Some are familiar with hypnic jerk some are not. If you are not aware of hypnic jerk, it is time that you know it. Have you ever woken up with a sudden jerk minutes after you started falling asleep? Maybe you experienced it but failed to put a name on it. That is called hypnic jerk. Hypnic jerk is common so you are not alone.
According to research, about 70% of the population experience hypnic jerk at some point in their lives. With this, it is imperative that you know some facts about it and share it to your fellows. Here are some things that you need to know about hypnic jerk:
Many people call it hypnagogic jerk, sleep twitch, sleep start or night start. Some even call it jump because it physically resembles “jumping” experience when a person is startled. It doesn’t end there because it is often accompanied by falling sensation.
According to the study conducted by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, there are different causes of hypnic jerk. Others experience the jerk because of caffeine, anxiety, alcohol, strenuous activities before sleeping, fatigued and stress. However, hypnic jerks are also experienced by healthy people. A study conducted by the Journal of Neutral Transmission said that hypnic jerk happens during the non-rapid eye movement. This is a sleep cycle and during this time, there is a sudden muscle action movement. Hypnic jerks are common to children ages eight to twelve years old.
There are many theories surrounding hypnic jerk. The first theory tells that it happens as the nervous system relaxes. When transitioning to sleep, the nervous system slows down as well as breathing, muscles and temperature. While relaxing, the nerves will misfire thus the muscular spasm. Another theory is while relaxing, the brain will get confused and it will think that you are falling. It then sends signal to the legs and arms to move to an upright position thus the jerking.
Is it a Disorder?
The world already has many sleeping disorder, so is this another disorder? Hypnic jerks are normal unless you experience difficulty in breathing. If this is the case, you have to consult your doctor right away. There are many sleep clinics here in Singapore so you should not worry. Can this be prevented or stopped? No, it is not possible to prevent or stop it because it is a common occurrence. However, you can try many lifestyle changes like lessening caffeine and alcohol intake, avoiding strenuous activities before sleeping and many more.