Have you ever woken up with a sudden jolt just as you’ve started falling asleep? Or maybe it felt like you were falling? It could be that it felt like you were having a huge muscle spasm. You may have even felt a small shock sensation or a bouncing feeling.
This is called a hypnic jerk and it is an involuntary twitching of a muscle, or muscles. It is estimated that around 70% of people experience hypnic jerks at some point in their lives. They usually occur just as you are falling asleep, during what’s known scientifically as the hypnagogic state of consciousness.
Scientists believe that several factors can contribute to hypnic jerks happening: anxiety, stress, alcohol, caffeine, heavy exercise late in the evening, sleeping in an uncomfortable position, being very tired or fatigued. However, for some people, a hypnic jerk can actually be a symptom of a serious health condition. In fact, 10% of the population suffers from restless leg syndrome, which causes one to experience throbbing, painful sensations in their legs.
Hypnic jerks may be unsettling or annoying, and they can become cyclical if you start worrying about them, which is a very common thing with many sleeping difficulties. So now that you know, hopefully you can start to relax and not go to bed thinking about hypnic jerks. In addition, magnesium is an antidote to stress, the most powerful relaxation mineral available, and it can help improve your sleep.