Medical Daily

Have you ever wondered why your body suddenly jerks awake as soon as you’re beginning to fall asleep? It’s one of the most annoying behavioral habits. But there’s a reason for why your body jerks as soon as you’re drifting into dream world. So, what exactly causes this to happen?

Falling Through The Air

Sometimes, you can be falling asleep and you’re completely relaxed. But as you begin to dream, you imagine yourself falling through the air. Maybe you’re falling off a cliff, but just when you’re about to hit the ground, your body jerks.

This sensation, known as the hypnic jerk, happens to about 70 percent of people as they begin to fall asleep. But what causes it?

Considering The Theories

There are many theories about what could cause these hypnic jerks. For example, one theory suggests that as your muscles relax and your brain begins to lose track of its surroundings, your nerves misfire and cause one of your extremities to twitch.

Another theory suggests that your brain is trying to fall asleep, which could conflict with other parts of your body that want you to stay awake. Your muscles begin to relax, but they don’t work together all at once. Your muscles are working against each other, resulting in a sudden jerk sensation.

No Reason To Be Concerned

It might sound scary to hear that your brain and muscles are working against each other, but there’s no reason to be concerned about the hypnic jerks. In fact, we aren’t even aware of them most of the time. But if you notice frequent jerks, there are ways to help reduce the frequency.

For example, avoid drinking caffeine and consuming tobacco before bed. Prescription drugs, including Adderall and Ritalin, also increase the frequency of the jerks. In addition, anxiety, stress, and fatigue can cause more jerks.

Make sure you’re relaxed before you head to bed. It’ll help you stay asleep instead of panicking your nerves and muscles.