Hypnic Jerks: How To Avoid Waking With A Jolt

cartoon of a man having a falling sensation durning hypnic jerks

Have you ever woken up with a sudden jolt just as you were falling asleep? Maybe it felt like an arm or leg had an involuntary spasm?

Perhaps you’ve even woken up feeling like you were falling, or with a flash of light or loud noise. If this sounds familiar, it could be that that you’ve experienced hypnic jerks.

In most cases, a hypnic jerk or two is a harmless part of the process of falling asleep, and doesn’t mean you have a sleep disorder. But if they regularly disturb your sleep or happen very often, it might help to speak to a medical professional.

A common occurrence

You’re not alone in experiencing this strange sensation at night. Italian researchers suggest that between 60% and 70% of people experience hypnic jerks at some point in their lives – both men and women, and of all ages.

hypnic jerks infographic

I regularly have hypnic jerks myself – especially when I’m extremely tired or stressed. I’ve also noticed that if I train hard in the gym late in the evening, they seem to happen more often and the movements are more pronounced.

Personally, I don’t worry about them, and see them as a sign that some much needed sleep is just around the corner.

Different names

If you research online about hypnic jerks, it’s worth bearing in mind that they are sometimes referred to by different names:

  • Sleep starts.
  • Night starts.
  • Sleep jerks.
  • Hypnagogic jerk.
  • Myoclonic jerks (myoclonus is an involuntary muscle twitch – hiccups are another harmless example).

What are hypnic jerks?

Hypnic jerks are the sudden involuntary twitching of one or more muscles when you’re falling asleep. The International Classification of Sleep Disorders manual describes them as follows:

Sleep starts, also known as hypnic jerks, are sudden, brief, simultaneous contractions of the body or one or more body segments occurring at sleep onset. Sleep starts (or hypnic jerks) usually consist of a single contraction that often affects the body asymmetrically. The jerks may be either spontaneous or induced by stimuli.

So the fact that they often occur asymmetrically explains why it might feel that just one arm or leg jolts.

They can occur independently or in response to external stimuli in the bedroom, such as your partner moving or external noise.


The most common symptom is the sudden jolting sensation of one or more limbs. However, some people might also experience the following:

  • The feeling of falling.
  • A sensation of pain or tingling.
  • Hearing a sudden noise, such as an explosion. This could also be what’s known as exploding head syndrome.
  • Flashing or unusual lights.
  • Hallucinations.

In addition, some people might notice a physiological response, such as faster heartbeat or breathing, and sweating.

Reader survey results

Back in 2014, I conducted a short survey for readers to share their experience of sleep starts. The results will be biased because people voting were already searching for information about the topic.

But with thousands of people participating, the results still provide some interesting insights.

1. Frequency

In the chart below you can see how often voters experienced hypnic jerks. It’s interesting to note that many readers had them on a daily basis.

chart of poll results into how frequently people have hypnic jerks

2. How they affect your sleep

Question 2 shows that many people are able to sleep well after an episode. And that’s in line with the general medical advice – try not to stress about them, and go back to sleep.

chart showing poll results about how hypnic jerks affect people's sleep

3. The role of stress and anxiety

The final question shows that many people feel stress or anxiety makes their hypnic jerks worse. This is also a factor which appears many times in the comments below.

So it could be that tackling stress or anxiety in your life is a good idea if it’s relevant to you.

chart of the poll results for how much people think stress or anxiety make hypnic jerks worse for them

What causes hypnic jerks?

As is often the case in the complex world of sleep, the exact cause still isn’t completely understood.

The International Classification of Sleep Disorders manual offers this technical explanation:

Hypnic jerks are hypothetically caused by sudden descending volleys originating in the brainstem reticular formation activated by the system instability at the transition between wake and sleep.

Or in layman’s terms, your brain and body are briefly a little bit out of sync as you relax and go from being awake to being asleep.

I regularly check for new research into hypnic jerks, and there has been very little published in the last few years. Since it’s historically been seen as benign, it doesn’t attract much attention and research. For that reason, there isn’t a clearer explanation as to exactly why it happens.

Researchers in 2018, for example, say that “the origin and physiology of hypnic jerks remain enigmatic.”

Factors that can increase the frequency and severity of hypnic jerks

Although the exact cause is still up for debate, sleep experts do suggest factors that might increase the severity or likelihood of them happening:

  • Excessive caffeine or other stimulants, such as nicotine or drugs.
  • Anxiety or stress.
  • Intense physical work or exercise.
  • Sleep deprivation due to sleep disturbance or poor sleep habits.
infographic about factors that can cause hypnic jerks

Is it caused by another condition?

A review of hypnic jerks literature by researchers at the University of Alabama raised an important point: hypnic jerks could in some cases be a characteristic of another condition.

Some of the possibilities they suggest include:

  • Nocturnal seizures.
  • Non-epileptic seizures.
  • Parasomnias.
  • Hyperekplexia.
  • Restless legs syndrome.
  • Periodic limb movements in sleep.
  • Excessive fragmentary myoclonus.
  • Psychiatric diagnosis.

In addition, Italian researchers in 2016 found that hypnic jerks are common in people with Parkinsonism. The Alabama team also suggested it could be helpful in diagnosing the condition.

Finally, don’t confuse sudden wakings from hypnic jerks with sleep apnea. If you, or someone you know, wakes suddenly gasping for breath, this should be discussed with a doctor.

Treatment for hypnic jerks

Do you need to see a doctor?

Most sleep experts advise that hypnic jerks are in most cases nothing to worry about. Try not to dwell on them, relax and go back to sleep again.

However, if you have them regularly and/or severely, you might want to raise it with your primary care doctor. If they think it’s a sign of another disorder, they might ask you to do a sleep study or further tests.

They might also offer to prescribe medication to reduce the frequency and give you advice about adopting more healthy sleep habits.

How can you stop hypnic jerks?

It might not be possible to totally stop them from happening. Accepting them as normal and harmless is perhaps your best option if they aren’t severe.

However, the following self-help ideas might help:

  • Cut down on caffeine, nicotine and other stimulants – especially in the evening.
  • Reduce how much intense work or exercise you do in the evening. Do exercise in the morning or afternoon instead.
  • Eat a balanced, healthy diet.
  • Use a comfortable mattress and bedding.
  • Sleep in a comfortable position.
  • If you suffer from anxiety or stress, do relaxation exercises in bed. One simple breathing exercise is to inhale for a count of 4, hold for 4, then exhale for a count of 4.
  • Try not to allow yourself to get too tired. You may understandably have a busy and tiring lifestyle. But it’s important to give yourself enough time to sleep well.

Avoid the vicious cycle of worry

Hypnic jerks can trigger a vicious cycle of worry if you become fixated on them.

If you worry about hypnic jerks, you might start to get less sleep and become more fatigued. But both anxiety and fatigue are thought to contribute to the frequency of hypnic jerks, and so a vicious cycle begins.

The key is not to allow the occasional sleep start to disrupt your sleep any more than it has to. Again, try to relax, forget about it and go back to sleep.

photo of a man looking anxious in bed

Readers’ tips for coping with hypnic jerks

In the comments below, many readers have offered suggestions for reducing their hypnic jerks. So I’ve compiled a list of the most common and interesting ideas.

These don’t all have medical backing, so please take them with a pinch of salt. But you might find the ideas useful if nothing else has helped.

  • Try to see the funny side. I do this myself, and think it’s a great way to cope with them if they are particularly strong ones.
  • Magnesium supplements have been helpful for some readers, as has rubbing magnesium oils or transdermal magnesium into the area where you most commonly twitch. One suggestion was to get a blood test to check if you have a deficiency.
  • Make sure you get enough calcium in your normal diet, or take supplements.
  • Assess your current diet. Make sure it’s healthy and balanced. Eat less sugary and salty foods. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • If you follow a special diet, such as being vegan, pay particular attention to your vitamin and mineral intake, such as the B vitamins. Ensure your diet includes the right quantity, and preferably get your B vitamins through food rather than supplements if possible.
  • Don’t drink alcohol, coffee or energy drinks for a week and see if it improves.
  • Don’t stress about it, as worrying makes it worse.
  • Try to properly deal with any major source of stress in your life.
  • If you suffer from anxiety, take steps to tackle this in your daily life.
  • Drink cayenne pepper tea (I suggest doing some research into this first).
  • Try acupuncture.
  • Stop doing very intense exercise for a week and see if it improves.
  • Try to see them as a sign that you must be falling asleep. So it’s a positive thing as you know you’ll soon be asleep.
  • Ask your doctor if any medication you take could be causing it.
  • Check if medication you’re taking has the side effects of myoclonus – a surprising amount do.
  • Stop taking sleep aids or allergy medication containing antihistamines, which might cause twitches.
  • Sleep in a different position from your back – one suggestion was that the fetal position can help.
  • Don’t go to bed late at night.
  • Film yourself sleeping or use a sleep tracker. One reader said he discovered through doing this that he was snoring, and that the hypnic jerks occurred while he was snoring heavily.
  • Some female readers feel that it can be connected to hormonal changes.
  • Ask for a referral to a sleep clinic if it’s particularly troubling.
  • Ensure you have a quiet sleeping environment. It could be a sudden noise which startles you awake.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • If you’re being bothered by them repeatedly, get up and do something relaxing for 10-20 minutes, then try to sleep again.
  • Have a light snack before bed. And if they occur repeatedly, get up and have a light snack.
  • Have a warm shower before bed. Then do relaxation exercises before getting into bed or while in bed.
  • If you do exercise, it could be excess lactic acid contributing to hypnic jerks. So try looking into ways to reduce the lactic acid.
  • Try apple cider vinegar. It’s used as a hiccup remedy, so might help with hypnic jerks too.

Your views

It’s always interesting to hear your experiences, and I know many readers have benefited from reading the stories and advice of others.

So please keep your comments, tips and theories coming. And if you have any practical ideas for dealing with hypnic jerks, I’ll continue to add them to the list.

1,110 thoughts on “Hypnic Jerks: How To Avoid Waking With A Jolt”

  1. This information has been real eye-opening. I’ve recently started struggling with this condition and it made me realize that some herbal supplements that I’ve occasionally been taking could have induced these episodes. Also for me, working out in late afternoon was the straw that broke the camels back. As a nutritionist I thought I could figure out how to stop these episodes in me, not knowing about the vast scope of this condition. One night I may have had 2hrs of sleep… it was terrible. I’ve been focusing on electrolyte balance via foods and juices and it seems to help sufficiently! I also have STOPPED taking stinging nettle root which acts as a mild antihistamine. Lots of proper hydration via celery juice and lemon water in the morning and throughout the day. I’m shooting for 5000 milligrams of potassium from foods/juices, which will also supply other needed trace minerals, for a period of a few weeks. If I notice even more improvements than I will comment again, perhaps it can help others too! Who could not be sympathetic to this awful symptom. Thanks for all your comments, suggestions, and this website. (Ps: perhaps things that are antagonist to antihistamines since they seem to be a causal factor? Could be a dumb idea…)

  2. Akash Bhardwaj

    Hello everyone,
    I have read most of the comments here. Because 40 days ago, (today is 13 June, 2020) I was seriously suffering from hypnic jerks. I didn’t sleep properly for many days. It was like hell. I have done many things to cure it and one thing that helped me is garlic.
    I just took 3-4 pieces of garlic units (1 garlic has a lot of units) and peeled them off. Then I put them underwater in a glass tumbler at night. Next morning first thing that I did is I consumed them (by chewing) and drink that water after eating garlic pieces. In three to four days, I started sleeping properly.
    I request everyone to try this cost-effective and very easy home remedy for 7 days. If you benefit from it, you should continue with it.
    I left after 10 days of eating it and sleeplessness and jerks restarted slowly then I again started its consumption but now I only take one piece and sleep peacefully.
    My age is 25.

    1. I’ve started to get multiple Hypnic Jerks to the point I only get an hour’s sleep. A couple of night ago it came to me to try wearing Sea-Bands, which are claimed to help with nausea (via seeing some people’s suggestions here to eat ginger which is also good for nausea). If you’ve not heard of them they’re acupressure wristbands. Anyway I think the Sea-Bands helped a lot – instantly I put them on. I thought I’d put my idea out there. Sea-Bands are inexpensive and safe for all so worth a try I think.

  3. Thanks so much to everyone willing to share their experiences here. Like many who have posted, I am generally very healthy in terms of mental and physical health. I eat well, and I exercise. I avoid taking medications whenever possible.

    A few weeks ago, I began to experience some stress/anxiety related to health, in addition to the general stress of quarantine. I was having some trouble sleeping, which is rare for me. It was particularly troubling since I was recovering from being very sick.

    My doctor prescribed an antihistamine (Hydroxyzine), which is supposed to be a mild medication for anxiety and sleep. Within days, I began to experience persistent hypnic jerks each time I start to doze off, and I was unable to sleep at all. I stopped taking the medication, but I am still getting very little to no sleep each night due to the jerks, which is incredibly frustrating and exhausting. For me, I think it’s antihistamine + stress that triggered the issue. My doctor does not seem to understand the problem or how difficult it is to function on such little sleep.

    Guided meditation through apps seems to be helping a bit, but it is certainly not curing the problem. Magnesium does not seem to be helping me. I am trying to push through with 5g of Melatonin before bed, and I will try some of the other suggestions mentioned here. I’ve also joined the Facebook group mentioned below. I am already realizing how difficult it is to grapple with this, and I am wishing you all well.

    1. I have a similar story. I quit smoking cigarettes about 6 weeks ago and started having slight difficulty breathing. Went to see a doctor and he thought it was anxiety, I really don’t feel very anxious mentally, but physically I think I do show many symptoms. He also gave me some anxiety medication and I took it for a few days before reading more about the medication and decided that I did not want to take it anymore. Now I have been having nights where I get hypnic jerks. Most nights I dont have them at all, and then one night will come and I will have so many that it happens ever single time I start falling asleep… for hours… tens of them, maybe up to 25 in a single night trying to fall asleep. It’s miserable because you get so tired and want to sleep but every single time you just get woken up by the jerk. I feel like a warm buzzing sensation in my chest area right before it happens. I will not be taking the medication anymore and I hope that this is mainly a physical reaction to nicotine withdrawal and causing anxiety but I will take some of the ideas here about vitamins to see if that helps. Also going to try Kombucha and CBD oil. I’ve joined the facebook group, my name is Brian Brackett, if anyone would like to talk about this with me please reach out.

      1. Hi Brian
        I don’t normally comment on this thread anymore, but I just wanted to let you know I removed your email for your own protection. There are too many people out there who will take advantage of emails being publically posted like that and sending you spam.
        This is my policy on this website, even though I know people want to connect sometimes. If anyone replies to your comment directly wanting to communicate with you, I will send you an email myself with their reply so you can make your own mind up about them.
        Hope you understand

    2. Dillon Alexander

      Hello Javier,
      My name is Dillon, 46 fit healthy / Glasgow. I’ve been having EXACT same symptoms as you, so I understand completely. I’ve experienced these twitches on about 7/ 8 different periods, with each period lasting approx 10days / nights. I would twitch at exactly the same time as I would fall asleep, maybe 3 times every hour. The more u don’t sleep the worse the twitching gets, this starts the catch 22 situation / “trap” situation. EVERY episode I have had, twitches have started because I’ve been unable to sleep- this time because of a dental abscess. The 7/8 different 10 day periods I have had this , the twitching only went away when I could sleep – this time getting abscess antibiotics. WHAT IM SAYING IS UNLESS I COULD SLEEP TWITCHES WERE NOT GOING TO STOP – AS YOU KNOW THEY ARE TORTUROUS. I’m not a medical doctor but I am a skilled worker, there’s a good chance if you can sleep for 2 or 3 nights your twitching will stop. I found it was just a case of working out how to get that first-night un-interrupted sleep, then the second and 3rd nights much easier, then TWITCHES GONE AND BACK TO NORMAL. So one way or another you will need to knock yourself out for a night or two – I would consider a 2 or 3 night only prescription sleep aid from a doctor. I.E. a sleeping tablet for 2 or 3 nights only. Even if you needed to do that every month, it wouldn’t matter, you couldn’t become addicted because after taking them twice or for 3 nights you would give yourself a 4 week gap if possible…..MAYBE YOUR ONLY WAY OUT THIS ONE MATE. Some are v.reluctant but that’s much better than the torment/ cycle you find yourself in. I reckon without 2 or 3 nights sleep you’ll be stuck. Every single time (for 7/8 times I’ve done aforementioned and it’s worked) – a lot of it is common sense but it’s hard to think straight when you’re exhausted btw. Doctors pathetic on it, GP’s pathetic on it. You’ll have to explain to him/her that you must get a few nights sleep. By all means, try your own ideas to fall asleep but if you hit a brick wall, get to your doctor buddy and get out of this – best of luck. (My physical twitching was severe). Dementing. I just beat it again and got my first full night last night, because I got one last night tonight almost a guarantee -goodness knows why but that’s how I found it Javier. Cheers.

    3. Hi Javier, I have similar experience like what you have, I keep getting persistent hypnic jerks each time I start to fall asleep, and it goes on through out the night, and it all start after I took antihistamine medicine, I can’t imagine something like this is even happening to me, it really exhausting for me as I can’t fall asleep. I find that I can sleep without jerking in the afternoon nap and I slept flat without pillow on my head.

      1. Hello MEI,
        How do you feel after a month? Do you still have hypnic jerks? I was taking antihistamine medicine, and I have had severe hypnic jerks for over a week? I hope you feel better now!

    4. Hello Javier,

      How do you feel now? I want to follow up with on this, does your hypnic jerk stop? I was taking antihistamine medicine, and I have had severe hypnic jerks for over a week? I hope you feel better now!

  4. I probably had at least 30 HJ’s last night/this morning alone (hence I googled the condition and here I am). They started at about 10:30am and went on until about 4:30am. Some small ones just in one hand and others feeling like my whole body had been zapped but both woke me up immediately. Sometimes my arm just jumps up off the bed and lands back down again! It’s interesting that I don’t really suffer from them if I’ve had a few beers or glasses of wine. My alcohol intake had risen whilst we were in lockdown from March to the end of May so I decided to knock it on the head for a while and back they came with a vengeance! Hopefully this will calm down in a few days as I’m absolutely exhausted! I had tried a mild sleeping aid containing antihistamine but it looks like this can actually make it worse rather than better! I’ll try the Zinc supplements instead.

  5. I’ve been having these progressively worse over the past five months. I found a few obscure articles referencing a nootropic called Piracetam which can be bought online in the US and by Rx in other countries.

    I’ve been taking this nootropic for a few weeks. They’ve been working rather well with the caveat you’ll need to figure out the therapeutic dose. The capsules comes in 800mg and taking up to 20g/day is well tolerated. Of course, start low and find the place where you’re not jerking anymore.

    If you have access to clonazepam, this is well suited for the two together. I need to sleep and have prayed and prayed for a solution. This is the best I’ve seen with results so far. God bless everyone experiencing these debilitating jolts.

  6. Hi guys

    I have been experiencing these things for well over 10 years now. Terrified me at first and caused a lot of worry.

    It’s only after years of having them that I take some comfort that they’re not a sign of some horrible terminal condition.

    Still, in that moment that I wake up gasping for air, in those seconds, they are as scary as ever!

    I have been to see many doctors and agree that the medical profession seems to have absolutely no idea what causes it. I gave up going to see them about this years ago.

    My experience is that it is something to do with stomach acid and GERD. Typically happens to me when I eat dairy or something with wheat. If I avoid these, I sleep fine. If not, then like clockwork, the sleep starts to kick in. I remedy it with a couple of antacids or something alkali like almond milk.

    My hypotheses is it’s acid irritating something in or around the gullet directly above the stomach. I’ve heard mention of the vagus nerve being a possible culprit. This would seem to make sense to me as I also notice my heart racing a little when the acid starts.

    Best of luck all

  7. Hi there,
    I have suffered from horrible hypnic jerks for many years until I understood the root cause of this severe condition and was able to finally heal myself from it. I would like to share this here with you in order to help.
    First time I experienced them was around the age of 20 where my arms would just fly off or I would get numbness or tingling sensations in arms or legs. It would come occasionally then at the age of 48 it was EVERY night. I was scared to go to bed because every time I was about to drift off into sleep it was like being zapped with a defibrillator. And that would happen about 5 – 10 times sometimes accompanied by heart pain and dizziness from the jolts. At the point where my otherwise healthy heart was starting to hurt I knew I had to do something about it.
    It is not a simple reaction of the body as a sign of relaxation before drifting off to sleep. It is much more serious: it is a status of severe nutritional depletion. IT IS A LACK OF MINERALS AND VITAMINS. Specifically electrolytes such as Magnesium, Potassium, Calcium and Salt. AND particularly B Vitamins – especially Vitamin B12. Please google and you will find all the answers. For a short fix: yes a banana and some magnesium will help you to get a good nights sleep. BUT YOU HAVE TO DIG DEEPER.
    It took me years of desperate research – fearing that my 2 kids (8 and 12) would end up like me because I was already seeing small jolts in them before falling asleep.
    The reasons for nutritional depletion are many: eating the Standard American Diet (SAD) with lots of sugar, white flower and processed foods – that cannot be called food because they are just dead.
    All medications starting with Anti-Depressants, Anti Acid (Reflux) meds (Proton pump inhibitors) , Pain Killers, Cholesterol lowering meds (Statins), etc, etc. do act as chelators and strip you off your nutrients. The Anti Acid meds are especially bad because they lower stomach acid which is the only way your body breaks down protein from meat. (See Barbara O’Neill youtube videos about digestion.)
    Meat is your highest source of B-Vitamins. EATING SMALL SERVINGS OF LIVER WAS MY WHOLY GRAIL TO RECOVERY.
    Magnesium is the mineral that gets depleted the most and the fastest when you are dealing with stress of any kind : emotional, enviromental (chemical exposure) and physical (exercise). See Morley Robbins for Magnesium burning rate.
    Being on a VEGAN diet for a while “drove the last nail to my coffin”. I was already depleted of nutrients due to histamine intolerance and not eating meat made things sooo much worse for me that I thought I would simply die. Popping Multi Vitamins or high dosed B-Vitamins was NOT helping because the synthetically produced Vitamins are not as bio-available to your body as real food. You have to fix your diet and your gut. The books and videos I watched about how to fix myself were from: Barbara O’Neill, Morley Robbins, Chris Masterjohn (!!!) Dave Asprey, Thomas Delauer, Marc Hyman, Daniel Amen, Stephen Gundry, etc. You have to find your own guru or learn from all of them. But you have to make sure your body gets all the nutrients because your body is screaming with those jerks and jolts and those other horrifing signs and signals for relief. Sorry it was so long – I could write much more.. I just want to help. :-)

    1. Hi Patricia – Thanks for your message. I think you are spot-on that it is a mineral problem. You mention the top 4 of magnesium, calcium, sodium, and potassium. But, from my experience the key mineral that I believe for now at least has cured my jerks is ZINC! Apparently BOTH magnesium and zinc get depleted during times of stress (anyone under stress these days?), and, consequently we’re not able to calm ourselves down enough to go to sleep. I was popping mag pills like crazy, but it wasn’t calming me down enough, and they certainly didn’t solve the jerks problem. I believe there are two systems in our brains that are at war with each other. You haven’t slept in 72 hours… So, part of your brain says “I need rest…I’m going to put you to sleep”… BUT, you have sooo much cortisol in you, because the Zinc hasn’t reduced it, and the other part of your brain is saying, “I can’t let you fall asleep… you need to save your family from this ferocious tiger, burglar, virus, etc…” Give it a try folks! Peace and love and health and a good night’s sleep to us all!
      Chris L

      1. not only do we have a new way of treating HJs but we *also* have a fully relatable story! with a 16-month-old at home, I’m ALWAYS on homeland-security watch, lol. thank you for that needed chuckle. I’m gonna venture out (with a mask on) to see if I can find a good zinc supplement. thanks Chris!

    2. Thank you for your story. When I was not actually feeling stressed but having jolts that wake me, which started a couple of months ago, it seemed nobody had an expansive or similar story. I’ve tried checking into vitamin and mineral health but not to the degree you suggest. It gives a good direction.

    3. Omg!!! Thank you for this!! I started getting these once I switched to a vegan diet and I’ve been taking vitamins but it hasn’t helped much. Started to worry me!!! And really causing anxiety and sleepy deprivation as well as insomnia. I think I’m going to introduce salmon back into my life and work out more. Because I guess I’m not eating enough and not getting all the nutrients I need to get! Thank you so much for this post!

    4. Patricia thank you so much for your insight. This has drove me crazy. I does every night. After read everything especially the part about the SAD diet and when these started happening I now see a huge correlation I didn’t see before. Again thank you so much 🙏

    5. Oh my gosh, reading this is so crazy. I am suffering so badly with these jerks all night long and getting almost no sleep. Then waking up to take care of two toddlers. I am a vegetarian and I take the methylated B vitamins but they don’t seem to be helping. What you’re saying is resonating with me but I don’t know if I can make myself eat liver. On the other hand, I am desperate. I guess you have to do what you have to do. Thank you so much for your post.

  8. Please, anyone suffering from Hypnic Jerks that are here for help and answers. Join this Facebook support group! Look up: Hypnic Jerk/Sleep Myoclonus Support in the facebook search bar. I just joined and it’s wonderful to know that I am not alone in this fight.

    1. I have been experiencing jolts 5 or 6 times a night. I have been a wreck, I am awakened by them, l called my doctor he said there probably due to anxiety.. l almost dread going to bed, it’s nice to know I am not alone.

      1. I know, right? I have googled everything I can think of and I was so happy to find this group. I feel like it’s driving me crazy.

    2. Hi, Hilary,

      Thanks for the group info. I just now requested to join the group. It is, great to know we are not alone.


  9. I have had these “body jerks” for years. They happen just as I’m falling asleep. My whole body jumps then after I do fall asleep. A few times I have had a second one. I work night shift and don’t get as much sleep as I really should have and suffer from insomnia on occasion as well. I have a positive view on this happening. I feel like it’s my body getting rid of any tension and stress so I can get to sleep as I do tend to fall asleep right after. I say my body is shaking off the crap of the day so I can sleep.

    1. Katja Ahlstrom

      Yes mine got really bad after the second pregnancy. It was torture so that I had to terminate a pregnancy at 5 weeks:( I found out that I had low progesterone levels and started on the natural Prometrium 200mg every night, which helped tremendously. I am quite certain there’s a hormonal connection.

  10. Hi all
    So I’ve been suffering from health anxiety on and off since 2013 and it’s been a journey. With one ‘issue’ after another it’s been pretty bad at times.
    Well in Dec 2017 after a bout of insomnia I started experiencing these jerks. I would be frightened to go to sleep in case I didnt manage to sleep and throughout the day I would be thinking about it. A couple of days after a 2 day binge drinking session I got these hypnic jerks.
    Fast forward until now and they’re still here but I would get weeks of not getting them. They also didnt bother me as much as I started to understand what they were and that they are normal.
    I think mine are almost certainly anxiety related. When I get worried about them I start over analysing and literally inspect my body until they eventually come.
    I get really annoyed at times when they are throughout the night but have to remember I’ve also had times when they’ve not come at all. When I dont think about them they seem to not come or come once and I sleep causing no disturbance but when I dwell on them they can come often (yesterday was the first day in a while they came the whole night though and that was also probably down to jet lag as I landed back to london at 1am and didnt get home until 2am so I’m thinking that may have played a part).
    Its annoying though because when I have a bad night with them i start thinking “will they ever go away”. Anxiety sucks.

    1. Hi Ammanuel,

      Thanks for your explanation a while back – I have had the exact same problem and scouring the internet came across your post.

      I have Health anxiety and two weeks again started exactly this – I start to fall asleep and then bang – a thumb twitch or a body jerk. The more I think about it the worse it gets. Did you ever manage to overcome this and if so how? Equally have you any advice?


  11. Hi,
    This is a general response to this topic which outlines my experience in this regard and suggests some measures which I find very helpful and may be of help to others.

    I suffer from an undiagnosed sleep condition (for more than a decade now) which manifests itself in a variety of ways. One of the ways it manifests is in the form of a type of hypnic jerks similar to what many people describe in this thread. For me these tend to occur later in the night, after sleeping for a few hours, and may then continue to the morning. They involve jolting awake from dreamless sleep for no apparent reason. As and where they occur repeatedly they are major sleep disruptors. Another way my condition presents is in the form of more traumatic waking episodes whereupon I become partly awake or aware with an intense feeling of something being very wrong (like I’m not breathing or I’m simply dying) and struggle desperately, in a panic, to wake fully…not pleasant!

    I’ve had this all checked out with various sleep studies, tests, etc. Although, the sleep studies have confirmed that the episodes are real, they’ve ruled out all the various medically recognized sleep conditions including sleep apnoea. In fact, all the tests have showed that I’m in good physical health and condition. Moreover, I exercise frequently and I am near an ideal weight. I have suffered in the past from anxiety but I’ve been relatively stress and anxiety free for some years now. I am male and in my late forties.

    However, in spite of the lack of any medical diagnosis, the good news is that I have this condition largely under control. I have achieved this primarily through my diet. To make a long story short, I have discovered, formally by chance, latterly through research, that the following dietary approaches provide a means to greatly reduce the symptoms (and probably the cause of) my condition.

    These approaches are, in order of effectiveness; A) a gluten-free diet, B) the Paleo diet and C) The AIP (Auto-Immune Protocol) diet.

    If you check these out, you’ll see that these diets, A to C, get progressively more stringent (the AIP diet in particular is pretty difficult and time-consuming to follow, but is very healthy and has lots of additional health rewards). Whichever way, I find that the more I stick to the AIP diet the less symptoms I get and the better I sleep…essentially a real life changer for me.

    Notwithstanding, the need to rule out more obvious, possibly dangerous, sleep conditions, such as sleep apnoea (with a medical professional), I would suggest anyone suffering from hypnic jerks or other similar un-diagnosed sleep conditions could try the dietary approach as described above. That is, try first a gluten-free diet (without processed substitutes), then if needs be try the Paleo diet and/or then the AIP diet. In spite of what some mainstream medical professionals might advise, these diets are perfectly healthy and nutritionally balanced. However, they do take some effort but if it helps in any way with the debilitating sleep issues described in this thread then they can only be well worth the effort.

    If you’re curious as to why these dietary approaches might work, you can check out the research and thinking behind the Paleo and AIP diets online or in various books which you can find in the health section of good book stores (essentially, I believe that I have some sort of gut-related autoimmune condition which manifests itself in sleep disturbance).

    Finally, I’d like to point out that my suggestion is based on just my experience. In this regard, I feel it important to point out the many other suggestions in this thread, all of which are just as valid. In particular, I believe that the comment by Sonic 123 and those comments addressing the possible role of anxiety in these conditions make for very useful and significant reading.

    1. Peter, you are the first person to describe exactly what I experience. Very interesting about how you are using diet to control this. I’ve also had sleep testing and I do have sleep apnea. I thought once I got CPAP that these would go away, but they haven’t. I too am in relatively good shape, and have struggled with Anxiety in the past. I know my episodes go up when I am under stress, but there doesn’t seem to be a 100% clear trigger for me. The only other issue I deal with that I believe to be related is chronic headaches. I’m not sure if my lack of sleep causes headaches, or my headaches cause my sleep issues. I will continue to read these posts. I’m happy to find someone that is in my same boat.

    2. Hi Peter,

      Just wanted to thank you for that information. I’m dealing with some health issues currently, and have undergone numerous tests and everything has came back fine. I have been stressed like no other and also find myself having hyping jerks almost every night. The only nights that I could sleep a full 8 hours were those nights that I ate a clean gluten-free diet, mostly consisting of fruits, vegetables, and fatty fish or Poultry. I definitely think this is something that is anxiety-induced due to the fact that I sleep like a baby when I take my anxiety medication. Hopefully I can get a diagnosis for my symptoms soon enough and learn to live with them, thanks again!


  12. Hi all
    Has anyone suffered or is suffering from this.
    In mid-July I had a very severe hypnic jerk through my whole body which stretched my body straight, like a plank. I was left with numbness down the whole of my left side with pins and needles (paraesthesia) in my forearm/left hand, and under my left foot. No medication taken for 6 weeks then amitriptyline from 10 mg then up to 25mg which has made no difference. I still have this condition nearly 4 months on. I am lowering the dose back to 10mg than stopping it. I hope my body will recover naturally. Neurologist says there is no underlying serious condition, there is generally no proper pain, but very serious discomfort. I can walk and do normal things but this is mentally getting very serious. Has anyone had any such condition and did it go away on its own. ? Thank you.

  13. Sometimes hypnic jerks occur to me repeatedly. Unless I get up and walk a little, if I don’t walk a little, maybe more than 20 times I will fall sleep and immediately wake up.

  14. Stiobhan Napier

    I googled the question,” explain why when I start to read my ipad etc,after a couple of minutes I suddenly get extremely tired, then about every 30 seconds or so I get severe body jerks from any and every part of my body, but when they happen at my chest area, it’s like I’ve been zapped by a defibrillator and my chest jumps right up and the force goes up my neck and jerks my neck right up to my head!!? When they happen they come with quite a force with no warning and I get very annoyed with not knowing why this is happening?!
    My basic background is I will be 50 years old next Wednesday, and during these 50 years I’ve been battling the aftermath of severe child abuse by a sociopathic father and a covert narcissistic neglector, who are still alive and living a life that they don’t deserve. I finally disowned them in 2017, when I managed to sum up the courage to fight off there manipulation and extreme gaslighting, but I did it and changed my name legally.
    So the moral of the story is that for my whole life I’ve learned to be terrified of my father, as he was and still to this day a 6 ft 2 in , 22 still, or in pounds around 300. And this guy put me in hospital for 40 days with broken bones and malnutrition, and for comparison, I was at 4 years and 6 months,only 13 pounds when I entered hospital and 18 pounds when I was discharged. So when I mentioned that I learned to be scared, it was very easy in the hands of this drunken monster!!!
    Please excuse me for my ramblings but it is quite cathartic to get it written down!
    Well, as a child i developed hypervigilance, and was in the fight or flight mode permanently and the longer it went on it was harder to relax my muscles as my brain had decided that there was a permanent danger so fight or flight stayed.
    This went on all my childhood,then I built up the courage to leave home, away from these two sorry excuses for parents.
    But as I never got any guidance, far less love, I struggled to adapt to adult life, especially when I could not relaxed, ever, and struggled to get more than 4 hours of broken sleep a night,then doing a hard day’s work.
    This has been the pattern of my life until I was 36 and I finally collapsed mentally and physically and had a breakdown, then I started the life of doctors and medication, with the odd appearance of the Psych team, without managing to much success.
    I myself is 6ft in height, but was only 9 at or 126 pounds until I was in my mid thirties,then the medication started, bearing in mind that I have never had an affiliation with food, my weight as of today is 19st ,or about 270 pounds, all thanks to the medication that is supposed to enhance my life, not make even more difficult.
    I’m getting there!! LOL!!
    So, with the years of getting less than half the amount of sleep and REM sleep, I started getting slight ticks about 2 years ago, then gradually over the next 24 months,they started to worsen, now as from today, I was reading something on my ipad,then I would feel my eyes getting heavy,this was only over a few seconds,then the,what I call them,.. ZAPS,. and like I already mentioned, were like a zap from a defibrillator, and they are very distressing!! Coincidentally, I have been writing this novel for about 40 minutes or so and I have not felt the sheer tiredness or getting any zaps that I would have if I was reading stuff instead of writing?!? I’m confused??
    Nearly done!!
    So to this day my sleep has not changed, and my body is permanently in pain and tense 24/7 , the last and the only time I slept through the night without knowing if I woke during the night, was when my 3 year old daughter felt unwell one night and I let her sleep with her mum and I slept in her bed that night,and that was sometime in 1996!
    I finally got a GP to put me forward for a sleep study, and 10 months later I had a home sleep study as the NHS where I live don’t have the facilities for over night studies in the hospital. Well after 5 weeks I received a letter telling me that I would be getting a detailed analysis of my study, but in the meantime I have to go to the hospital on Friday to collect the equipment needed for a trial period to see if it will help with my MILD SLEEP APNOEA!! and do other tests. I’m sure I told them about my jerking episodes, so after reading this article today, its confused me even more than before!!?
    Well, I think that’s it for now, I hope you guys who take the time to read my life story, don’t get confused with my ramblings, as I’ve written this blind and I haven’t even proof read it for errors, which there will be a few!
    Finally, I would be delighted if I can find one other person out there, who can relate to my story, even if only part of it!! Thank you to all who have allowed me to tell my back story to the reasons for my sleep jerks!

    1. Sounds like you have deep experience with sleep problems and meds. There is a group on Facebook…hypnic jerks/sleep myoclonus that talks about all of this stuff. Your input could help and vice versa.

    2. Kayleigh Richards

      My name is Kayleigh and I’m 30 years old. Everything you’ve said there about the “zaps” and “defib shocks” resonated deeply with me. This has been happening to me for about a month and it’s affecting my sleep and day to day life.
      It’s taking me hours to actually get some sleep and when they stop and I do eventually fall asleep I wake up because I’m sleep talking or doing what I’m doing in the dream, like I woke up while I was running my hands over my eyes like I was applying makeup – like I had in my dream.

      I also wake up kind of confused sometimes to, not realizing that I’m in my bed & thinking I’m somewhere else for anywhere from 10-30 seconds, and sometimes I get pulled back into sleep before I can wake up properly.
      I’ve always had that on and off.

      But this zap thing is new. And it’s really getting me down. The worst ones are the chest zaps – it doesn’t matter what position I’m laid in it will make my entire body uncurl and straighten, and it hurts.
      I’ve been having a couple of mini zaps through my body during the day time so originally I was looking at tics online but i didn’t find anything I related to.
      Until I found this page and your comment.

      1. Hi I’m in Australia, 66 yrs old, yes I can relate. When I tell my dr he gives me a strange look, I don’t think he understands at all. I seem to get it daily. I had a swollen knee last month, whenever my leg jerked I was in agony as my knee was jumping when should have been kept still. Last night my remote control went flying across the room when my arm had a sudden jerk! I really don’t know the answer, good luck let me know if you get any good info. thanks

    3. Hi Siobhan,
      I was very touched by your writing and your life story. As a child I experienced similar conditions – just not so violent and severe. I have written a (long) comment here how I healed myself from hypnic jerks and I would be happy if it helped you as well.

  15. I have dealt with these for 8 months now. They started suddenly and the first few nights were horrible…little sleep and lots of anxiety. I went to my neurologist for a sleep study only to be told they can see the night disturbances, but no apnea, restless legs, etc. (mine are mostly in my chest, shoulders, arms). The only offer was meds. Reading forums like these, I did start talking magnesium which appeared to lessen the jerks. The best I have found so far is KAL Magnesium Glycinate 400 chewable. I take 1 at night, only 25% the daily value before bed.

    While this has helped and I have even had jerk-free nights, I happened to discover another possible tool…bananas. Seriously…it was by complete chance over the summer I was at my father-in-law’S house and I ate a banana before bed. I almost never ate a banana before then and had been suffering 5 months with jerks…every night. That night was my first fully jerk free night. I woke up the next morning and thought it had to be luck. But I was able to reproduce the results for several days.

    I decided to fortify my diet with potassium, thinking it was possibly another key to routing this out. I would say overall, this has reduced my jerks most nights to less than 5 before I am off to sleep. Before that, jerking every few minutes until the very AM was common. I am not sure if it is just potassium as bananas are loaded with other nutrients, vitamins, and minerals and also replenish electrolytes. All I know is jerks are very reduced and it’s getting more common I’ll have a regular jerk free night.

    I still have one bad night every few weeks, but nothing like what I dealt with prior. Most importantly to me, it’s not crazy meds and high doses of over the counter anything. A daily banana and the chewable magnesium I mentioned above. Try it for a few days and reply back if it works. Hopefully, others will find this helpful. I thank God I stumbled upon it. Sleeping 6-7 hours again is bliss.

    1. Jerks causing sleep deprivation.. Sedatives cause weird side effects.. Will try banana and magnesium supplement.. Thanks

    2. I’m a 68 yrs old woman, retired and happy, but been having trouble sleeping through the night. For the last 8-10 yrs i would wake up 3-4 times a night and often wonder what wakes me up. Lately, in fact, today I was fallen asleep and I jolted awake and my hands and lakes we’re moving/ in the air. I even bit my tongue a little. In the last 5 months I experienced funny feeling on both legs that makes sleeping impossible. I even pray to God to help me to sleep.
      I’m currently taking hypothyroidism meds and a low dosage of hypertension meds.
      Can someone help? I’m just tired if interrupted sleep for a long time. Good luck to all who have the same problem. Don’t stop trying to find what may help you.

    3. Hi joshua is that magnesium chewable? Is it good for that illness? I need your help because my daughter is suffering for that jerk or movements in the body while sleeping. thanks

    4. Hi there,
      I have dealt with this exact condition for just over a year now. I couldn’t believe it when you mentioned the banana. I as well tried the banana thing back before the summer and it helped tremendously! I would eat half of it and take the other half to my room to have on my night table in case I woke up.
      I have gotten a bit better but I am suddenly in the thick of it now again and taking clonazepam to sleep.
      I am going to go back to the banana and magnesium you suggest.

  16. Drinking Zinger tea before bed helped with my night jerks and sweating. It was suggested by my acupuncturist. I don’t go a night without drinking it!

  17. Hi Patrice, well the ‘revelation’ came over time by experience. Amongst other things, I noticed that in periods when my mind was occupied by other things, I would have fewer Jerks. Lying there being aware of dozing off And hoping No Jerk would come ALWAYS led to a new Jerk. As these ‘findings’ became clear to me the Jerks gradually subsided. There could still be nights of only a few hours of broken sleep, especially those nights when I knew I had to perform or present something at work the next day. About a year ago I realized that fundamentally i had to get rid of fear. As in thinking like this ultimately: well, you may not sleep today nor tomorrow, yes you may go to Hell…that’s shit but accept it. Your fear is not helping at all, it’s maintaining the problem. To say it clearly: the day you stop being afraid of dying from insomnia, thats the Day your journey back to normality starts. It’s your body that is meant to take care of sleep, not your mind. Even today when im fatigued i can get Jerks, but its just overload of adrenaline. It never keeps me awake for Long anymore. You need to let the Words sink in. Im sure you will know deep down the Day you Will actually believe it. It doesn’t happen overnight. It’s a mental journey. Accept when you fall back into despair, its only human. Safe journey : )

  18. I experienced this the first time 5 years ago, and I was smashed into despair the following months. Twice I had my wife drive me to the psychiatric hospital to get help, pills, or whatever could give me a Hope that I was going to sleep again (and survive). I got pills but no answers. After 5 years of a journey into myself, I have now found the answer. And it is, luckily, very simple: its all about adrenaline. When I started to truly believe this was the cause, and I started to not care about the Jerks, they subsided. The jerks are really your body trying to get rid of adrenaline. They are not a cause, they are an effect. An effect of adrenaline overload. For the past year I have not had any sleepless night. By experience I know it takes time to deeply believe this, so be patient and accept when you detract into fear. The solution is really to face fear deeply. It takes time to understand these simple Words though. They are, however,the solution to this catch 22 situation. The key words are understanding, acceptance, and patience. Safe journey out there, the solution is within you not in pills or alcohol.

    1. I am very interested in talking to you about this more than you realize !
      Thank you
      I believe you but need a bit of support and I have a couple of questions.
      How did you calm yourself?
      Did you use any supplements or nutritional changes did you do any other changes whatsoever when you stopped?

    2. I suddenly developed what I think is called sleep onset apnea where right at the interface between sleep and awareness I am “bounced” back into being awake – day or night. The only thing that allows me to sleep is vaping or tincture of marijuana (mid to high THC). Kava helps next in line and then the usual herbal sedatives (and minerals) might help a little.
      Along with the bounce and during that bounce my hands and feet will “tremor” a small amount with no heavy jerking. This kind of tremor only happens during that rise out of sleep. The interesting thing is I also have heart palpitations which around 4 weeks before I developed this apnea with tremors I tried to stimulate my vagus nerve to eliminate some nagging heart palpitations. Via breathing very rapidly and deeply in and out trying to get my diaphragm to excite the vagus nerve since that is supposed to reduce palpitations. That did not work but it did result in an extreme form of sleep onset apnea where right at the point of dozing off I was “violently” jerked awake similar to some of the posters here. Then a few weeks later I have this sleep onset problem all the time but without the violent awakening. Without sedatives this awakening seems to be accompanied by a cortisol or Adrenalin rush so much that a few times of that and then even relaxation in bed is impossible.

      I think what happened is that “ballistic” breathing I tried was pivotal to producing some kind of “gut” response where my gut is now conditioned to prompt my body to not go to sleep for “safety” sake. The wikipedia entry for hypnic jerks indicates this jerking could be a primal response where we descendants of monkeys may still be worried about falling out of trees….

      This is why strong sedatives are the only thing that works to keep my gut brain in a relaxed state and this only works for 3-4 hours then I wake up and need to sedate again.

      The best treatment is somehow to nondrug convince my gut its ok to go to sleep.

  19. I’ve been having trouble finding anyone on earth with my symptoms – they fluctuate between something resembling primary central sleep apnea (brain does not tell lungs to breathe) but only every time I doze off- and body pain sensations that jolt me awake/heart palpitations – any of these while dozing. The episodes seem to come on when I’m extremely exhausted and am exposed to a slight chemical smell. It seems that MCS, hyperosmia, and these night jerks are all coming together at times when I’m run down and exposed to slight smells… but I don’t know how to stop this. When it happens, it normally comes on for 2 to 3 nights in a row, leaving me almost like a stroke patient for a few days. I am trying to recover from toxic mold exposure, but have no real treatment for that that’s affordable. Any ideas would be helpful and most appreciated. I’ve been called crazy by many doctors, but have a clean bill of psychological health. I do have anxiety, which is pretty well managed. This, for me, seems physiological/neurological and started after moving into an apartment with hidden toxic mold.

    1. I am having the same issues, which is definitely related to mold illness. Also causes dysbiosis of the gut, causing a vicious circle that you try to work out of and can’t. Very frustrated and most days feel hopeless. Gutcritters.com has some good information that might help.

    2. Hi, same thing here. Just about asleep then jolt awake & have heart palps. Hard to sleep after that! Also exposed to moldy ceiling in the bedroom for several years, followed by being given antibiotics (for teeth removed which killed all gut bacteria). But, I really think the problem is PTSD. 50 yrs later I realized I was awake during a childhood tonsilitis operation. The anesthesia given wasn’t enough. It was both terrifying & somewhat painful. And, perhaps, developed a fear of going to sleep. I believe this caused me to have central apnea now as well… I have no good answers for you unfortunately, just lots of sympathy.

    3. Martha Stettinius

      I am being treated for chronic inflammatory response Syndrome from exposure to toxic mold in our home, and I have been having tons of hypnic jerks in my lower chest near my diaphragm. They always happen when I’m on the edge of sleep, like a spasm or a jolt of adrenaline. Sometimes I cry out in pain. Docs have not known what it was, they have just been treating my apnea. My heart is normal. I believe it’s a neurological issue because of my inflammatory condition. I have also developed ME / CFS as a result of the mold, which includes dysautonomia. Muscle contractions like hypnic jerks could be related to my autonomic nervous system going haywire.

  20. This happens to me regularly because of stress and muscle pressure. But once I experienced this sensation of falling of the building and at the moment I would usually wake up( near the bottom) I just fell and hit the ground and I was laying on the ground all broken for few minutes and I couldn’t move but I could speak. I can’t remember what happened after that.

    1. Hi, I’ve been suffering from violent Hypnic jerks for close to a year now. They seemed to start when I was prescribed an antidepressant for anxiety and sure enough one of the side effects is hypocrisy jerks at first they were almost entertaining and I’d just laugh it off and quickly fall asleep. When I learned this was a side effect I immediately weaned myself of the medication. The jerks seemed to improve for a few weeks but have since come back tenfold. I get violent attacks that affect my abdomen, legs, forehead muscles, wrists, lips, cheeks, neck and just about any part of my body that has a muscle, I get at least 15 to 20 attacks per night before I fall asleep (if I sleep at all, which is becoming rare) and the more sleep deprived I get the worse the jerks are. I’m worried that I’m having seizures and it’s completely affecting my sleep in a negative way. I’m seeing a sleep doctor but I can’t afford the out of pocket cost of a sleep study so he’s prescribed me Lunesta in the meantime. The nights I take Lunesta it seems to help but I still have the jerks, I just fall asleep faster because I’m drugged. I don’t want to get dependent on sleep aids but this is starting to ruin my existence, it’s a living nightmare. Sometimes when I’m in the fetal position my entire body will jerk completely straight as a board and I’ve even pulled muscles from this. I don’t have an exercise regimen but I’m not lazy, I eat healthily, take vitamins including magnesium. I’ve tried all the tips this site has to offer but please, if anyone else has any advise that may help, please post a response. I feel like my body is defective, this is a form of torture. Please help.


        My body jerk when I am about to sleep. I am having this problem since December and it’s been almost 6 months now. I have the same problem as you. Jerk and some twitching all before sleep start. I was put one medication but when I stop the medicine the jerk is back. Spoken to a few friends and they experience this for about a year and it goes off by its own. Each night I wonder when will this go off.

      2. I have a post here already. I was having allergy type symptoms and a coworker suggested Allegra D. I got a full body hypnic jerk the first night. I only realized after the 3rd nite of whole body jerks. The weirdest one was the stomach muscles literally feeling like they were ripping! I didn’t know what was happening. All i knew was every time I fell asleep I was immediately woken by a violent jerk from one part of my body to another. I only realized that night after going on the Internet that it was from the Allegra D. My neurologist actually said it was specifically from the D in the Allegra which is actually a chemical that they make Methamphetamine out of! I also have to tell you I am 59 years old and consider myself almost a naturalist. Rarely even take an Advil! Im so sorry I ever took anything now!! Anyway my Neurologist said my jerks were definitely from that and I had a severe allergic reaction to it. That its taking a lot longer than usual to go away because I have a very sensitive system to anything I take because Ive never taken a lot of stuff. My neurologist said this will 100 percent go away if it is drug-related. It’s now going on 6 weeks that I still have jerking going on but my Neurologist said its because of my being sensitive. He set me up for a 2 day EEG in about 2 weeks from now but thinks this will be totally out of my system before I get to that point. After about 3 weeks of the jerking and very little sleep I started going to an Acupuncturist. He said he would detox me which meant needles in the gut. He also distresses me with other parts of my body. Since Ive been going to him I am doing better and better. I had 8 goid nites in a row which means I only jerked in the very beginning of the nite maybe 6 or 7 times but they were not strong enough to make me not fall asleep. By the way throughout this ordeal all I took was Melatonin. I tried Klonopin prescribed by my doctor after the first week but that made me jittery. I stuck with Melatonin 3 mg. I took half of it in the beginning of nite and half after waking up after 3 hours which gave me 5 or 6 hours of sleep which was good enough to keep me going each day. Thank goodness the Accupuncture started working because the Melatonin stopped working and I was terrified at the thought of getting another pharmaceutical. Anyway, i had 8 good nites and then 3 of no jerking at all! Then the next nite I had some strong ones as I was falling asleep and then I panicked and took a Melatonin. I slept about 4 and a half hours and woke up at 6. When I tried to fall asleep boom i got a full body jerk. That was the first time Ive tried falling back to sleep in the morning and I totally did not expect that! My Acupuncturist said not to worry if I had a bad night or 2 in a row that sometimes it gets worse then even better. Last nite I didnt have any again but again tried to fall back to sleep at 6 but my shoulder jerked hard so I got up. I go to my Acupuncturist tomorrow. I’m hoping this goes away totally to NEVER come back so when I read some of these posts I get scared when people say they came back again after not having them for a while. I start to think it triggered something in my nervous system that is chronic. Im hoping not. I would say to everyone look into any medications or vitamins you are taking if you suddenly get this horrible thing. I will never take anything again that I don’t look into full side effects. These jerks are definitely pure torture. Sleep is everything! People can’t function without it! What I want to know is exactly your question. Why did it come back and why more violent and is it chronic? And I wonder how long you were on the drug you were on and did your doctor say it would go away after stopping? Everything I’ve read says IF its drug related it WILL go away. I will keep posting my progress.

        1. similar thing here. I got mine after taking zyrtec+zantac for about a week (to treat my eczema). also I was during a pretty stressful time. I believe antihistamine+stress plays a main factor. I’ve found relief from phosphatidylserine / seriphos (they decrease cortisol level). I have yet to find all the connections between antihistamine/cortisol/stress, but you should try the two things I mentioned above to see if it helps you. they are supplements and do not require a prescription.

        2. Hello, Debbie! Thank you for posting about your experience. Would you be able to provide an update on how you are doing? I am having a very similar experience to what you and Sarah below describe. It would be great to know if relief is possible with time. Thanks so much.

      3. Hi there,
        I hope you get better soon.
        I had the same issues and I asked my doctor to change the ANTIdepressant (I was taking Cymbalta) and I ended up to quitting the antidepressant. Now I am not taking any medication but vitamins and herbal stuff and I problem came back. I am going to try Acupuncture and hopefully to get rid of this nightmare. I wanted to share this with you may be that helps. God bless!

        1. I have a lot of body jerks. I read all yours and I think mine is a lack of certain foods, not veg and bananas all that food. I mostly have mine at night plus so many nightmares I think I’m lacking all that – I’m a very lousy eater. I’m kinda scared. I’m 78 yrs old.

      4. Lindsey Proud

        Hi this is exactly what’s happening to me now apart from my GP won’t prescribe medication. They tell me to up my antidepressant as it’s anxiety. I feel like I’m being left to die. Have u got any better?

  21. Since middle age have always jerked during sleep (according to wife). Now I am past retirement age and have restless leg syndrome during most evenings and have developed severe jerks when trying to get to sleep – usually every 3-5 seconds. Sometimes it helps to go and sleep in an armchair. However, have recently found that two 500mg paracetamol and ONE 16mg codeine give a normal sleep. (believe this is the equivalent of a low dose co-codamol which can be purchased at a chemist without a prescription). To avoid addiction I have a break from tablets every 2-3 night.

  22. My husband has myoclonic jerks and had been to several doctors. The last doc he saw was a neurologist who put him on Ropinerol for the jerks and Belsomra to sleep. It helps him sleep all night but when he sits down in the evening the jerks can be so violent it almost throws him off the couch. The doc also told him to take iron and vitamin B12 but can’t see any help from those yet. The appointment was March 11 so maybe the iron and B12 needs more time.

  23. I’ve tried everything. It’s concerning that more people are taking about this. I wonder if it has anything to do with 5G. There’s a lot of bad stuff linked to that being ignored because of money. But i hope not, i want a solution to these issues so if anyone knows anything… please let us know….

  24. Hiroyuki Fujisawa

    I’m having massive and intense hypnic jerks everyday. I already have panic disorder so even lying in bed makes me anxious and cause panic attacks . Couple days ago I had 12 of them and I gave up on sleeping . Ever since I always fear bed time and this vicious cycle is disrupting my sleep and don’t know what to do . Any medication might help with this?

    1. I have been using alcohol for pretty much the same thing. Previously Xanax, but they won’t prescribe it anymore. Now getting side effects from alcohol too. FML

      1. This is the exact route I don’t want to go down. I’ve been advised the alcohol is not the correct route but not given anything else or even a suggestion of something I haven’t already tried!

        I haven’t slept at all for 4 days now because of these jerks every minute I drop off.

        Good luck.

        1. Those of you who have jerks at sleep onset and or restless legs could have sleep apnea. I suggest you ask about getting an overnight sleep study. They can usually be done in your home now.

  25. Had hypnic jerks and honestly wouldn’t want this on my worst enemy. The only way I cured this was to stop all types of medicines, both pharmaceutical or herbal that affect your neurotransmitters, mostly GABA. Was taking stuff to help me sleep such as Benedryl, stopped then took Lunesta, stopped then took CBD oil. Each time I had a hypnic jerk that only stopped after discontinuing all. I only take 5 mg melatonin and 400 mg of magnesium citrate at night and now sleep great. Best of luck and get off the meds.

  26. I have hypnic jerks while walking. Especially bad with my ear infection. Could the problems with my ear and sinus infection cause hypnic jerks?

  27. Had a bout of Insomnia that lasted 7 days because of GERD. That night, I noticed for the first time, just as I was about to get to sleep, my arm started jerking. Then it happened in other places. Its now been three nights in a row, the GERD (acid reflux) is gone, but the hypnic jerks remain. Since I am a light sleeper, this has left me unable to sleep. The doctor has prescribed Sonata, an addictive sleeping pill, but even that only gives me a few hours of sleep, so I’m waiting to hear from a Neurologist and then maybe a sleep clinic. Thanks to all here for relating their own experiences

  28. I don’t know if this is what I have, but for the past few days I have woken up at least once, but for the past week such as yesterday, I got these jerks like 4 times and each time it felt as though I was being touched, slapped, or grabbed. I don’t know what to do because I know for a fact that it’s not normal. I am a busy student and even when this doesn’t happen I have the hardest time sleeping already. This is just making my lack of sleep 10x worse

  29. In my case, I think the nerves are misfiring.

    I just got an electronic pulse massager for the muscle knots in my shoulders. I tried it out yesterday evening. The sensation was identical to the hypnic jolts I’ve been getting recently. I kept waking up last night with hypnic jolts that felt like I still had the massager on.

    I was getting hypnic jerks a few years ago. These were in the chest area. I stopped getting them when I found out that I had indigestion and treated the indigestion through alternative methods (such as allowing myself to belch right before going to sleep).

    1. Did your indigestion leave a burning sensation in your throat? I think I might have indigestion/GERD but I don’t get the burning sensation in my throat. Only a sore throat upon waking up sometimes.

  30. This happened often when I was a child when I was falling asleep to the onset of a dream.

    One example. As I was falling asleep, I drifted into a dream that someone was aiming to throw something at me. I woke up with a violent jolt.

  31. So I have been having trouble with insomnia off and on for years. A few months back I tried an otc antihistamine Doxylamine Succinate. Its the same as unimsom. Now I didnt check the ingredients at the time, I just took the normal dosage. That night and for the next 3 days I the new nightmare of hypnic jerks began. It wouldn’t even let me sleep at all. If i started to drift 65 times then that’s 65 jerks. By the 3rd day, I happen to be in Cambodia and tried a generic Klanopin which was probably some kind of Valium and I slept and that was the end of the jerks. Then when I came back to the states I was stuck driving across the country and for the 2 and a half weeks I got just a few days of sleep. Finally fed up I made the mistake of grabbing the same sleep aid (Doxylamine Succinate) and took the recommended dose and immediately, the little jerk started in again. Now 12 days later I have had 2 nights of sleep. and one night was because of a dose on real klanopin which i only have one more of and it knocked me out with notable side effects the next day. That morning when i woke up they were back and consistant ever since. The issue is i havent had a chance to sleep. its not just a few times a night. its everytime i drifted. I eat as organic as I can, i dont drink caffeine, or alcohol, or upper of any kind. I even cut out chocolate, an i get plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. And my bowel movements are 10 – 15 times in a 24 hour period and I drink lots of water. I dont exercise late but i do get some. So naturally, I’m at my wits end here. ive gone to an urgent care clinic, er room, and spoke to 3 nurses two doctors and 2 pharmacists. I was prescribed hydroxyzine 25 mg. but when I looked it up, it’s an anti-histamine like the succinate. I’m afraid of taking them. The best reasoning I have heard for why mine might have occurred is just way too little sleep. So I may chance a dose to get that ball rolling. I have tried most other natural sleep aids with no results but I wont give up in that department either. Not sure what to do to get to sleep. And I doubt some aromatherapy crap is gonna stop this from happening.

    1. Hi Matt,
      This exact thing is happening to me. Every single time I drift off I jerk awake. The doctors put me on Klanopin and I was somewhat getting sleep for a month or so, now coming down off them. The twitches have made me incredibly anxious before bedtime and I usually don’t pass out until 2 or 3am. Please let me know if you find a remedy…Im at my wits end.

  32. Hi – I would like to ask if anybody on here has exhibited the following issues and, if so, what was their experience/how did they treat it/how did they manage it. I am asking because I feel (completely subjective) that my form of insomnia is very specific and a little niche, so I am in search for answers about what it is/what it means/what causes it, etc.

    I am 30. For the just a little over a year now, I have had a form of sleep-start insomnia that has increasingly become more frequent over time. Basically, I will start drifting off to sleep and shortly as I drift, I will wake up. Sometimes it is an actual “hypnic jerk” ie. I actually feel my entire body jolt, or just one arm. Other times it isn’t really an involuntary movement, but I will feel my pulse down my neck/upper back and wake up. Yet other times there is no physical sensation, only a mental sensation of very subtly becoming awake. Sometimes, it is a pulsing heartbeat sensation that mainly courses through the back of my neck/shoulder/head.This will happen repeatedly for about 2 hours. I haven’t found out if it lasts all night because at around t+2 hrs I usually take a 5mg ambien and fall asleep for good.

    It started last August and happened one night. It happened once in September of 2017. Then it came back in December of 2017 and occurred about twice a week for 3 weeks. In January of 2018 it happened about 3 times a week for 3 weeks. In March I was prescribed ambien by my former sleep neurologist, but luckily no bouts in March. In April I took a polysomnographic sleep study because I was being tested for sleep apnea (it runs in the family so I wanted to check it out – at the time not related to my insomnia). When I took the sleep study, I took a 10mg ambien and slept fine, was diagnosed with mild apnea (AHI of 12 with mostly hypopneas and very few apneas; below average amount of REM sleep (7% vs 20%) but, on the ambien, almost instantaneous sleep latency). June was when the insomnia really came back. It would occur basically about 3-4 times a week for a period of 3 weeks per month; this happened again in July, August, September, and this month. Oh, and I basically now cannot nap, even when I am tired. When I try to nap in the afternoons on a weekend, for example, the sleep-starts occur so frequently – basically immediately as I start falling asleep – that they are even worse than when I sleep at night.

    Look, this might all just be anxiety, as I am an anxious person, though I basically never had sleep problems until last year. It might also be psychosomatic and increasing psychological anxiety about sleep snowballing. I am also aware that the increasing symptoms do positively correlate with my ambien prescription, which I know has rebound anxiety, insomnia, nervousness, disorientation as symptoms, as well as addiction. Needless to say I don’t love the feeling I have the next day after I take ambien.

    Additionally, for the past two weeks, I have noticed some small subtle muscle spasms and twitches. They aren’t frequent and are very mild/subtle, though they tend to occur if I daydream or concentrate intently on reading a computer screen. Could just be stress caused by the insomnia + insomnia induced anxiety + ambien side effects, though I did have one episode for 2 days where every other hour my right chest muscle would just involuntarily twitch.

    What scares me is 1) how increasingly frequent these episodes are becoming over time and 2) the form of insomnia it takes, which is persistent sleep-starts, as opposed to just lying awake not having the urge to sleep (though I suppose that would be just as bad, if not worse knock on wood).

    Anybody have any insights, advice, or similar experience? How did you manage if you did? Sometimes it the hardest part of this insomnia is not being able to have others understand what you are going through and telling you it’s ok.

    I have seen a sleep neurologist and he says it’s just anxiety.

    1. Going through the exact same thing. Will see a sleep neurologist next week. Tried Melatonin but it didn’t work, haven’t tried Ambien yet.

    2. I have the same thing had chronic insomnia for the last 8 weeks after not sleeping 6 days due to trauma. Been on multiple sleeping pills and diazepam and my doctor has now put me on an antidepressant. 1 week into antidepressant I managed to sleep 4 hours unaided .. the next night I laid on the sofa and drifted off and a massive bright light was there. I went to bed took sleep (didn’t work) every time I drifted off I jerked and woke up felt eyes we moving into the side too. This is continuous night after night no sleep. Yesterday my doctor told me it’s stress related and prescribed me sleeping pills, slept ok last night. So worried how can I sort my insomnia with this also have headache .. think it’s due to sleep deprivation .. any help welcome

  33. Fibromyalgia pain can be frustrating. I had Fibromyalgia for at least 7 years. My initial symptoms were fatigue and lower back pain which were manageable, In 2015 it really kicked in with widespread pain, soreness, sleeplessness, inflammation and extreme fatigue. I tried so many medications and supplements to get some relief nothing worked, until last year, i learnt about FIBROMYALGIA SUCCESSFUL TREATMENT from Rich Herbs Foundation (RHF). I was skeptical it would help, but i gave the treatment a try. Few weeks into the treatment, I went back to work feeling good and my legs weren’t hurting, i almost forgot how long it has been since I felt this good and normal. The pain was 95 percent gone on my legs and lower back, the inflammation was gone too. Visit RHF we b page www. richherbsfoundation. com. Here I am 11 months after the treatment and i still feel good and active.

  34. MAGNESIUM GLYCINATE!! I would start jerking the second I closed my eyes. I once counted 100 jerks in 45 minutes. They would get progressively worse until it was like walking into a wall but no pain. I now take 300mg of magnesium glycinate. I tried regular magnesium and it made no difference. I still jerk but they take longer to start, are much milder and I am able to fall asleep. It has been amazing. So glad not to have to add another prescription medication.

  35. I’ve suffered from these ‘Night Jerks’ on and off for years; however recently they are almost every night. I put mine down to two causes (1) heavy weight training, as the three weight training days per week, those nights appear to be worse. (2) Going to bed very late (lack of sleep and irregular sleeping pattern), as I don’t go to bed until 2am or later. I’m not overly concerned about the ‘Night Jerks’; I wake up with a fright or a jerk and then soon fall asleep; however they are annoying. Firstly, I think people have to tell themselves that the condition is nothing to worry about because stressing about it will make it worse. Get to bed earlier helps and oddly enough, the TV on in the bedroom with the sound very soft helps me; however I have no idea why.

  36. I dont know if anyone still checks this site as the last comment was made in 2014 but here goes. im a 34 year old female and i think i have just suffered with the hypnic jerk thing although im not sure. b4 i put my experience let me give you a bit of background on me…so i suffer from psychosis, depression and anxiety i also have fibromyalgia and other muscle and joint problems also asthma so i take a lot of medication. now recently i had a relapse in my mental health where my meds needed to be upped. i wasnt sleeping, i suffered from no sleep in nearly 72 hours but after getting my meds upped i was finally slepping again but still in pain so my doctor gave me amytriptaline to take b4 bed to help with the pain and sleep. they have been working great but because i already hear voices and because amytriptaline can have a side effect for auditory hallucinations i didnt want to take them every night. so tonight i didnt take it, i also forgot to take my anti psychotic. so back to my experience, i went to bed at 12am like every night normally it takes me a while to fall asleep by 2am still no sleep. then at 2.30am i had this weird sensation that i was falling asleep. my eyes were shut but i could see my front room, it was eerie to the point it felt like my soul was leaving my body. i jerked awake immediately and was breathless and my heart was beating so fast. this happened all night – everytime i was just falling asleep the same thing happened until in the end at 5am i was so terrified and fed up I gave up and got out of bed …… now reading some of these comments im wondering if it could of happened because i didnt take my meds, coz i normally sleep soundly while taking them ??? This was very scary and when i came down at 5am i was still breathless am i suffering with this disorder? Thank you for reading

    1. Hello, I am 38 year Old Male from India. I completely understand your experience because that is exactly how I feel almost everyday. I try to sleep by 12 AM then feel only sleepy by 2 AM but continuously get awakened rudely by my body with heart beat suddenly raising. After several attempts each night I may fall asleep by 4 or 5 AM . But from then on start all weird dreams. I am trying to fight it. Thanks.

      1. So, when I’m trying to fall asleep, I feel a deep thud in my chest, like my heart is misfiring. I feel like I can’t breath for a few moments, then kinda shake and things are ok again, only to be followed by the same thing a couple more times in the next hour or two! Feels like my heart is stopping and then restarting after a jerk!

        1. It seems to me you have a hypnic jerk on your heart and that it is very bad. I got the same following a heavy mould infection in my sinus. I raised my pillows and on drifting off my head fell forward and cut off my windpipe momentarily. I had a massive explosion in my heart that left me shaking for 5-10 minutes. After that I would get hypnic jerks on my heart when I was falling back to sleep where before they had been ordinary muscle jerks or explosions in the head etc. Fortunately I don’t get hypnic jerks at bedtime when first falling asleep as you do but only after I have woken up a few hours later. I also get them if I try to snooze in the day as you. I have no idea what you can do as I have found no cure for myself. I think I might try CBD oil.

          1. A month ago I thought I was suffering from some spring allergies and a co-worker suggested I try Allegra D. After the first night on it I got a whole body jerk. I thought it was weird but went right back to sleep. The next night my arm jerked but fell back to sleep. By the 3rd night I was awoken by my whole body jerking. I was scared to death. Every time I fell to sleep it would happen. I typed in my symptoms and sleep myoclonus came up. Since I was scared to go back to sleep I was on the Internet all night to see what this was from. It gave some things but what popped up was Antihistamine! I said to my husband this was from the Allegra D!! I was on the 12 hour one for 3 days. I stopped taking it one month ago and I’m still suffering, and that’s putting it mildly. I went to my doctor after 5 days asking why am I still having this. She said it should have gone away within a few days. I am 59 and rarely even take an Advil. I work out and am in great health. As a matter of fact, I said to my doctor I was here 2 weeks ago and you said keep up your healthy lifestyle! She said dont worry it will go away because it was drug induced and cannot stay in my system forever. She set me up for a neurologist appt as a just in case scenario. I was also set up for a brain scan. 11 days later I showed up in my doctor’s office with my cousin who is an RN and works with my doctor at the hospital. I now had hardly been sleeping at all and felt like I was crazy! She gave me a prescription for Prednisone stating if I presented in a hospital with these symptoms they would say I had a severe allergic reaction to the Allegra D and would put me on prednisone to counteract it. My cousin demanded I see a neurologist as soon as possible and my doctor set me up for an EEG. I saw the neurologist the following week armed with all kinds of literature on sleep myoclonus. He said he knew what it was that he had seen it presented in children after taking certain meds. He said this is 100 percent reversible since it was due to the Allegra D. It has been one month. I was doing okay with Melatonin but thats not working anymore. I saw an Acupuncturist and the second visit I slept the whole night. Going again today. These neurologists have no clue what this is like. He told me to try not to stress. Are you kidding me? You try and go on barely any sleep. I am just hoping and praying that this goes away as they say it will. Until then yes I will be stressed. So I’m wondering how many drugs prescription or otherwise cause this? And has anyone been told the same thing as me?

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