The Hypnagogic Jerk

Ever been in bed, feeling like you’re falling only to be jolted awake by your own body?


Here’s the reason why: it’s actually called a ‘hypnagogic jerk’ or involuntary twitching of the muscle. As your body relaxes, a few nerves get the wrong message.

If you’re not sure whether you have experienced a hypnogogic jerk, it feels like you are falling.  It could feel like you are having a muscle spasm. It may also feel like a small shock sensation.

This is completely normal with around 70% of people experiencing a hypnogogic jerk at some point.

Some things make the hypnogogic jerks worse such as

  • Stress
  • Caffeine
  • Lack of sleep
  • Anxiety
  • Heavy exercise in the evening
  • Nightmares
  • Fatigue
  • Sleeping in an uncomfortable position

There are also a few theories attempting to explain why hypnogogic jerks happen

1 – They happen as your nervous system relaxes and slows down, during the transition from being awake to falling asleep. It is suggested that hypnogogic jerks occur if the nerves miscarry during this slowing down process.

2 – While you are relaxing to fall asleep, the brain gets the wrong message and thinks you’re falling or dying. This causes the brain to get signals to the rest of your body to move to an upright position which results in the jerk sensation.

3 – Following from the second idea, your brain decides to wake up you one last time before you fall in deep sleep, to make sure you have taken all precautions to be safe throughout the night.

*Picture from Google


1 thought on “The Hypnagogic Jerk

  1. Interesting read!
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    Liked by 1 person

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