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 a sudden involuntary spasm?

Perhaps you’ve even woken up feeling like you were falling, or with a flash of light or loud noise. If any of these sound 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 not a sleep disorder. But if they regularly disturb your sleep or happen very often, it might help to speak to a healthcare 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 have been to the gym late in the evening. If I’ve had a late gym session at the end of a particularly hard day’s work, they are almost inevitable.

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

It’s worth bearing in mind that hypnic jerks are sometimes referred to by different names:

  • Sleep starts
  • Night starts
  • Sleep jerks
  • Hypnagogic jerk
  • Myoclonic jerks (a 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 an 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

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 readers experience hypnic jerks. It’s interesting to note that many people who came to this article have 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 fine 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.

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; just 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. 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.

They don’t all have medical backing, but you might find the ideas useful if nothing else has helped.

  • Try to see the funny side.
  • 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.
  • Assess your current diet. Make sure it’s healthy and balanced. Eat less sugary and salty foods. Eat plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables.
  • 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 deal with major 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.
  • Make sure you get enough calcium in your normal diet, or take supplements.
  • Stop doing strenuous 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 anti-histamines, 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.

1,033 thoughts on “Hypnic Jerks: How To Avoid Waking With A Jolt”

  1. 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!

  2. 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 : )

  3. 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?

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

      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!

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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….

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

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

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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).

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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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