Have you ever felt your body suddenly jump before you fall asleep?
It seems like a weird question but if you are like many, you’ve experienced this strange phenomena.
It can come as a bit of a shock sometimes as it jolts you from just about being asleep to wide awake in the matter of a second.
If you’ve ever been curious at all to what this is, don’t worry, it has a name..
Scientists have referred to it as both “hypnic jerks” and “sleep starts.”
University of Wollongong Australia associate professor Christopher Magee told The Huffington Post Australia, “
They occur when there is a sudden jerk of part, or all of the body, that occurs during the transition between wake and sleep. These can occasionally awake an individual and/or their bed partner.”
“The precise causes and underlying mechanisms remain unclear,” Magge said. “
However in the vast majority of cases they represent a normal event and can be experienced by healthy individuals.”
Carl Bazil, M.D. Ph.D. says that “some people just twitch and don’t wake up; it’s their partner who tells them about it later. Others, actually cry out in fear.
Making a noise during a sleep start is likely associated with a visual component, like plummeting to your death, for instance.”
Experts say that you’re more likely to experience hypnic jerks if you’re exhausted. On rare occasions, when the body is really tired, the brain will process stages of sleep too quickly.
And it will confuse itself into thinking that the body and its major systems are failing and send us an alert.
Some also propose that it could be a little signal the brain gives your body to check if you’re deep enough within your sleep cycle to move on to the next stage.
Factors like stress, caffeine, alcohol, an uncomfortable bedroom environment, spending to much time staring at a screen (TV, cell phone, computer, etc.) jet lag, and shift work can all make it difficult to sleep and cause those hypnic jerks.