sleeping baby

Beginning with the first "flutter" in the womb, many parents are fascinated by every movement that their baby makes.

This project is aimed at understanding a very particular type of movement that occurs exclusively during the part of sleep known as rapid eye movement (or REM) sleep. REM sleep has several distinct features, including the complete relaxation of the muscles controlling the head, arms, and legs. If you look closely, you will also see small "twitches" of the arms and legs, fingers and toes, eyes and eyelids, head, mouth, cheek, and brow.

We want to learn more about the importance of these twitches for infant development and we are asking you and other parents to help us. In return, we will help you learn more about your baby's movements during sleep.

This survey is designed to be easy and fast. First, we ask for some basic information about you and your baby. Second, we show you a video tutorial of sleep and twitching in newborns so that you know what to look for in your own baby. Finally, we ask you for information about twitching and awake behaviors in your baby.

Completing this first visit, which includes a brief video tutorial to help you understand what twitches look like, will take 5-10 minutes. In a few weeks, we will send you an email asking for an update about your baby; these subsequent visits will take much less time than the first.

We hope you find this survey interesting and informative. Thank you for participating!


Informed Consent Document

Project Title: Infant Sleep Questionnaire
Principal Investigator: Mark S. Blumberg, PhD
Research Team Contact: Greta Sokoloff, tel. 319-335-3975; email greta-sokoloff@uiowa.edu

We invite you to participate in a research study. The purpose of this study is to learn about sleep-related movements, or twitches, that normally occur in children across early development. Specifically, we are interested in the fine movements, or twitches, that occur during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. In the process of studying these sleep behaviors in the lab we have become interested in collecting survey data from parents about their infants' sleep and changes they observe during development. Ultimately, we hope to develop tools to track and predict developmental trajectories with the ultimate aim of detecting neurodevelopmental disorders much earlier than possible using standard clinical assessments.

If you agree to your child's participation, we will ask you to complete the questionnaire providing information about your child's sleep as well as general questions about birth date, gender, etc. The survey takes approximately 10 minutes to complete. After you submit your survey a unique identifier is saved with your email address so we can send a brief follow-up survey after about one month. We will continue to send the follow-up survey at one-month intervals until you stop completing it, at which point we will stop contacting you.

All survey data about your child are confidential and are secured on a password-protected server maintained at the University of Iowa. Your survey data will be assigned an ID code that will keep the content separate from your email address. However, federal government regulatory agencies, auditing departments at the University of Iowa, and the University's Institutional Review Board may inspect and copy records pertaining to this research. If we write a report about this study we will do so in such a way that your child cannot be identified.

Only research team members will have access to questionnaire data, which will be kept in a password-protected database. We will retain your email for the follow-up questionnaire but will delete your email from our records when you stop participating. There are no known risks from participating in this study. Your child will not benefit personally from being in this study. However, we anticipate that the information you provide will teach us a lot about the relationship between sleep and human development.

Taking part in this questionnaire is completely voluntary. If you decide not to be in this study, or if you stop participating at any time, you won't be penalized or lose any benefits for which you otherwise qualify. No information is saved unless the submit button is pushed.

If you have any questions about the survey itself or if you wish to report a research-related injury related to participation in this project, please contact Dr. Mark Blumberg at 319-335-2424. If you have any questions about the rights of research subjects, please contact the Human Subjects Office, 105 Hardin Library for the Health Sciences, 600 Newton Road, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA 52242-1098, 319-335-6564, or e-mail irb@uiowa.edu. If at any time you want us to remove your email from the database, please email pbs-infant-sleep@uiowa.edu.

*By entering my email address I agree to participate in the Parents Observing Infant Sleep Questionnaire.


Basic Information

Ethnic / Racial / Tribal Affiliation:


Sleep Information


A brief tutorial about sleep and twitching

Although we often think of sleep as a period of inactivity, we actually move a lot. The most abundant movements occur during REM sleep and are called twitches. Watch this short video to learn more about them.



Twitch Information

Using the image below and your cursor, scroll over the image to find areas where you have observed twitching in your child. A label will appear for each area. Click on the areas where twitching occurs. Alternatively, you can check the boxes at right.

childTwitchEyes childTwitchNeck childTwitchMouth childTwitchCheek childTwitchBrow childTwitchArms childTwitchArms childTwitchHands childTwitchHands childTwitchFingers childTwitchFingers childTwitchLegs childTwitchLegs childTwitchFeet childTwitchFeet childTwitchToes childTwitchToes


Additional Information
Please read carefully before starting. As you read the description of each behavior, please indicate how certain you are whether your child shows the described behavior, or not, and select the corresponding number.
-2 -1 0 1 2
Sure that child does NOT show behavior Child probably does NOT show behavior yet Unsure whether child could do this or not Child probably shows this behavior Sure that child shows this behavior (or showed behavior when younger)
You are sure that your child does not show this behavior and/or behavior is not yet developmentally appropriate. You cannot recall whether your child has attempted and failed at this behavior (and your child does not show similar behaviors). You are not sure whether your child shows this behavior. (Please use this category sparingly.) Your child shows similar behaviors and/or somebody (e.g., daycare provider) has seen your child show this behavior. You have seen this behavior and recall instances when the behavior occurred, or your child showed this behavior at an earlier age but now shows more advanced behaviors (e.g., walking instead of crawling).