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.

Symptoms

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.

1,185 thoughts on “Hypnic Jerks: How To Avoid Waking With A Jolt”

  1. Final Edit Fixed More Typos.

    So here is my story about my recent battle with hypnic twitches and how I overcame them in a month. I am a writer at heart so this will probably be long, or become a “book” once I am done. But I want to explain everything in as much detail as possible. The good news is it is actually much easier than you think, and you don’t need drugs, these twitches are normal during sleep onset and are 100% made worse due to anxiety, stress, and sleep deprivation, especially if you develop a fixation on them as I did it then becomes a vicious cycle of being kept awake for many hours and days.

    For me at times up to 40 hours until I shit down and with the help of a sleep aid which I will get into shorty, and I stopped taking 4 days ago and slept naturally for the last 3 days with no twitching or at least minimal normal twitching as opposed to the long-term and more violent twitching I had for weeks. Now I always had these twitches right before sleep as most do, 70-80% have them and most do not notice or care about them.

    I have always had severe anxiety, mostly social anxiety, panic attacks, and severe insomnia ever since I was a kid, as I used to never want to go to bed and stay up all night playing video games and slept in school. I also worked 3rd shift, and every other shift as well throwing my sleep out of whack, and staying up 65 hours one time so I could beat 3 video games (Tomb Raider 1-3) in time before they were due back in 5 days before I owned them. So staying up long hours and staying awake in bed was nothing new to me. I have extreme endurance still today at age 47, and luckily I have been self-employed now for about 30 years, otherwise it would have been impossible to work this past month when these twitches became an issue.

    For me they started to become a problem when my anxiety went way up as I had to go to the dentist to have a wisdom tooth extracted, as it had a cavity in it and I was suffering extreme sensitivity to cold fluids. I was going to let it go as it did not really hurt other than that, but of course I read all the worst possible things that could happen with infections etc, and for my own mental health I wanted to just get it done with so I did not have to worry about it later. But I do not like doctors or dentists due to bad experiences long ago as a kid, most with doctors and with my severe social anxiety and insomnia appointments are really hard to do as I cannot sleep worrying about them, and that is what happened with this appointment as they could not get me in same day, which would have been drastically easier on me.

    So I had to go in after being up 36 hours and that night my anxiety was through the roof. I was more afraid of the insomnia and appointment than the actual procedure, which in the end turned out to be nothing even though the wisdom tooth did not come out easily and as I expected had to be drilled or sectioned out, I had virtually no pain during or afterwards, no swelling, minimal bleeding, and was eating solid foods the next day on the other side carefully. In fact I do not think I was fully numb even but I did not care as I wanted to just get out there and go back to try and sleep. Well that night before the appointment the twitches started and kept me awake all that time, right as I was gonna doze off they would jerk me back up. It was torture and I then focused all my attention on these twitches, which became a vicious cycle and started over and over and over again with no sleep just resting with my eyes shut. I knew though it was because of the extreme anxiety.

    But this kept happening every night and I began to dread going to bed, something that was once a place of relaxation and rest was now like going into a torture chamber or a war zone. I tried everything, sleep hygiene, getting back up and staying up until I was exhausted, going to bed earlier etc., but nothing worked much. I got desperate, and being an “anti-medication” person I did not really want to go down that route but this was impacting my life so much that I went out and bought my first sleep aid at CVS and Walmart both versions of generic Unisom in which I started with the stronger Doxylamine Succinate which worked great, and I slept about 6 hours straight which for me is a lot of sleep normally as with my insomnia I would wake up every 2-3 hours to use the bathroom due to anxiety and stress, and because I drink a lot of water. I thought wow, this is a Godsend I can now just take this every night and be done with it.

    But then I remembered how much I hate medicines as I am all natural, and very healthy and fit and have not been sick at all in over 30 years, because of my fear of doctors and hospitals so I make sure I never have to go. But then I had to because of this as it had me worried, and had the same exact issue could not get in same day, had to make an appointment the next day, was up 36 hours with the twitches due to fear of not being able to sleep, which in turn made it even harder to sleep. Of course they have no idea what it is and just gave me a prescription for Sertraline or “Zoloft” to ease my anxiety and stress, which for some this worked great and may have even worked great for me, but as I said I did not want to get hooked on any medications, especially much stronger and more toxic prescription ones.

    So I decided not to take it right away and just “wait and see” if I could get myself better naturally as I always did. I also bought ZzzQuil Pure Zzz’s from Walmart which is a supplement with extended release Melatonin, Lavender, Valerian Root and Calcium. I also read that insomnia can be made worse, as well as twitches by taking Zoloft and other anti-depressants or they could possibly get rid of most of the anxiety and make sleep easier. But I could not take the risk of that as I knew I could probably fix myself as I always did, and that my nerves and adrenal glands were just really hyped up (adrenal fatigue) and I was stuck in “fight or flight mode” because of being worried about those appointments.

    Like everyone else I looked up every possible thing on the internet and seen the worst of the worst, and it makes your anxiety worse of course, yet you know deep down you do not have any of those very rare conditions that it is just severe anxiety and stress, So these OTC sleep aids seemed to work well for a few days, but then began losing their potency some or I was getting a “tolerance” to them, even though I was really only taking them every other day due to being up so long. After the appointments it was a major relief but my nerves were still riled up, and I now thought I might never sleep on my own again or may die from lack of sleep, which of course led me to more and more reading and staying up longer and longer.

    One good thing though I read from a doctor though it that most people can only stay up about 48 hours max until their brain shuts down their body, especially if you are trying to sleep. But this is what happened to me as I could not sleep for 36 hours or so, and I tried getting up and going back to bed when tired etc, but most of the time this did not work, I just got more awake then. So around forty hours I took more Unisom and Pure Zzz’s, and that as well as exhaustion finally put me out for about 6 hours. I could have gotten up then but decided to stay in bed and slept 3 more hours. This repeated for a week or so, I figured worst case I would have to stay up 36 hours or so then sleep 6-9 hours the next day.

    But this wrecked my schedule and my weight was dropping faster due to not eating all the meals I was used to because of spending so much time in bed or having a decreased appetite due to worrying about this issue. So I had to take vitamins, and during bathroom breaks I would start drinking my Equate High Protein Nutrition shakes, Powerade, small meals, bananas, oranges, etc to keep my weight up as I still did exercise.

    So then I decided I was just going to try and ignore all of this in the day time, instead of making my entire day and night suck I was going to go back and try and live normally until this hopefully passes soon, then at least only half the day or less (since I was up so long) would suck. It is easier said than done though but it did work some, and eventually I was going to bed earlier feeling stronger and more confident. I took the pills and had to increase them to 50 mg and at one point I took at most 100 mg over several hours which worked, but I could see where this was going and I did not like it. Another issue is these pills make your mouth and lips bone dry, especially as a mouth breather with sinus issues sometimes.

    So I had to keep a bottle of water in my bedroom for when I absolutely had to take a drink, which I hate to do as I did not want to wake up for more bathroom trips and then not be able to get back to sleep. Also the Doxylamine Succinate at first put me out really good and when I woke up I felt like I did not care about much, or any noise etc I felt like I was in this comatose state and was able to go back to sleep pretty quickly luckily. But the next day I felt a little groggy and was kinda tired and yawning after about 6 hours being up. After awhile the effects wore down as I developed tolerance to it as well, so I stopped taking it and decided to try the weaker version “Diphenhydramine” which has a shorter half-life of like 6 hours, and is faster acting.

    This sounded perfect because I just needed something to take the edge off right away and get me past the sleep starts and I would be fine, as normally that is when I only had them, not being woken up from them or when I went back to sleep from a bathroom trip. So they worked great again at first, and due to the shorter half-life I was not groggy as much at all, but again again about 6 hours I was yawning more and more tired even though I still could not sleep, or was afraid to sleep, as once you get into bed as most know you are then wide awake thinking about the twitches coming. I then did more searching and read that these drugs could possibly make the twitching worse, due to the hypnotic effects and antihistamines in them.

    Like the next day you still have some left in your system and when you try to go to bed without taking it you then suffer the after effects, which makes you twitch more as your body or mind wants the drug again for sleep, which then puts you out (at least early on before you develop a tolerance) which in turn starts another vicious cycle. Same with Melotonin, if you take too much you develop a tolerance and your brain begins to produce less, so I decided to just take a low dose the 2 mg in the Pure Zzz’s as opposed to buying 10 mg as again I did not want to get hooked on a bunch of drugs or supplements. So then I started buying Vitamin supplements to help with sleep, D3, Magnesium, Calcium, Zinc, B12, B6, Fish Oil etc to take if I was up or in bed to long, along with my Centrum Multivitamin and Nutritional shakes while I was in bed and until I could get my meals back in order.

    I got Iron as well if needed, if I was not able to eat much meat etc but I was getting enough from my Centrum, shakes, and some meals and Iron is easy to overdose on so you need to be careful, same with B6. I also know that lack of nutrients and dehydration can make twitches worse so I tried to stay hydrated as usual all day and drank Powerade before bed or sipped it during bathroom breaks. But not much as I said I did not want to be kept up from them either, or risk maybe not being able to get back to sleep and having twitches.

    I then read about Pedialyte on the website and got that, and took that before bed along with Zinc and Potassium or eating half a banana etc. This helped some. But after doing all this and seeing all these pills and sleep aids in my cupboards, it just looked weird and was not me which is then when I had a breakthrough. I knew that the cause of these twitches was 100% anxiety and stress, and probably adrenal fatigue as I said I was stuck in “fight or flight mode” having heart palpitations, sweaty palms, hot ears, and heart beating in your ear on the pillow etc.

    But once I got some sleep with the pills or on my own after they wore off, this all went away and my blood pressure was great, and the Unisom would actually lower it a little too low, as well as raise my pulse in the 90’s which is normally in the 60’s and 70’s where it is back to now off Unisom for 4 days now. So that is what I am getting to, I decided that I was done taking these sleep aids and melatonin, and I was gonna see how my body did and try and learn to sleep again on my own from the start. At first this was hard as I felt a psychological addiction to them, and my body was twitching frantically wanting the sleep aid, and I even had some panic attacks because of it but I wanted it out of my system completely to see how I was.

    I read some who got addicted to Unisom and could not get off or sleep without it, and high doses and that was not going to be me as the long-term side affects of taking it are not good and for the heart, as well as many other possible issues you can look up. Also I am a fighter at heart being a martial artist for 40 years now, so I was very determined not to take the pills for a few days at least, and if I was up for days then so be it.

    I was gonna “ween off” and take 25 mg then 12.5 mg etc, but if they were actually causing the twitches or making them worse it would just continue the vicious cycle, and I would just be putting a “band-aide” over the symptom. So at this point I decided I would give it a try for a few days and “detox” my body and mind so that they could heal themselves. I would just sleep when I slept and that was that. At first the twitches were bad, and I did all the proper sleep hygiene stuff etc, counting backwards, low temperature, everything you see on the internet.

    Although as I said getting up after 20 minutes usually made me worse and more awake. Then I had another breakthrough moment after reading this on the internet, which I mentioned earlier. “Some may develop a fixation on these hypnic jerks leading to increased anxiety, and worrying about the disruptive experience. This increased anxiety and fatigue increases the likelihood of experiencing these jerks, resulting in a positive feedback loop.” BINGO! This is exactly what happened to me, I created a fixation on the twitches, was jolted up, and then waited for the next one thus making them worse and more frequent.

    So from that point on I decided I was no longer going to give these twitches any power, which is easier said than done. However now that my stress and anxiety was getting back to normal after almost a month of this, I was feeling much more powerful and strong again like my old self, and after increasing my meals again. So instead of staying up a long time until exhaustion, (which can make twitches worse) I went to bed earlier so I could “practice sleeping” and relearning to sleep on my own.

    It was scary without taking the pills but I tried it. I was up long enough that the medicine was out of my system mostly, and some say it takes days to a be gone entirely, but I am not sure as everyone is different. It was harder to sleep since I was not fully tired yet, and not used to going to bed so early as I stay up on average 16-18 hours working at home or more, sometimes 35 hours but at least before all this I could then sleep pretty quickly and pretty well overall. But to my surprise I was able to fall asleep within about 4 hours after being up 14 hours, I had some twitches as usual but I was not as sleep deprived and exhausted as usual, so that helped.

    What I did at first was I pretended I was sleeping in the back of a moving truck and every time I got a twitch I just pretended it was a bump or ditch in the road, kinda like as a kid sleeping the back of the car. I tried not to pay attention to it and I would say to myself “it is just a twitch so what.” Then shortly after, a miracle happened! I fell asleep on my own for an hour and even had dreams, meaning I was in deep REM sleep which I had with the Unisom as well, but this was the first time I slept on my own without taking the sleep aid and I woke up ecstatic!

    After that I was able to sleep a few more hours at a time, again with dreams mostly vivid or weird ones that made no sense. On Unisom my dreams were actually longer and more vivid yet, but my normal dreams were much more weird or made no sense, so I knew the drug had to be out of my system. I then got up after about 6 hours total and felt more like myself not being “drugged” and had way more energy already like my old self.

    So this was a MAJOR breakthrough for me knowing that I slept on my own, and if I could do this from now on I would know for sure the drug was completely out of my system. So then the next day I did the same thing only this time I had another MAJOR breakthrough that helped. I went to bed earlier yet so I was still not tired or sleep deprived yet, and started falling asleep after about 3 hours or so and then got some twitches as usual. However this time I was much more confident in myself and I changed my mindset completely. I then viewed the twitch as a good thing, because it means that my brain is trying to shut my body down and that sleep is now coming which is good.

    So when the twitch happened instead opening my eyes and jolting up and stressing over it, I ignored it and “smothered it with sleep” so to speak, and paralyzed it and then fell asleep not long afterwards. When you focus on sleep and not the twitch you take its power away. Now weeks ago I would not believe this but eventually I got used to the twitches to a point but was still affecting my sleep badly because I would focus on the twitch and jolt up and the long vicious cycle would go on and on. Also once I slept on my own I then gave my self a positive affirmation as I was SO HAPPY and said to myself “I am alright, I got sleep on my own!” That way if I had issues again I would remember this, and that eventually I would be alright, I am still alive, and I got sleep.

    Although a much better and more rejuvenating, and restorative sleep without the groggy effects of sleep aid. So then the next night it was the same thing, the light twitches happened a few times which is a sign sleep is on the way, so I then again drowned them out with sleep and let my brain do its job and not let my body jerk me awake. The reason this happens is because the brain is trying to shut down the body to sleep, but the body is trying to stay awake and survive, or thinks that is it “falling” so the battle goes on between the brain and body for awhile. For most people the brain wins quickly and takes over, for those with anxiety or those who develop an anxiety to the twitch itself, the body then wins.

    That is why I think it is important to stay in bed and keep trying to sleep as opposed to getting back up, at least in this particular case as you want to develop “sleep momentum” so your brain can shut down your body sooner. That is why I can get back to sleep sooner after a bathroom trip as I still have that sleepiness momentum, and usually have no twitching then trying to get back to asleep, only when I first go to bed and I am the most wired etc. So yeah that change in mindset was HUGE for me and finally the last 4 nights or so have been great and very minimal twitching and sleeping on my own, which I may have done once the drug wore off anyway after many hours of being in bed, but the psychological effect helped also knowing it may still have been in my system and helped me to sleep.

    But I doubt it is after 4 days as I feel like my old self again, and not in that weird, groggy bubble so to speak. I am much stronger now, and that one change in mindset was a MAJOR breakthrough as I said, and not making the twitch a focal point and bigger than it really is in your own mind which makes it much worse than it should be. Because if you keep getting up you must then keep starting over, so of course the twitches are gonna come again and again right before sleep unless you get lucky or you don’t have them, or they don’t bother you. I am also a light sleeper as well, so that made it even worse. So yeah everything I did helped for sure, but in the end it was the reduction of all that anxiety, taking time for my nerves to heal, going to bed sooner, back to my diet/vitamins, and taking focus off the twitch and realizing that it is GOOD thing and that sleep is on the way if you don’t stop it, and just “drown it with sleep” and shut it down as your brain is trying to do.

    Not get up and start over again and again. So that is what helped me as well as the time and healing process overall. But getting to sleep by myself was my first major win, and gave me the confidence I needed to get back to normal and so far it has worked. Not sure if this would have worked a few weeks ago when my nerves and anxiety was at its highest, but the time and overall process helped and sometimes you just need time to heal after a traumatic event, and suffering from PTSD. This can take days, weeks, months or even years. But it is crazy to think about how we can make something so little so big, or trying to relearn to sleep on our own after doing it our entire life. Also finding this group/website was a tremendous help as well, and knowing that you are not alone, and you see so many others have or had this same issue and you can read all the tips that worked for them.

    So there is a psychiatric/psychological element just talking about it that helps release tension as well, so that is why I wrote about my experience and as detailed as possible and hopefully some of these tips help others. Medicine may help some, but it is mostly a mental issue due to severe anxiety and stress not a physical issue. So you need to cure the root cause as medicine will just be a band-aide for awhile covering the symptoms. The physical reaction is a result of the mental issue. So you just need to change your mindset, practice good sleep hygiene, and get your stress and anxiety levels down as low as possible. So in the end at least for me, it was anxiety and stress that riled my nerves up.

    I needed time rest and heal, and I changed my mindset completely taking focus off the twitches just as I never focused on them before this, and realizing they are natural and the body’s way of “shaking out the stress” of the day, and it means that sleep is on the way, so just drown them out with sleep and let your brain do its job.

    These twitches are normal that is why it is mostly mental, and everyone is different and some do not have the ability to change their mindset easily, they are just scared and freaked out by them and want them to go away. That is how I was at first too. But I also know myself very well, others may get them from a physical condition or some other reason. But for me and most others they are definitely anxiety based, but in the past I have never had a thing with them or a fixation on them which made them much worse. So in my case it helped immediately taking my focus off of them as a problem, and thinking of them in a positive way and why they are actually happening, as well as resting and reducing my anxiety levels for weeks and working on better sleep etc.

    But most twitching is anxiety/stress based and nerve related be it mental or physical. But yeah I am not saying this will work for everyone as everyone is different, and it is not easy to just change your mindset as I am also very experienced in meditation from my martial arts and yoga background, so I do a lot of “mind work” and I am a deep studier of psychology after 40 years in magic and illusion. But nobody is perfect and sometimes you just stressed and things just happen, but my philosophy is always positive and “this too shall pass.

  2. Here are some tips that have helped me overcome this problem: stop thinking about your next night all the time. tell yourself that if you get a sleepless night because of that, it doesn’t matter. work on your acceptance of the situation. don’t argue with your negative thoughts like “what if?” in the event of an anxiety attack, get out of bed, read, breathe deeply for 10 minutes. listen to relaxation podcasts as you fall asleep.

  3. I have just read the comments here after having two nights of what I am now thinking are hypnic jerks. I have been so worried. The first night I did not sleep all night. I too gasped for air each time I was jerked away from much needed sleep. I am on propranolol for anxiety (about 2 years) and wonder if this is a cause? I definitely do not drink enough water and am often dehydrated, so today after my second terrifying night of thinking I am having a heart attack, I am going to address this! This is so scary and the comments I have read are helpful in knowing I am not alone. I’m hoping this is a temporary blip and if I can get hydrated and get the stress under control, this will cease. Thank you for your web page.

    1. I’m going through exactly the same. I’m in a period of high anxiety and have started taking lexapro and was wondering if that might be what’s causing it. It’s very scary, I woke up gasping too as I felt my tongue was choking me. So worrying on top of everything else. Hope it eases soon

    2. Hi Sheridan,

      I have been put on Propranolol also and I have thought this is what is causing me to jump out of my sleep and gasp for air. I feel like my heart is about to burst when it happens. After reading your comment I definitely feel that Propranolol is the cause of mine. I’m going to look into it to see if they can cause sleep disturbances.

  4. Hey, just want to add some light here. After drinking lots of water and staying hydrated yesterday, I had a night free of Hypnic Jerks. I recently started getting these. I put it down to anxiety/stress and working from home, but it’s strange how research suggests physical stress can increase your chances of it? Strange because I have done intense CrossFit classes almost every day since November and have needed a physical break and feel so much better since even having a few days rest. All in all, I believe that certain factors like a high salt diet, not staying hydrated and physical stress can trigger these, try drinking 3 liters of water per day. Give yourself a break, listen to your body and hopefully these will slow down for you. Our bodies can be subconsciously anxious too without us knowing- I did the “tapping technique” when I had sleep jerks for a good 2 hours before eventually drifting off and these helped, maybe you can YouTube it and see if it works for you. Take care everyone x I know that was long but hopefully that can help someone else :)

    1. Thank you Hilary, I have experienced these awful whole body spasms/jerks/jolting experiences for quite a few years. I have also experienced exploding head syndrome. I feel they are related. It would be great to engage with others that will understand.

  5. I have been getting these but when they happen they are very painful, It makes it very hard not to stress about it because it causes me to physically jolt awake with a painful tingling sort of feeling (but way more painful than tingly) in one specific part of my body but will change where it hurts different times, I’ll also start to have almost a bit of a dream but it’s almost more auditory hallucinations sort of but mixed with a thought, I don’t know how to describe it, but it’s been ruining my nights completely!

    1. Hi there I also have these and exploding head syndrome and am now struggling to sleep at all because hearing things that aren’t there is frightening and not conducive to sleep. It’s horrid, isn’t it? This morning after only 2 hours sleep last night I awoke to a loud cracking sound right next to my hear. I drifted off to sleep again and was awoken by a bleeping sound. I just got up in the end. Again. Every night when trying to sleep I jerk awake sometimes ten or fifteen times and then I get up and might not sleep again. It sucks, doesn’t it?

  6. Hello, l have been having hypnic jerks most of my life. I’m now 60. I get on average 6-9 per night l feel that l am about to have a heart attack or a stroke, can’t get my breath and l always fall out of bed, and have some terrible bruises on my legs and forearms. I have tried going to bed early or late, nothing helps. I have seen a sleeping specialist who gave me some tablets, but they haven’t worked, l was just told to stop worrying. I’m due for an operation soon, and am so worried that l will wake up during surgery…please help…

    1. I for a while was feeling the jerks as well, and feared the same thing when I had my herniated disk surgery. However, you will be sedated for surgery and will not wake up. Sedation will have a different effect on your body and nervous system. Do not fear about having them during surgery you will be fine. Relaxation and stress relief may help but magnesium supplements could work as well. Good luck

  7. Hello,
    I have been having hypnic jerks most of my life – well from teenager to now aged 60- l must get 7-10 jerks a night they are terrifying. I’m even getting them now if a have a nap in the daytime. I feel that I’m about to have a heart attack or a stroke, l can’t get my breath, and l always fall out of bed, l have some terrible bruises on my legs and forearms. I did go to a specialist in sleeping but only got a few tablets which did nothing and was told to not worry. But how do l tell my brain that? I’m due an operation soon, and am terrified that l will wake up during surgery…….any help please…..

    1. You can’t wake up during surgery scientists have found how the gas they use to put you to sleep works. It pretty muchly makes you unable to move or firm any new memory at the moment and you can’t feel anything but turns out your not actually asleep. You’ll be good.

  8. Just wanted to say thank you for the article and especially to everyone in the comments. I was suffering from this for almost a full week getting 2 hours of sleep if I was lucky. I kept panicking thinking this was a precursor to a heart attack. I actually started cleaning up my room and hard drive on one particularly bad night/morning in case I ended up dying. Seeing everyone else here having similar issues and realizing this isn’t something fatal at all has actually cured me. My brain isn’t panicking anymore and I’ve been getting closer and closer to having a normal sleep schedule. Sometimes it feels like I almost had a jolt, but my body and heart stay in that relaxed state, I don’t jump up and take a big gasp of air like I used to, and it doesn’t stop me from getting to sleep soon.

  9. Does anyone experience the jerks once you’re awake?
    I think my toddler is currently experiencing this but it also continues to happen once he is woken up by it and it will keep him up for a while.

    1. Hi
      I’m not a doctor, nor a parent, but I would be thinking to check this with a doctor to rule out any other possibilities if he is having spasms while awake.
      Regards
      Ethan

  10. I have had these before. A while back I’d get them while trying to fall asleep, my whole body twitching me awake or feeling like my heart stopped momentarily as if startled by something. It happened for about a week, stopping me from falling asleep for hours until I finally would pass out, before they finally went away. I never figured out the cause since I didn’t have caffeine and I wasn’t particularly stressed at the time. My best guess was that my sleep schedule wasn’t the best.

    I have since fixed my sleep schedule; being more consistent when I go to bed, no electronics before bed, doing something relaxing until I’m ready to sleep, and I’ve recently started using a sunlight imitating lamp during the day to reset my internal clock since I don’t get a lot of sun where I live during the winter. It’s worked great until now when the hypnic jerks returned.

    The night before last I had a migraine, although it had eased up enough I thought I’d be able to sleep alright. However,I kept jerking myself awake or I’d gasp for air as if I’d stopped breathing, although I hadn’t. Sometimes I wake up if my allergies clog my nose and I can’t breathe out of it very well, but my breathing was very clear. This kept me up late and when I did sleep I did so poorly, even waking up early. This was not great because lack of sleep is a migraine trigger and since I had just had one I was worried it wouldn’t go away. I was correct and the migraine continued the whole day, although I made sure to stay up so I wouldn’t have trouble sleeping that evening. Except I didn’t get to sleep at all last night, the jerks kept me up and even when they didn’t come I was just lying awake despite how tired I was.

    I’m thinking of making an appointment with my GP when they open, but if they can’t see me for a few days I’m worried I’ll be stuck in a cycle of sleep deprivation and migraines. I didn’t have caffeine, I didn’t exercise with a migraine, and I wasn’t stressed; I even tried biofeedback techniques to no avail. My sleep schedule shouldn’t have been affected enough to bring back the jerks. I’m not sure what lifestyle change I’m supposed to make here. The only guess I can make is that I had a lot of Gatorade because staying hydrated is essential to managing migraines. It has sugar, not caffeine, but it’s the closest thing I could think of. Gatorade does sell lower sugar options but I’ve found the sugar substitutes they add can make them even sweeter, which I can’t stomach when I’m nauseous with a migraine. There are some alternative electrolyte boosted drinks that don’t have sugar but I may have to order those online if I can’t find them in stores nearby. But this is all assuming sugar is the culprit. The real answer is that I don’t know why these are happening and probably my GP won’t either.

  11. I’ve been suffering a week now with the jerks. I’ve tried Tylenol, magnesium, Xanax , nothing helps. Are people feeling better yet? Please share. This is a nightmare.

  12. Thanks for the wonderful and informative article. I have also felt same issue while sleeping few years back when i was a teenager. And the experience was very horrible.

  13. Hello, I had myoclonus triggered about two years ago following the intake of 5-HTP (this is really a shit substance, that should be forbidden I think). It was of course a struggle to deal with it at first but gradually I have learned to live with them and live a normal life. I think we share some similarities and we get them in the following situations, at least in my case:
    – strong sleep deprivation
    – falling asleep while being sat
    – napping
    – meditating/hypnosis before sleep
    – the dat after ingesting alcohol

    Many people experience it like you and there is a facebook group called: hypnic jerk/sleep myoclonus support

    You might join it in case it might be of any help.

    1. Hi,

      I’ve had these for years now. But development of chronic insomnia possibly due to SSRI (Sertraline) I can’t sleep without drugs and still only get 3-4 hours sleep (like this for 2 months). Now these Hypno-Jerks are more regular 20 times a day on average and prevent me from possible (as I feel as I my brain has forgotten how to ) sleep. If anyone has any advice, suggestions etc… Because I’m at a loss. Community Mental Health Coordinator (CMHC) Community Mental Health Team ( CMHT) just treat it from a pharmacological perspective. And when that line attack doesn’t work they just put blame on to me being resistant ( polite difficult) and instead left ravaged without sleep. I’m exhausted mentally and physically.
      Paul

      1. Curious about when these started for you. Had you just discontinued any medication or were in the middle of discontinuing?

  14. It all started 3 years ago, after a traumatizing event I started to get them. Usually just when I am following to sleep. The first few weeks were the hardest as I was getting around 1.5-2 hours of sleep per night. With time the situation improved and maybe it took me around 3-4 months to get normal enough sleep during nights (I continued to have them when I try power nap for the next two years)

    What helped me then was a better sleep schedule. Go to sleep in the same hour every night, do not go to sleep too late in the night. Use soft dim light at least one hour before sleep and try to catch the sun early in the morning. I kept a diary as it helped me to manage the stress and get to the root cause of my anxiety. Also, it is very hard but the time I stopped to worry about how exact sleep I will get and tried to not overthink about the incoming night and jerks.

    Now, 3 years later they are back but somewhat different. The first time they are more violent and strong muscle spasms, now I am getting a moment of too difficult to grasp an air that will awake me. It all started after another heavy stress-inducing moment, last night was the first night. This evening I tried getting a 5-htp pill and now it is 4 a.m. and I am still awake. Probably will try paracetamol as some of the others suggested. Also, I will try to add more breath practices before bad.

    btw I am glad that I found the site and comment section. If there are other people around we can keep in touch.

    p.s Sorry for the bad wording. English is not my first language and here is 4 a.m. at the moment :)

    1. Fast report:
      What seems to work for me is a combination of magnesium + b6 and melatonin. Meditation + breath technics before bad are helping as well.
      Last evening I had some stomach problems and probably because of poor absorption and maybe dehydration I had a poor night for the first time in two weeks.

    2. Hi. May I ask about when the symptoms/jerking first began? Wondering if you were taking any medication around that time, if you were discontinuing any medications or had discontinued a medication in the few months before?

  15. it’s 6 am and it’s actually happening to me right now. I need to distract myself for a bit before going back to sleep. This usually does happen to me when I’ve had a heavy midnight snack and/or caffeine, my neck will literally jolt or like turn fast like I just got slapped and the tingly uncomfortable feeling is in my neck as well. This happens whenever I’m almost deep asleep, this started happening years ago and I’m 18, at first I thought it was because of nightmares but come to think of it, it was never scary, I just feel scared and panicked. But then after a few seconds, I go back to sleep again, only for it to happen again and again until I have to open my phone and find distractions for a couple of minutes and here I am. It’s nice to hear that it’s very common tho, kinda thought I’ve got a problem.

    1. I have a whole year with the exact same situation. A year ago I was 18 days sleeping only 2 hours each day and my body and mind were so affected I just landed in psychiatric emergencies. I have now treatment against anxiety but I have cycles of crisis of these jerks. They are the worst thing I ever experience and it’s terrible to wake up every 8 to 10 minutes due to a body spasm. Wish you great luck and the best for you.

      1. What helped you during this time and have you done anything long term to keep it at bay? My 25 year old son is struggling with this and It is really taking a toll on him.

    2. Hi Dianne, I’ve been dealing with this too since April this year. I’ve seen doctors, specialists and even went to the emergency department at the hospital. The truth is, doctors only know about pills and surgeries, not chronic and mystery illnesses. And it all comes down to our diet and stress levels. I managed to find someone who healed themselves using the Medical Medium protocol using vegetables and fruits, and supplements. Check out his Thyroid Healing book which actually pinpoints the causes – heavy metals and other toxins. It’s all about detoxing the bad stuff from our brain and body and eating the stuff that heals them. Good luck.

  16. My sudden jerk is after falling into a deep sleep for 30 -60 minutes. This is a sudden spasm in the abdomen that lasts about 3 seconds but is very violent and lifts me off the bed. This only happens during sleep. Sometimes as others have mentioned I will jerk just as I am about to fall asleep again but these are mild compared to the violent jerk from a deep sleep. Started years ago every few months but now is a few times a week. It takes me a while to fall back to sleep. Just recently I will sometimes have a second one about 3am. I have tried to figure out if it is my diet. I sometimes feel mild reflux during the day. I am 60 but in very good physical shape. The only thing I think is it could be too much sugar? Or maybe snoring sleep apnea that I am not aware of. Also as others have mentioned even though I have had many of these jerks every time I still think it is a death roll for a few seconds. No one has been able to diagnose. I am starting to dread sleep.

    1. I have them including the very odd one in the abdomen. I have severe sleep apnea and I’m using a machine that helps me a lot and I can be some months without the jerks, but every certain amount of weeks, I pass a week with them doesn’t matter if I have the machine or not. the amount of acid in my stomach seems to take part in the cause.

  17. I’ve been having these off and on for a few years now. Just as I drift off to sleep, I suddenly jolt awake with a sudden somewhat painful jolt in my chest/heart. It can be terrifying. Sometimes after I jolt I also hallucinate for a second.
    When they first started, the horrible feeling would be in my head, however now it seems to have moved to my chest.

    1. I have the exact same issue. I used to jolt to a loud bang or noise in my head, and now it’s my heart fluttering it seems, along with the jolt of course. I find magnesium and potassium usually help, I take both before bed and they seem to not occur then. If I forget to and it happens I take them and wait a bit before trying to sleep again. Maybe this can help you too

    2. Aaron,
      I’m a 59 year old male and my hypnagogic jerks started in 2012. Over the last few years, they feel more and more like the muscle that is ‘spasming’, is my heart muscle. Yes, terrifying: heart is ‘blowing up’ for a microsecond, and sometimes even see neon green in vision background, again, for a microsecond.

      I’m also a cardiac patient (dilated cardiomyopathy since 1997).

      My biggest problem is napping. I have EDS (excessive daytime sleepiness), but (surprisingly) only very mild sleep apnea. When I try to nap, the jerks make it impossible. I usually get 4 hypnagogic jerks (in <15 minutes) before I have to give up.

      I have taken a video of myself napping and it is clear that the worst jerks occur 5-10 seconds after I (unintentionally, of course) stop breathing (central apneas, not obstructive apneas).

      Up until a year or so ago, I rarely got these at night. But they are increasing in frequency and intensity at night. Even while using a CPAP.

      I have a pulmonologist (CPAP and detailed sleep study, night and day, coming in January), a cardiologist (on a Holter monitor for a month, in progress) and my PCP all trying to help me figure this out…

  18. I’m really glad to have found this site! I just started having hypnic jerks recently; and felt terrified, just like some others have mentioned. I just didn’t know what was going on. My doctor told me she thinks it is this, and I am trying deep breathing at night, with the help of a meditation app. It does help soothe the jerks, even though it’s hard to breathe at first because I’m anxious about going to sleep. When I awaken, I put it back on. I got calcium and magnesium to try as well. Take care everyone ❤️

  19. Hi All. These jerks/jolts/ spasms I get in the center of my chest just before I fall asleep up to 20 times are getting more frequent and violent is the only way I can explain it. I also get them in my throat, but more so in my chest. It’s like a strong contraction/spasm. A lot of the time I jolt up out of bed yelling in fear. It doesn’t hurt but after a bad night which is many of late, I feel bruised in the center of my chest. I go to work tired & then scared to go to bed. They started many years ago but never to this extent. When they started I was on an antidepressant & I also had “brain snaps” when sleeping. I stopped the antidepressants due to serotonin syndrome, it stopped the brain snaps but not the contractions. I have done so much reading up on these jerks, they are classed as a phenomenon. My doc suggested I take Neurontin/ gabapentin which I didn’t want to take as I would like to treat the cause & not the symptom. It annoys me no doc knows what it is. So tonight I will start Neurontin as I am at my wit’s end as when they happen I feel like I am about to die & I am desperate for a pleasant sleep. Will let you know how the meds go.

  20. I’m so glad to have found this site. I have only just started having these, my experience is similar to what several people have posted, that as soon as I feel I am drifting to sleep, I get jerked awake. My jerks can take slightly different forms, sometimes it’s a muscle twitch in my jaw, foot, arm etc, sometimes it feels more like a mild full body jerk associated with a slight feeling of alarm, but whatever, they all immediately jerk me back to wakefulness. Sometimes it happens all night, sometimes I finally manage to get to sleep sometime around 4-5am. I was terrified having never experienced this before (I’m 45), but finding that it’s actually not that uncommon and that there are some suggested remedies that other people have found work for them, is a relief. I’m hoping that the reduction in stress from that, along with drinking plenty of water and trying to sleep on the side rather than back, will help tonight, and if not I will move on to some of the other suggestions. Thanks and best wishes to you all.

  21. I had it mine 2 months ago after taking an SSRI. Doctor thought I was having anxiety. Stop cold turkey. I took Klonopin for 2 months and melatonin (natural brand) and this has subsided. One week ago I wean Klonopin to .25 and all was going well. Then decided to take a htp5 supplement and it started the cycle again. Damn. I have up my dose to 1.25mg Klonopin since and down it to 1mg for 2 days. Apparently no jerk at all the whole night. Last night took 0.75mg, jerk only once, and could sleep.

    I guess I would not mess with my serotonin anymore.

    Had hypnic jerks when I was young and also sleep paralysis. I also had insomnia. I think it’s a cycle.

    I have since improved my stamina by considering TCM too and it has helped a bit. I was very weak and stresses out 4 months ago. Was shivering and having cold sweats.. the last few months I have worked on the health and helps a bit.

    If you are weak and worried, you will not be doing yourself any favour in surviving this.

    I think melatonin has sort of numb the jerking for me. I believe.. so good luck guys.. always look at the bright side, at least you don’t get anything cancerous.

    By the way, i am not sure. I get jerking as if my heart got struck. And then I could feel as if water is flowing through my brain.. not sure if that’s brain zap or hypnic jerk.. damn.. that ssris are really crap.

  22. Thanks a lot for this website. This is the only positive site about this topic that actually helps people in the entire google. You are doing a lot of social service by organizing it this way and giving strength to people experiencing these sleep issues. You are a hero !!

    1. I was just actually putting this together last night as well. I started taking 5Htp again and just went through another bad episode. How did you figure out 5Htp was causing them? Curious if you have any other tips?

      1. I have dealt with this for months. Just soon as I attempted to sleep my body would jump or jerk. It was worse when laying on my back which I got terrible jerks. Weird! I even got them when I tried to take a nap during the day. I would wake up on and off through the night. It was so disheartening. I didn’t know what it was like to get a good rest and I was so fatigued much of the day. A Neurologist said she believed it was hypnic jerks and referred me to a sleep center. I feel for those dealing with this. Prayer has helped me immensely and it was the only real cure for me. The power of God! T

        1. Hi. May I ask about when the symptoms/jerking first began? Wondering if you were taking any medication around that time, if you were discontinuing any medications or had discontinued a medication in the few months before?

  23. Hi guys,

    Anybody considered modafinil? If you get tired or sleepy during the day, it will increase the probability of getting jerky at night. Modafinil reduces tiredness during the day and should reduce the possibility of getting the jerks. Any comments?

  24. I’ve experienced this from time to time throughout my life but the last week has been hell. All of a sudden, *every* single time I start to fade off into sleep, my mind and/or body snaps myself back into consciousness. It started last week when I woke myself up snoring a few times in one night. Ever since then, my mind will not let me sleep and jerks me awake anytime I start to fall asleep. It’s almost as if my mind is super paranoid and anxious that I’ll start snoring so it won’t let me totally fall asleep. I don’t feel like I necessarily have trouble falling asleep, it’s just every time I start to the hypnic jerk happens. I’m not sure if it’s sleep apnea because I’m never gasping for air. Sometimes it’s a physical thing, sometimes it’s like my brain just says NOPE. It can be 3-4 times in 1 minute that I start fading off into unconsciousness and boom, boom, boom, NOPE NOPE NOPE. There are a few things that have changed in my life. A stressful family event happened about 6 weeks ago that I haven’t dealt with. Specifically, I haven’t talked to the person who is the cause but I don’t see how it could just start affecting me now. I started working out 2 weeks ago but I never work out past 5 pm. I don’t drink caffeine ever. I only take B complex and vitamin D in the morning due to a blood test that showed a deficiency. I drink 2 sometimes 3 nights a week but I’ve been doing that forever with no problems. It’s only been a week and I’m now crying in the middle of the night because it’s so frustrating. I used to have vivid dreams and could easily sleep 9 hours. I made a doctors appointment next week, I hope it helps.

  25. I can suffer from these up to 10 or 15 times a night buy I’ve worked out that often it occurs if I’m dehydrated. If I have plenty of water during the day they can disappear all together. If I drink too much alcohol it can make it really bad.

    1. It has to do with too much salt intake I think. That dehydrates you. And it lowers potassium which is correlated to muscles.
      Last night I took for the first time in months half a bag of potato chips (125 gram), loved it, but at night the jerks came again and they were away for weeks now. I’m already on a low salt diet because I used to have restless legs and that is also triggered by too much salt. Most people don’t know they have too much salt in their diet because it is added in everything. Especially Americans are having a very bad diet with too much processed food and too much salt.

    2. Since writing this I have ever been diagnosed with Periodic Limb Movement Disorder. I’ve been prescribed Pregabalin and the jerks stopped immediately. Best of luck everyone

  26. Solution (for me); take 2 paracetamol at night. Somehow it relaxes the nervous system which is responsible for the hypnotic jerks. I think they are extremely stress-related. I got them badly in a time of high stress and being awake all night because the jerks keep you awake every time you start falling asleep doesn’t help. In the end, you get scared going to bed.
    The first night I took the paracetamol I felt already fewer jerks and the second night I finally did have a good night’s sleep. The first weeks the jerks did still happen but to a lesser extent and less severe. Now after 3 weeks I don’t have them anymore.

    I take 4 days paracetamol and then stop for 3 days so I don’t get too attached or addicted (don’t know if paracetamol is addictive).

    Someone else mentioned this earlier here on the comments as a relief.

    And since I found out that paracetamol is a great general sleep aid, many people I mention it too, say they use it also as a sleep aid. Pity it is not widely known, it might be a solution for so many people.

    Don’t take anti-histamines (Tylenol has it in it) or antidepressants, they can make the jerks worse.

    1. The hypnic jerks happened to me out of the blue. It started with a few rough nights of sleep and slowly progressed to where my body would jolt me awake just as I was falling asleep. It was miserable and caused me to enter an almost perpetual state of panic.

      I read this and started taking 2 Paracetamol (or two extra strength Tylenol in America, 1000 mg in total) before bedtime (I also began taking two Magnesium tablets, 200mg in total).

      I noticed an improvement in the jerks after the first night. I’ve been on this regimen for 4 nights and now the jerks are next to none. I’m finally able to sleep through the night.

      Deep breathing techniques will also help calm the central nervous system and get your body out of the “flight or flight” mode that makes this worse. Just remember that this will go away. It’s not permanent.

      1. Thank you Bell and Silv.
        I didn’t know about the effect of paracetamol. Probably I will try it in a few nights.

        By any chance, any one of you are reading this, can you confirm how it is going with your sleep and the effect of paracetamol and Magnesium?

          1. Jon, what seems to work for me is a combination of magnesium + b6 and melatonin. Meditation + breath technics before bad are helping as well.
            Last evening I had diarrhea and probably because of poor absorption and maybe dehydration I had a poor night for the first time in two weeks.

  27. I’m 9 weeks postpartum and it started while I was in the hospital due to pre-eclampsia. I was on magnesium drip when I experienced the first hypnic jerk. I mentioned that to the midwife and she wasn’t concerned at all. I have an anxiety disorder and panic attacks. Could be related to that.
    But I’ve been getting it every night since that night at the hospital and it really bothers me.
    So I decided to check it w a neurologist. He sent me for an EEG. Waiting for the results.

  28. I have extremely terrible sleep Jenks upon returning home on a flight from my travels. My sleep jerks are so bad that I’m often not able to sleep through a 5 or 18 hour flight. The people sitting next to me on a plane are often extremely disturbed by my constant convulsions. These sleep jerks have been extremely bad the past two years I’ve traveled. I interpret these occurrences as my body and mind dealing with my experiences. I’m not able to digest my life excursions as I’m traveling on the day to day and trying to constraints be on the move as to get the most out of my trip. I seldom have sleep starts when I’m home doing nothing and when I leave the plane I’m totally fine. I feel that on top of everything else I realize I’m in the air and that is an attributing factor as well. I really wish there was a remedy or medication I can take before traveling home on a flight. This is my take on the matter.

  29. Recently I have them occasionally at some nights didn’t notice much until I googled and got more curious.
    I hope it’s not worth it happens in the start of sleep and eventually goes away.
    I am scared.

  30. I started with low-level anxiety at the beginning of the pandemic, then graduated to full-blown panic attacks, mostly at night. Initially, meditation and mindfulness worked until it didn’t. I have undertaken many hours of talk therapy which has worked well and am left now at night with the hypnic jerk which I am hoping will diminish. Agreed that any medication based on antihistamines are counterproductive and bring on the anxiety attacks. Also Beta Blockers did not work for me, and I see we have the same issues finding decent MDs. Good luck with that.

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