I am sure you have had this happen to you before:
You’re about to fall asleep, and all of a sudden, your body jerks.
This is called hypnic jerk, and it’s something that most people experience at some point in their life.
It can be quite startling!
But what causes it?
Keep reading to find out!
Table of contents
- What is a hypnic jerk?
- What do hypnic jerks feel like?
- What are the causes of hypnic jerks?
- Here are the five reasons why your body jerks before you fall asleep
What is a hypnic jerk?
Hypnic jerk is also known as a hypnagogic jerk, myoclonic jerk, or “sleep starts”.
It is an involuntary muscle spasm that usually happens just as you’re falling asleep.
Although most people experience it at some point, many don’t even realize they had one.
The good news is that hypnic jerks are harmless and not dangerous at all.
Research suggests that about 70% of people experience these body jerks.
What do hypnic jerks feel like?
Hypnic jerks are more intense than the regular twitches that people experience when they fall asleep.
Some people describe it as an intense falling sensation, while others describe it as a jolt, shock, or sudden jerk.
What are the causes of hypnic jerks?
There is no one answer to this question.
There are many different theories as to why people experience these involuntary muscle movements before they fall asleep.
Some doctors suggest that it is due to a lack of oxygen, while others think it has something to do with the temperature in your bedroom or even electrical impulses from the brain.
However, some scientists believe that the following five reasons cause these jerks.
Here are the five reasons why your body jerks before you fall asleep
1. You’re stressed out
Many people experience these sudden jerks when they are extremely stressed out.
According to Healthline, people who are under high amounts of stress and anxiety often experience hypnic jerks.
This is because stress or anxiety keeps your brain active, which can lead to body twitches while you are attempting to fall asleep.
So if your mind is racing before bedtime, it might be a good idea for you to try some stress-relieving techniques in order to prevent hypnic jerks from occurring again.
One way that has been proven effective in alleviating anxiety and stress is deep breathing, yoga, and taking a warm bath before bedtime.
2. You’re sleep-deprived
Chronic lack of sleep is one of the main causes of hypnic jerks because your body simply does not have enough time to recover from all those strenuous activities that happen during the day.
In fact, sleep deprivation may increase your risk of hypnic jerks, says Sleep Foundation.
The best way to prevent these jerks is by making sure that you get the right amount of sleep every night.
For some people, that may mean going to bed earlier.
And for others, it might mean taking a short power nap during the day so they can be well-rested at night.
Additionally, a sleep expert suggests that you try to sleep in a dark and quiet room with comfortable temperature levels.
So your body is able to relax properly when it’s time for bed.
The important thing is getting enough sleep every single day in order to prevent these sudden jerks from occurring again and again.
3. You exercise too much close to bedtime
If you have been exercising a lot lately, then your body might be trying to tell you something…
And that is to take it easy for a while!
Exercising too hard close to bedtime can also cause body jerks before you fall asleep.
Because of the strain it puts on the brain and other parts of your body.
So in order to avoid these jerks, it’s best for you to take a little break from working out close to bedtime.
You don’t have to stop exercising completely, but just keep your workout routine light during the day.
4. You’ve been drinking alcohol
Alcohol acts as a sedative on the central nervous system, which can cause hypnic jerks because it makes our bodies relax too much.
It is more likely to happen when you are on the verge of falling asleep after having drunk some alcohol before bedtime.
But, it can also be caused by drinking too much during the day.
So if you want to prevent these jerks, you should avoid drinking alcohol close to bedtime.
But if it’s too hard for you to give up the bottle completely, then just have one glass of wine instead.
5. You are taking too much caffeine or nicotine too close to bedtime
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that can keep you up at night.
It is not advisable to consume these products close to bedtime since they can cause sleep disturbances.
So if you want to avoid these jerks, it is best for you to stop drinking coffee and smoking cigarettes at least six hours before bedtime.
There you have it:
The top five reasons why your body jerks before you fall asleep.
Hypnic jerks are a natural phenomenon that can’t really be prevented and don’t cause any harm, but they can be annoying to experience.
No matter what the cause is, make sure you get enough sleep and relaxation in order to prevent this from happening again!
Now go on – catch some zzz’s…