist.
But, according to Leticia, there is still a sleep disorder that does not have a specific “name” or condition. However, it occurred in children who had normal development and behavior during the day. The problem occurred in children who did not have major features of sleep problems, such as apnea, for example, which causes a lot of movement and restless sleep. These children also did not have restless legs syndrome or ADHD (attention deficit hyperactivity disorder).
“These were children who moved a lot during their sleep, but during the day they weren’t restless, and they had no other sleep problems. This was a very common complaint in the office, but there was no classification to give this a name.” So, more recently, in 2018, there was a proposal to classify this disorder as sleep disorders because it was observed that these children suffer, in addition to nocturnal movements, low levels of iron in the body,” Leticia explained.
According to Leticia, our brain depends on iron to carry out a reaction that ends in dopamine. But to get to the brain, you have to cross the blood-brain barrier (from the blood to the brain) and iron doesn’t cross that barrier easily.
“When we supplement with oral iron, it is more difficult to get to levels sufficient to overcome this barrier. So intravenous iron is easier, without overlap. This study is more descriptive because it is a very recent syndrome, but the message is that all children with iron deficiency sleep disorder need to check their iron profile to see if everything is fine. I think more studies should be done in the future in this line, “added the neurologist.