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My Child Bangs His Head in Bed as He Sleeps

Filed in
  • children
  • parenting
  • Parasomnias

By Thomas M. Heffron  |  Jan 31, 2009
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For a parent it is one of the most disturbing sleep disorders. You hear a strange sound coming from your young son’s bedroom at night. So you go in his room to see what’s wrong.

You find your son banging his head into the pillow or mattress. He repeats this action over and over again. Or he may be sitting up, banging the back of his head against the wall or the headboard.

The bizarre sight may send a shock of fear through your body. But what you’re seeing is common, and it is rarely harmful.

Head banging during sleep is an example of sleep related rhythmic movement disorder. RMD is very common in healthy infants and children. It can occur in both boys and girls.

Another common form of RMD is body rocking. Your child may rock her entire body back and forth. She may be on her hands and knees or sitting up.

Head rolling is also common. While lying on his back, your child may roll his head back and forth.

Less common forms of RMD include body rolling, leg banging and leg rolling. All of these actions tend to be very rapid. An episode may last up to 15 minutes. During the motions your child may make rhythmic humming sounds.

The good news is that RMD tends to be harmless. It occurs as a young child’s brain and body continue to grow and develop.

RMD often begins when a child is about six months to nine months of age. It usually goes away by the second or third year of life.

Like many parasomnias, RMD tends to disturb the parent more than the child. Normally the child will have no memory of the event in the morning.

Talk to your child’s doctor if you are concerned about RMD. Contact an AASM-accredited sleep center if RMD episodes injure your child or keep your child from sleeping well.

70 Comments

  1. 1 Monica Labranche 12 Nov
    My boyfriend is 34 and still rocks and bangs his head into the pillows.  I am sorry it is really annoying when you are trying to sleep . I can’t sleep because of it most nights. I say something and his gets really mad and hits me. Sooooooo I don’t say anything anymore. 
  2. 2 Jamie Boughner 04 Oct
    My son is 16 and has done this his entire life. He has dreamed of being a Marine since age 3. His recruiter tells him that this disorder will make him ineligible for enlistment. Use of medication to control it is not an option in the military either. Are there any tips or tricks to make it stop without medication so my son can have his dream of becoming a Marine?
  3. 3 Donna 03 Oct
    I am 50 years old and i still bang my head in my pillow as well as kicking my legs. I want to stop but don't know how i don't get headache just wants to stop any suggestions
  4. 4 Mia 26 Jul
    Oh yeah, I am now 31 and my son is 6 and doing just fine. He is practically a genius... so I’m not worried about the banging of his head I just make sure to have him in a safe spot. No medicine...
  5. 5 Mia 26 Jul
    This is so funny because I came on here a few years back because I was concerned about my son and his head banging. Only to realize that my condition wasn’t any better I rock my entire body, while he bags his head. I never thought my condition was as frustrating until I met my now husband. He explained to me in detail how I rocked like hell to fall asleep. But he snores so we are all screwed up... oh well 😂😂😂
  6. 6 John 21 Jul
    Guys, I bumped my head almost everyday till I was 16 years old. I am 54 years old now. I don't have any form of disorders what so ever but during the time I use to bump my head was either during the day when I was under a lot of stress or perhaps if I was worried about something or at night when I was either about to go to sleep or wake up in the night and bang my head in the pillow for as long as 30 mins to an hour or more usually it helps me to sleep as I get tired after bumping my head repeatedly for long periods. I stopped at 16 years old and I have never done it since. I am 54 now.
    So to be candid, it normal although scary for anyone that sees you in action. 
  7. 7 Ed 23 Apr
    I'm 35 and I still have RMD. I'm either shaking my legs when sitting or laying in bed. Sometimes aggressively rocking back and fourth. This may not be the cure for everyone, but if I take a VERY SMALL dose of xanax or klonopin, my RMD goes away. Hope this helps!
  8. 8 D 05 Apr
    I’m 58 and, though I stopped during most of my 18 years of marriage, I took up leg shaking to get to sleep.  After divorce, the leg shaking stopped and I started bouncing again.  I ball my down pillow up in my two hand, palms up and grip the pillow with my thumbs.  When I was younger, I would also sit on my knees and rock while at the dinner table or anywhere I sat.  Haven’t done that for awhile.  I’m afraid if I tried, my feet would go to sleep.  The bouncing is for sleep.  The rocking was just for motion!  I think my forehead may be a little flatter than it would have been, but no other side affects.  I have great rythem, by the way.  Love to dance! Lol
  9. 9 Joe 31 Mar
    Hi I'm a 'but the bed' and am aged 51, my parents said I started doing this around 12 months old, I did this continuously all my childhood, even now I sometimes wake myself up because I'm butting the pillow. I did it when I was either lying down or sitting on a sofa even in the car. I think the reason I did this is because I needed to burn energy, some children burn energy by crying. Boredom is the main reason, Why? Going to bed is boring, sitting because you have nothing to do is boring and long car journeys are very boring. If you are concerned don't be, my family just had to get used to it. 
  10. 10 Concerned 25 Mar
    I am 39 yr old and I still do it. I have no memory of it what so ever. My wife tells me in the morning that I was doing it. At times it shook the entire bed and she became really nervous. She wants me to get checked-out because she doesn't believe that this is normal especially for it to last this long. Do I have anything to worry about?

    What really had me worried is when I enlisted it happened at basic training and the other recruits observed it and thought I was having a seizure. Any help would be greatly appreciated.
  11. 11 A girl who head bangs still 16 Mar
    Hi. I'm not sure if anyone still visits this thread. I haven't had a chance to read through all the comments but I have done it all. As long as I could remember I have been told from the time that I could pick up my head I have been headbanging, banging my legs, rocking, groaning, talking in my sleep. It wasnt just in my sleep either. Sometimes it was the only way I could fall asleep. I would rock in the car on the couch watching tv or while standing up. Who knows there could be something more to it for me. IDK. I wish  i could say that my family wasn't hard on me but they were horrible. Siblings cousins uncle's and aunts would always tease me about it.  Bring it up in front of strangers. They use to go and sit on my legs at night, lay on me, or just yell at me to wake up. I know it was annoying and very frustrating but it's not like I had a choice. To be honest I loved it. It was very relaxing and soothing. I've actually never been to the Dr for it so Ive never been diagnosed with any kind of sleep disorder or any other kind of disorder. My dad my mom and my grandmas we're the only ones who were okay with it to some extent. It use to upset them too but they knew I had really no control. Sometimes they said they could walk in my room and just say stop and I would stop. Just like that. But then 5-10 minutes later I'd start again .If they tried to hold my leg id do my other leg. Both legs I'd do my head.

    All I want to say is please don't make your child feel like an outcast from this because it will follow them around for the rest of their life. and if someone in the household is teasing them make it stop.

    And know it didn't affect anything with me other than my self-esteem. I'm the smartest of all my siblings and most of my cousins. I was the 1st to graduate highschool of 4 or more generations from my family and I graduated with highest honors. I never took medication for it. Again I've never been diagnosed with anything. I could fully function and behave like any other kid. It was just my way of falling asleep ( while awake). And while asleep I can't really say because I never knew I did it unless someone told me I did or they woke me up.
  12. 12 Shannon 16 Feb
    (Continued) they never made a big deal about it, nor thought it was that strange even tho none of them had or currently done anything like that. I have ALWAYS dreaded telling serious boyfriends the first time. Surprisingly neither of them, and married both, married still to my second husband currently. Anyway neither of them thought it was a big deal like I did, and neither have every teased me, and both could sleep just fine with me rocking like hell beside them. I don't ever remember humming or singing, or listening to music while rocking. I can say I would find that disturbing and bothering me terribly and unable to relax and fall asleep. I have slowed down over the years as I've gotten older, and have gone weeks without rocking. I definitely know if I cannot fall asleep or extremely stressed out I will rock. I've caught myself many times rocking in the middle of the night. I am almost 100% sure I can be sound asleep and dreaming while rocking. Both husbands have said I have rocked sound asleep. Seems so strange I am able to do that. I have had longer hair all my life and suffer terrible knots and tangles in my hair upon am. Looks literally like a rats nest ! Lol, I have never met another rocker, nor talked to anyone online or read anything about other people doing it until now. Crazy ! I knew surely I could not be the only rocker in the entire world, but imagined it must be extremely rare. First time ever reading anything until this article and reading comments. I have searched on computer in the past, but quite a few years ago, and never found anything about rockers, just hang banging, I'm not surprised I do or did both !! Lol haven't head banged since an infant I'm pretty positive. I really am excited to have found this article. I am hoping to learn much more. I was a little taken a back hearing about the Assburgers as ADHD and mild anxiety have been the only mental/physiological disorders I've been diagnosed with and have seen many physcologists, and MDs whom are very interested in and studied more in the mental disorders of the human body. I was tested in Miami were I was born many times by highly rated physicians , and all three told my parents I suffered from no mental disorders or learning disabilities, and all did thourogh IQ tests with me, and said I had a extremely high IQ. However one physician told my parents they thought I may have issues with math. And coincidence or not, I always have, yet excelled in English. I was tested at a early age as my youngest brother was extremely hyper with attention disorder and was on Ritalin for many years and my parents at parent conferences and called in for out of control behavior and other very disruptive activities while at school. They wanted to get a jump start on me, in case I was showing signs or had ADHD. I wasn't diagnosed until adulthood, and seems older I get the worse. I thought the older the calmer !! Lol, nope not with me ! I'm completely comfortable with who I am. I finally truly knowing who I am. I am also a recovered prescription opiate addict. I never had any issues with any substances until my early 30s. Never been in any trouble at school or college with the exception of teachers commenting on my obsessive talking and some small issues of being still. I am a nurse and paramedic, hurt my back working EMS and given opiates for the pain and off to the races. When my back was getting much better, I stopped the opiates. However, as time went on life brought me many stressors, and was always a very happy person truly growing up and never suffered with depression. I would have a down day once in awhile but never more then two days in a row. I always was so very grateful for my happy soul and not suffering from serve mental illness as so many did, and more and more people are every day, every year. But after back, life , marriage and kids brought feelings of anger, low esteem, sadness, frustration and other down emotions I had never experienced or suffered long with. I remembered euphoria well I experienced with the opiates and decided best thing for me would be to over exaggerate back pain and have them prescribed again, to self medicate so I could continue on happily with my much more busy and complicated life. I could not handle nor bare the negative emotions I was experiencing, things I never had to deal with. I was used to being happy and a being very sensitive to others and wanted them to all be happy. Felt such empathy for people at an early age, that I spent much of my time trying to mentor people and help them regain happiness in their lives. I never fed off of or enjoyed others misfortunes, quite the opposite. Definitely tried to always be humble and knew I was far from perfect but generally a very good girl and woman. And a soft spot for animals and nature. Very intuitive and knew much before it happened and still do, more so. I read people pretty easily right away, and know when I'm being lied to or patronized. Always been attracted to narsacistic men , partly to help them and turn them around. LOLOLOLOL boy have I learned the hard way, and good most definitely write a Best Seller that would blow the socks off Peyton Place and be all true ! Lolol
  13. 13 Shannon 16 Feb
    My mom tells me as a infant I would get on my hands and knees and rock back and forth while banging my head into the front of crib. She said she would get up upon hearing me ,  she got very concerned as I was banging my head really hard. She said sometimes she literally thought I was going to knock myself out ! It's kind of funny but at the same time concerning for me. She talked to my Pediatrician right away, and he told her it was totally normal for some infants and it was my way of soothing myself to sleep. This was in 1972 and 73, so probably not much info and details on why. I consider myself very intuitive, empath, INFJ personality. I was a average student, and definitely could have had straight A's with exception of math, if I studied. I do have ADHD, I read a comment above it could be related, never heard that. As I got older , around 2 until now at 46, I have been a full body rocker. The detailed way, is on my back, with my right knee up, and my left leg straight, and rock quite rapidly from side to side. Even now when I start rocking I immediately feel a true sense of my body calming down, and relaxing, also my mind. Which sounds absolutely crazy making so much movement, but it's been this way forever. I would be embarrassed the first night spending with my friends.I would always explain to them quite a few hrs. before bedtime lol, however we rarely slept, or only a couple hours, 
  14. 14 sb 25 Jan
    Gillette Sleep Health MN= you are dangerous, shame on you for telling parents to put their kids on drugs for this. No drugs are needed. You don't need to drug kids for nonconforming to your idea of normal.
  15. 15 SB 25 Jan
    OMG I cannot believe the comments shame on the parents for wanting to drug your kids for doing something different. Yes, I was a banger since infancy, now 46, I, shake, rattle, and roll! As my kids say it. No, they do not do it. I have multiple degrees and 160 IQ and I am an athlete! No, I do not have neck problems. It is a release of energy! If it hurt us, we wouldn't do it! It bothers others, because they do not understand it. High intellect with an over active brain and excess energy. 'Help, can't stop my brain!" I am saddened for the kids having to go to DRs and shrinks and put on drugs, because their parents can't understand it. Some things do not need to be diagnosed or fixed, it is not something to fix or modify. We are healthy and I bet we all process and think more than others who don't bang. Parents if it bothers you get ear plugs. It is not about you! Everyone has quirks. PLEASE do not DRUG YOUR KIDS, drug yourself!
  16. 16 Samantha 22 Jan
    My 5 year old son does this Sat night and has been doing so since he was a baby. He also makes a loud noise when he bangs his head on his pillow which wakes up the entire house. This has been a very awful experience as there are many nights in a row that he wakes me up between 4 and 8 times a night. I have gone to multiple pediatricians and doctors for help and nothing has been suggested. I am a single working mother that hasn't had decent sleep in five years because of this.
  17. 17 Heather 12 Jan
    I also did this as a child from as early as I can remember. I had no idea it was so common. I would bump my head on the pillow and hum at night to fall asleep.  I felt like t was just expelling extra energy and it made my overactive mind settle down.  I stopped sometime around late elementary school age when I started going to sleepovers at friends houses and would be too embarrassed to do it. I could not fall asleep during those nights because I was so restless and my mind is always active. My parents never called attention to it or seemed very concerned. I just decided for myself to stop. By the time I was in high school I had completely stopped. I’m 45 now and completely normal. No neck or back pains. My children did not develop the urge at all. As far as I know I’m the only one I’ve ever known who did it. I can see how this would be disturbing for a parent to witness but as long as the child isn’t hurting himself it’s ok to leave them to it.  I don’t think you can put an age on when the child will grow out of it. My advice is to not make them feel ashamed about it. It’s a method of self soothing and it’s calming almost like meditation. If the urge to bump continues into teen or adult years I think finding an alternative soothing method is a good suggestion. These days to get to sleep I like to read or play games on my phone until I fall asleep to calm my brain. 

  18. 18 Rhonda 04 Jan
    my grandson bangs his head on his crib and play pen when he’s trying to go to sleep, he rocks in his high chair and moves his head back and forth in his car seat he seem normal to me looks normal but I’m very concerned. He’s 19 months! I’d this still RMD? 
  19. 19 JOHN 01 Jan
    I'm 22 and I still do it. I remember as a kid doing it while listening to the music or repeating the world "mom" when I missed her. I had pretty stressful childhood and once I got in bed I would bang my head like crazy. I was killing huge amount of energy and it helped me vent the frustration. Now its so soothing I'd compare it to a back scratch or even sex. Especially when you need to go to sleep but can't. I'd say it's like counting sheep with your head impacting the pillow
  20. 20 Frank 26 Dec
    This has me tearing up right now for so long I thought I was a monster or something cause I’ve done this all my life. I made a mistake and did it at my friends crib one day and they were like “Are you ok?” And I’m in college now and invited a girl over and did it again and I just felt so embarrassed. But this usually only happens when I’m alone. Like if I’m being cuddled or whatever I never do it. All in all you guys brought me a piece of sanity thanks.
  21. 21 Amy 16 Dec
    I am 48 and banged my head every night as a kid for probably about 15-30 minutes.  I do think looking back that it was self-soothing and a way to release extra energy that I had and "tire me out" for deep sleep.  As I got older, I ended up switching to shaking my right foot/leg instead since it was less obvious, but I would say I still do that when I am restless and am trying to fall asleep. I never gave it much thought but decided to goole why I did that.  Glad to hear it is more common than I thought.  I would same everything else was pretty normal growing up but I do crack my neck a lot every the years and sometimes get bad headaches...but could be totally unrelated.
  22. 22 JH 01 Dec
    Interestingly, I’ve been watching chiropractic videos on YouTube.  A patient had recounted that he used to bang his head as a kid.  I used to bang my head into a pillow when I was a baby and when I was little.  I didn’t do it all the time and I guess I grew out of it. He said that this subject was discussed by his mentors and he said that it’s a possibility that this head banging is an inate behavior of trying to self-correct neck/back misalignment.  
  23. 23 Matt 28 Nov
    I would always bang my head into the pillow before going to sleep, but would always be awake doing it. Did it literally all the time. I can control it, so don't do it when I'm on bed with the mrs.  However, if I'm in bed alone I will do it whilst listening to music.  I'm now 32. I also used to sit up right and rock back and forth quite forceably whilst listening to music.  I don't do that anymore really. I don't know why I looked it up, but it's reassuring to know that others do the same.
  24. 24 Brock 24 Nov
    Very common in autistic boys. 
  25. 25 Grace 06 Nov
    I’ve always banged my head at night. I’m 18 now. My mom said I did it in the crib when I was a baby and she said I did it in my sleep too which I didn’t know about. I did know that I did it every night before falling asleep though because it helped me sleep. It was just kinda a regular thing for me and I never really thought it was weird. I would basically just lay on my stomachs and put my hands under my pillow and bang my head against the pillow. On nights where I was particularly restless, I would get into fetal position and bang my head against my pillow that way. If I still couldn’t fall asleep I’d rock back and forth or move my head side to side on my pillow. I also would lay on my stomach and lift my leg up and let it fall onto the bed over and over again or I would move my foot up and down really fast just because I guess it feel comforting to me. I still move my foot around like that even when I’m just chillen on the couch or something. I used to always bang my head agisnt the back of the seat in the car every single time we went somewhere. I remember doing it on the schoolbus once on a field trip and everyone was asking me what I was doing and I wasn’t even ashamed of it because it was just something I always did. I don’t do it now unless I’m laying in bed and listening to music. I just can’t lay in bed and listen to music without doing it. It’s more of a “if I’m listening to music then I need to bang my head” rather than an uncontrollably habbit in my sleep or before I sleep. But a lot of the times I purposefully listen to music and bang my head before bed if I’m not tired enough to fall asleep because eventually it’ll make me tired enough to go to bed finally or my forehead kinda starts getting irritated or pulsing a little bit from the constant movement. I was never concerned about it but I’m started to get really bothered by something lately. I never bang the back of my head any more and I haven’t since I used to in the car. But for some reason the back of my head has been feeling so sensitive and it’s really freaking me out. It’s like right in the spot I used constantly bang it and it’s like flattened too. It scares me to touch it and it feels really sensitive but it seriously has never been an issue until now and it’s been years. It all the sudden just started up and it bothers me every single day and it’s really stressing me out and it gives me so much anxiety. Even when I don’t touch it I can feel it like pulsing or something I don’t know how to describe it. Even when I gently rest the back of my head against my pillow it starts hurting slighty like a bruise or something and I have to constantly pick it up to feel like I’m relieving some sort of pressure. I’m really scared I did some sort of dmamage to my Brian or something. It’s just seriously so confusing because it has never been an issue up until now and and I was probably like 8-10 years old the last time I banged the back of my head in the car. I’m not sure, I might just be thinking too much about it but when I get too deep into thought about it, it get so scared that I start panicking and my whole body gets chills and I think something’s seriously wrong with my head or my brain. I told my dad that he backfired my head feels weird all the sudden and and that it has a flat spot right there and he tries to reassure me thag my head is perfectly normal and that his has a slight skat spot too. Ugh I just wish I could know for sure that my head or brain is not dmamged so I could stop constantly worrying about it because I think that plays a part in how much it’s bothering me. Since it’s on my mind right now, this whole time I’ve been righting this I can feel the back of my head pulsing/throbbing and I really can’t tell if it’s genuine or if it’s just me overthinking it. I just wanted to share this here because this whole thread made me feel a little bit better about it because I do feel really weird about the habit now and it’s embarrassing to me.
  26. 26 Nat 25 Oct
    I finally learned how to control this once I went to college (so concerned I would scare my roommate). I still enjoyed it, and when I had extreme monthly cramps, it is how I would take my mind off the pain.  My parents never made me feel strange about it, saying I would out grow it. As well, my siblings would try bumping their head and get dizzy - this would make me laugh. My advice, don't stress over it and don't make your child feel different or weird.
  27. 27 Berta Jax 05 Oct
    I have rocked back and forth sitting up for as long as I can remember. A lot of people thought I was mentally Ill because of it. I’m 30 now and sometimes catch myself rocking back and forth then stop. I still stand and rock side to side. My son who is 11 years old has been bumping his head back and forth since he’s been able to hold his head up long enough to do it. He still does it but not every night through night like he used to. He sometimes rocks back and forth. I agree it’s soothing  to me and if I do it so be it. Don’t be embarrassed!
  28. 28 Michele 11 Feb
    I don't know how old I was when I started banging my head on the pillow, but I do remember being about 4 years old and telling my Mom that if she rocked me I would stop.  I was belittled by my family for it and that was horrible.  I would get myself to sleep banging my head and often bang my head while I was sleeping.  Sometimes my brother would come into my bedroom and hit me in the head while I was sound asleep.

    I was afraid that I would never stop.  I did, however, perhaps in my 20's.  I have no desire to bang my head now but sometimes move my body rhythmically to help me get to sleep.  I am 64 years old.
  29. 29 morgan 19 Oct
    i suffer with RMD. i am very embarrassed and insure about my special needs please help me. 
  30. 30 Lisa Evans 10 Oct
    I'd pull a pillow up under my shoulders and neck and "bump" for hours as a child until the age of 26. I always wondered if I'd been abused or had asbergers. My mom once asked the doctor who said it was normal but it was a horrible waste of energy and time. I'd "bump" head to music until I'd be too exhausted to stay awake. At 59 I have some really severe pain in my cervical spine where my head meets my neck. Neck and back pain is what cause me to stop. My lower back is also curved like I have swayback. I have to think at least some of this was caused by 26 years of wear and tear on the discs and joints. I have an advanced professional degree, look normal despite what I said but I'm unable to turn my neck freely to the right. X-rays show arthritis. I'm still very active despite pain because I've lived with it for so long. It's just hard to shit my mind off at night and my neck hurts. Otherwise my health is really good, weight normal just literally have a pain in my neck all the time. 
  31. 31 Felix hendrix 08 Oct
    I did since I was a baby up until my teens, I am 30 now I totally out grew it, I miss it though lol, I tried to do it today but I can't. When I stand I rock back and forth,  Ive done that my whole life. 
  32. 32 Ashley 29 Sep
    I started bumping my head when I was a baby till I was 26. I'm 30 and I want so bad to bump my head so instead I rock myself and my husband hates it. I stopped bumping my head because I didn't want my husband to think I was a weirdo, and also when I was in high school I formed a dark forehead from it. I would bump my head for hours listening to music then I would fall asleep. Sometimes I would Do it because I was stressed out and it soothed me. I honestly felt like I was damaging my brain because I had been doing it for so long. I started to get scared when I started to forget simple things
  33. 33 Bills 24 Sep
    I remember when I was in 5th grade I had to get braces and wear a night brace , I had to figure out how to continue bouncing by using a bigger pillow and clasping my hands , I don't believe i stopped until high school, my mother said my father rocked back and forth in bed on their honeymoon to fall asleep ,I always felt like it was because I was afraid of the dark or monsters under my bed ,anyway I'm a pretty normal person now 
  34. 34 Hunter 24 Sep
    i used to do it now im 20
  35. 35 Angel 15 Sep
    My son does this he will be two in December, he has done it since he was an infant, it started out as rolling his head from side to side, and now that he is able to sit up he rocks with his back to something and hums to himself. And also bonks his head in the mattress or pillow if his sleep is disturbed. I was reading a comment one lady left about problems with neighbors because of this behavior. I also have the same issues with my neighbors they actually bang on the floor and yell at him, which only makes it last longer. 
    I have tried explaining to them what he is doing and asking them to quit yelling at him and they won't, I sleep near him just because I don't want him to be alone while people are banging and yelling at him, I've had police come and one actually told me I need to control my child... I have tried everything to stop the behaviour and I've tried everything to make it safer and softer so ito not as loud, but he won't stop doing it. 
  36. 36 Nick 15 Sep
    I remember bouncing my head on my pillow as a child to fall asleep.  My mom told me I started as an infant.  I slightly remember doing it on my desk in second grade.  I'm 32 now and I'm not sure when I stopped bouncing my head to fall asleep,  I would assume some time in elementary school.  I still get comfort from motion/movement.  I love rocking in rocking chairs.  My wife sometimes reminds me to slow down a little.  While I'm in my car, I listen to music and kind of rock my head.  My parents never brought it up or seemed to concerned.  I would suggest to parents to not worry about it as long as it's not physically hurting them.  
  37. 37 Tabitha 01 Sep
    I've grown up with this problem as well but I never seen anything wrong with it it I just always looked at it as i'ma be a old lady who sits on the porch and rock . I just always looked at it as a calming thing physically and mentally . I'm a thinker ttill the point it would be hard for me to doze off so I figure rocking or banging my head will help calm my body physically meaning my body so feels energizes til the point i have to calm down so by time i banged my head and which is always for atleast 15 mins but body slow down by time my body slowed down i drifted off but mentally  my mind is still running so when I wake up I wake up on the go lol its crazy but I look at as harmless I feel like it's something that I waa meant to be born with but I can only speak for myself. Ikno my s.o try holding me rocking me to sleep that way we communicate well during those times my mom use to rock me on her lap so I guess instead of her complain about it she understood me n showed me in ways how to deal with it as if she was a doctor I guess mama knows best :)
  38. 38 Jordan 11 Aug
    I've done this since I was an infant and now I'm gonna be 15, I will be a freshman... every night before going to sleep , I bang my head on my pillow and slowly drift away to sleep and I've had some problems like dizziness and sometimes when I get up to walk, everything blacks out and I can't see. Over the years of growing up , I've been teaching myself to not bang my head. In the car and on a couch and in my bed I used to do it and I was embarrassed, but growing up I try to control myself and so now recently as I'm gonna be 15 I don't swing my head back and forth anymore or bump on a couch but every now and then I'll get angry and start bumping my head so fast cause it keeps me calm. Now all I really do is bump my head in the bed before I sleep and I try to move my legs but it's not the same but I do get side effects for doing this and I'm very sleepy now all the time. I'm scared I won't get over it. 
  39. 39 Jude 08 Aug

    I don't know when it started as no one ever talked about it, but I know I was banging my head until high school.  I was the tuck in a ball and roll forward to wack the top of my head on the wall type. 

    *** I am so deeply grateful to my parents that they never made a fuss!!! - they just got me a padded headboard rather than intervening.  I didn't even really know it was strange until my much older (8 & 10 yrs older) siblings pointed it out during an argument one day.

    As an adult with a partner I'd rub my feet against each other when it was the only path to sleep  (takes longer to settle in but works).  Eventually l got it down to where wrist circling and finger loosening (like you see piano players do), and while I suspect my husband of the last 30 years knows, he also doesn't bother asking questions about it (a wise guy) - it's just one of my funky quirks (PS: it has not been a determent to my life - graduated from Art school, was a successful business manger, graduated with honors from University in a set of academic programs, and have worked in a highly professional field for 20_ years).  I had my daughter over 25 years ago, and I think the Lamaze training helped with this sleep issue quite a bit as I will now do "labour exercises" tensing and releasing each muscle set while slow breathing 

  40. 40 reenz 17 Jul
    my son who is 2 1/2  bangs his head on pillow before he falls asleep. he sleeps well but wen he gets disturbed he does a few hard head banging on pillow... hes been doing this since 8months... hes a very active boy and doctors have not diagnosed him with any mental conditions such as ADH  or anything. He has however had febrile convulsions from his 1st year onwards. hes had a couple now...wonder if its related??ive tried talking/singing  to him in a soothing voice and rubbing his back and shoulders helps him to calm down and sleep better...ive read your guys input and Im worried that this might not go away as some of you are well into adulthood...yes hes a sensitive boy too , well ive spoiled him rotten as he is adopted...so wen he doesn't get his way he can be horrible believe me...ive been hit many times...im also afraid he can get arthritis of neck...im sure this is not normal but they keep saying it is....
  41. 41 Dave 13 Jul
    I'm going to be 50 next year, but would say the urge to bounce my head on the bead, or rock back and forth on a chair or even a couch, has never subsided.  Right now, I am typing this as I am rocking back and forth in a lazy boy. 

    I can remember when I was little, my bed had wheels on it. I would rock so hard and for such a lengthy tune that I would move the bed across the floor.  It has a calming and soothing effect for an over-active mind.

    Like some of the other comments, this has caused quite a lot of embarrassment over the years.  Of course I have had to temper this habit in bed since marriage.  I try to move my foot, but isn't quite the same.
  42. 42 DRC 01 Jul
    I have done this for as long as I can remember. I am almost 30 now. And I do believe I have a mild form of aspergers. It honestly for me and from my experiences over the years. Seems nothing more than a quick easy way to fall asleep. When I was younger I tended to headbang alot either when I was attempting to fall asleep or just to make myself feel better in the current moment. As I got older into my teens I noticed head banging didnt happen as much but me legs sure did. As I started to kick the bed while laying on my chest. Knee down my leg would kick for hours until the point I didnt even know if I was doing it or not as I would pass out. From what I can tell is this has always just been a way for my body to help my mind rest ot be put at ease. And sometimes seems like just a way to easily make yourself tired enough to sleep. Ultimately I have progressed to my current point foot rolling. As it makes very very little noise and I dont disturb anyone else in the house or even bed I am in. It has the exact same effect physically and mentally but alot less stressful to those around you. If anything I would try to show them a new silent way the same can be done. For example my foot rolling lol. Its laying on your chest like you would knee leg kick but you cross your feet not legs just feet cross them so one foot is under your other foot. Then you continue to roll your bottom foot along the foot thats on top. This allows me to get the exact same effects and feelings I get from a knee leg kick and headbangs without anyone else ever noticing. I hope this helps anyone else that may be having issues because of this.
  43. 43 Michelle 27 Jun
    My son started this at about 7 months old and still does, he's now 5. Ive received a ton of complaints by neighbors because it wakes them up at night. I had to move because security was coming to my apartment every week. It wakes me up constantly. I was woken up about 17 times last night, I'm so exhausted. I'm glad to know its not harming him, I was very worried about this. But also I want to know if there is anything I can do to stop this. We cant keep functioning this way.
  44. 44 David 22 Jun
    I'm 15 and I do this head banging thing. But I usually do it when I'm awake. I'm pretty sure I've done it in my sleep and it annoys my mom a slight bit. I dunno it's just... kinda fun I guess.
  45. 45 KY 19 Jun
    Sorry about my spelling errors, I was on a rant and didn't spell check because I was rocking myself during that speech.
  46. 46 KY 19 Jun
    I've been doing it since I was an infant, head banging on my pillow and rocking and humming making up my own songs. We were a port family, so I shared a room with my sisters, and they later told me they couldn't fall asleep without my hums. I was told recently it may be beachside of autism, but my grandma, genius cousin and I with a 140 IQ all did the same thing. I read articles and found out if we don't do it during the day, just at night to cure insomnia(which is common with smart people, or thinkers)  it's not a disorder. I was always afraid I could never have a wife because she wouldn't except me if I banged my head in the middle of the night, and it broke my heart. I've been in a couple long-term relationships in which my ladies woke me up while I was banging my head half-way through the night, and they woke me up so I didn't hurt myself during the ages of 20-30. It never stopped with me, and I'm ashamed of telling my SO all the time. But now I can, now we have research we are normal people. I'm not afraid, and niether should you or your spouses. Just let them know the facts and they should except you, if they don't, F them. We are not stupid, just got a horrible genetic case of being smarter and more thoughtful than them 😘
  47. 47 ALL-NIGHT-LONG 13 Jun
    52YO and still banging my head [luv it], now in my 45th year!
    :-)
    Its a bad habit, and the only way i can get myself to sleep
  48. 48 richard 22 May
    This subject is something I have never thought about asking my parents about. I used to do it when I was about 7 or 8 and remember my brother calling out to stop me. My parents are no longer around so I will never know if they were concerned or not. I only started researching it recently because of somebody mentioning his brother used to do it and intersetingly both the brother and I have been playing drums for most of our lives. I wonder if there is a connection....? 
  49. 49 Elena 10 May
    My daughter did this since she was one year old and now she is 3.5 and still does it - she is more aware of it now. When I caress her and she almost falls asleep without the banging, she then still asks me to leave the room so she can do her thing. 

    I noticed also that she is a highly sensitive child, there are many resources about this online. But I wanted to ask the adults that do the body/head banding, or parents of children. Do you consider yourself or your child to be a highly sensitive person? 
  50. 50 Arius 06 May
    I am 23 and I've been banging my head since I was 7 I wake up every morning with very bad head pain my head hurts so bad I cry. I've already been to a sleep study. My head banging is getting worse and worse. It's getting very annoying I don't even like to sleep cause I know I will be banging my head and waking up with my Head in pain. What can I do
  51. 51 Clancy Lewis 17 Apr
    I am ten and I still do it. It really annoys every one in my family. It just makes me get to sleep. I usually don't do it if I'm with my friends. But once I did it at school camp and it was enbarresing. I also did it while camping and mum and dad nearly kicked me out of the caravan
  52. 52 Nicasio, Caleb 02 Feb
    I've been doing this since I was an infant, I am now 17 years old. I don't know why I do this now, it is out of habit. I place a pillow, put my hands under it, and bang my head. I haven't done it for a while but I have began to do so once again. I usually do it when I can't sleep and I have body energy, then I do it until I feel like sleeping. I also rock my head back and forth in the car hitting the headboard. I know this isn't normal at my age but I want to know why I do this. 
  53. 53 Dave 31 Dec
    I had the head rolling as a child and continued  into my late teens.  I did this before bed while listening to music.  I now have sloght arthritis in my neck.  My child now does the body and head roll while sitting and listening to music and gets on his hand and knees during sleep and bamga his head on the pillows.
    Just my input.
  54. 54 AASM 05 Dec
    Jeremy - Typical cases in infants and toddlers pose little risk of serious injury. But you should consider safety precautions for your son - such as using a padded headboard on his bed. Be sure to talk to his doctor about his head banging.
  55. 55 Jeremy 30 Nov
    My son (2 y.o.) while sleeping on his stomach with his legs tucked under him (kneeling in a way) rocks back and forward backing the top of his head on the head of his bed or the wall.  Typically my wife and I will run in and re-position him to stop.  This typically has to be done twice a night.  We are worried about brain damage and concussions because he is hitting the top of his head.  Is there a risk for these for his particular type of RMD (parent diagnosed at the moment)?
  56. 56 Bryan 24 Nov
    I also started this about five years and now 50and if I don't drink 3 beers before I go to bedI still do. spent 10 years  getting my butt beat or a belt whipping because of this mighta been living in a disrupted home that caused it to but they called it my bad habit but I was always sleeping and didn't know it was going on but I'll live through it anyway a lot of good input on this site thanks for all the the people sharing on this site that I might be somewhat normal
  57. 57 AASM 18 Oct
    Joshua - Little is known about the hereditary nature of RMD. However, the International Classification of Sleep Disorders states, "A familial pattern has been reported rarely, as has occurrence in identical twins."
  58. 58 Joshua Reil 18 Oct
    I did this and still do occasionally. I was definitely the outcast of the family because of this. It's nice to know I wasn't crazy. My youngest son and Daughter now do the same thing. Can anyone tell me if it's hereditary?
  59. 59 Katie Donovan 02 Mar
    I am 35. I have been doing this since I was an infant.
    The reason I do it now is the same as always:
    I'm trying to feel better.
    There's something bothering my head or my stomach.
    When I do this, it is as effective as any medicine at relieving my symptoms.
    The academics haven't one CLUE as to why this occurs or how it helps.
    These ones here, for instance, are telling you as though it's fact that people "grow out of" it.
    The only thing that really happens is when a person begins to sleep regularly in the company of others, embarrassment leads to a cessation of the activity.
    With no siblings and no other close relationships in my life, I am free to continue, so I do.
    But you need to know this IS normal.
    It is a regular part of the human condition.
    While I'm sure a pharmaceutical company would be glad to sell you a pill for it, don't buy that trash, and don't put it into your body for something like this.
  60. 60 Mommy 21 Jan
    Our 3 year old son has "bounced" since he could sit up on his own. He sits against the wall on his bed (or his crib when he was smaller) and 'bounces' to fall asleep and sometimes when he wakes up in the morning or after his nap. It weirded us out at first, but now we can sleep through it unless he's loud. When we wake him while he's doing this we just lay him  back downon his pillow and he sleeps. It's kinda like people who sleep walk. We've been to two pediatricians, he's on par with all his  growth and development. When we asked about his bouncing habit (lol) one doc had never heard of this and the other totally brushed it off as normal/common and said he'll grow out of it. If it's so common how is it that no one we talk to has ever heard of it? Arrrg. I just want to know that he's getting good sleep, he's still little so he can't tell us why he does it (yet). 
  61. 61 david 14 Jan
    I banged my head since being a child upto 17yrs. Recently ive started to do it again i am 47yr old .y is this happening.i carnt even sleep in same bed as my partner now.i darent tell my doctor as i think he will just laugh and its getting me down
  62. 62 Head Banger 05 Jan
    I bumped my head until I was 18.  My sister hated it.  I stopped when I went to college.  You could yell at me, but eventually I would start again or do it when I woke up in the middle of the night.  It was just soothing, but when I changed my environment and my bed, I didn't do it anymore. 
  63. 63 Meh 01 Jan
    My brother still bangs his head against the pillow when he lays on his stomach at night. He's 12 is this still the same disorder? 
  64. 64 Siani 01 Aug
    MY BROTHER WONT STOP BANGING HIS HEAD AT NIGHT OR THROUGHOUT THE DAY ITS SO ANNOYING and when me or my parents ask him to stop he gets mad, I read it usually occurs in younger children but he's 7 YEARS OLD! is it still normal or is something wrong?????????????
  65. 65 Gillette Sleep Health MN 23 Sep
    For older kids and adults:   If you are actively working with a sleep specialist on improving a Rhythmic Movement Disorder, try using an activity tracker (accelerometer or actigraph) to document your progress over the weeks/months.  Use the device for 1-2 weeks before and after any medication trials or cognitive-behavioral or "self-regulation" interventions.  LW
  66. 66 Gillette Sleep Health MN 23 Sep
    With older elementary-high school aged patients, we have had some anecdotal success in many cases, using a cognitive -behavioral approach and/or medical hypnosis/relaxation strategies, with biofeedback (much like therapeutic interventions for habit disorders or in this case, a particular type of "sleep-onset association disorder").  That is, we take the skill-building approach that the child or teen "only knows one way" to fall to sleep at bedtime, or fall back to sleep after a normal awakening at night, and he or she can learn some new options that will be less disturbing for family members and more restful and relaxing for him or herself.  LW
  67. 67 AASM 07 May
    The best treatment options for RMD that persists into adolescence and adulthood have not yet been identified. "Drug treatment of RMD has not been systematically studied in children, and a few isolated case reports address pharmacotherapy for this population. Clonazepam, oxazepam, and citalopram have been used with variable success.” (Mattewal A, Casturi L, Subramanian S. J Clin Sleep Med. 2010 Feb 15;6(1):97-100.) Be sure to discuss this problem with your doctor or your child's doctor.
  68. 68 AASM 07 May
    Your frustration is certainly understandable. And you are both right - rhythmic movement disorder can persist into late childhood and into adulthood.  Unfortunately, this form of "persistent" RMD is poorly understood. In some cases it may occur with another sleep disorder - such as restless legs syndrome or sleep apnea - and may improve when that sleep disorder is treated.

    There also is some evidence of a possible connection with ADHD. (Stepanova I, Nevsimalova S, Hanusova J. Rhythmic Movement Disorder in Sleep Persisting into Childhood and Adulthood. SLEEP 2005;28(7): 851-857.)
  69. 69 A Mom 17 Mar
    No- not helpful.  My daughter is 7 and shows no signs of slowing down.  She rolls her body from side to side every night- I can always tell how bad it's been by how hard it is to brush her hair in the morning.  It causes a lot of frustration, and I have seen a couple of articles saying it might be related to ADD, which she also has.  All the articles I read say the same thing- they grow out of it by age 5.  Well, they don't- and I'd like more info. 
  70. 70 stephen novick 24 Apr
    not very helpful... Through childhood..into becoming an adult...would tuck my hands, palm up, under my thighs..body would be quite rigid..and I would rock from side to side.. perspiring.. for hours.. no touching either...would recoil frankly. Kind of made intimacy problematic, you think?

    This hardly feels 'normal'.

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