What Are Hypnic Jerks? Why Is It Happening?

What Are Hypnic Jerks? Why Is It Happening?

A hypnic jerk is as popular as jumping to sleep or falling asleep. We all get scared from time to time while we fall asleep. But some people experience this problem much more often or even every night. The sleep laboratory at Ataşehir Avicenna Hospital provides services for the diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders such as hypnic jerks.

What Are Hypnic Jerks?

Also known as a hypnagogic jester, this condition manifests itself in the form of jumping while you fall asleep. Hypnic jerks are manifested by symptoms such as waking up in a startling state of sleep just when you are about to fall asleep, experiencing a feeling of falling asleep, and startling from nothing. If you experience sudden jumps and twitching of the body while falling asleep, it means that you are experiencing hypnotic pulling.

These twitches, observed between sleep and wakefulness, are very similar to the jumps we experience when we are afraid. A hypnic jerk is a very common problem. Studies show that these contractions occur in 70% of the brain. But not all contractions during sleep – wake us up. During many contractions, we continue to sleep, and while waking from sleep is rare in some people, in others it is experienced almost every night.

Situations such as waking up by jumping while falling asleep are essentially involuntary muscle twitches. An example of involuntary muscle twitching is hiccups. Whatever the name of this condition, it is a condition that negatively affects people’s quality of life. Although not considered a serious health problem, it causes insomnia due to difficulty falling asleep, and insomnia causes various diseases. You can avoid the hypnagogic jerks and to learn more about this, read our full article to learn about hypnotic pull therapy.

Symptoms Of Hypnic Jerks

First of all, it is important to clarify and understand that hypnic jerks are not a disease. This is a very common condition by human nature. Almost everyone experiences these involuntary jumps in sleep. But some people live too long with it and experience a decline in quality of life. Therefore, when we say symptoms of hypnic jerks, we mean what you might experience while experiencing this malaise.

Symptoms of involuntary muscle twitching during sleep include:

  • Muscle tightening or shaking the whole body
  • A feeling of falling from a height or dreaming of falling
  • Bad events that happen suddenly in sleep and cause splashes
  • You dream of being afraid or of having to jump somewhere
  • Frequent breathing during sleep
  • High heart rate during sleep
  • Sweating during sleep


What Causes Hypnic Jerks:

Although the exact causes of hypnotic withdrawal have not yet been identified, certain factors are thought to cause this condition. The state of falling asleep, which even healthy people can experience, can also be experienced without the following reasons. Although research is limited, the reasons for the hypnotic idiot are as follows:

  • Anxiety and stress: Due to anxious thoughts, stress, the brain can remain active while you fall asleep and the muscles relax. This causes the brain to continue sending signals even though you are physically asleep. On the other hand, you may start to have problems with insomnia due to involuntary muscle twitching. Insomnia makes you worry more and more. More anxiety means more hypnic jerks.
  • Stimulant: Caffeinated beverages and smoking can reduce the body’s ability to sleep. The use of stimulants and drinks can prevent the transition to deep sleep by changing the chemical balance of the brain.
  • Exercise before bedtime: Regular exercise allows you to have much healthier sleep. However, exercise just before bedtime can make you feel a hypnic jerk.
  • Insomnia: Sleep problems and habits such as going to bed late and getting up early cause insomnia. It is known that people with insomnia experience much more hypnic jerks.
  • Evolutionary Process: The origins of the hypnic jester’s condition have been studied at the University of Colorado in the United States. The study found that our evolutionary ancestors, primates, experienced a hypnic jerk before falling asleep to correct their sleeping position. Primates living with hypnic jerks can better correct their supine position by protecting themselves from dangers such as falling from a tree or injury during sleep.


Treatment Of A Hypnic Jerk

Treatment of people who experience hypnic jerks is not mandatory, as this situation does not create a serious health problem and does not cause various complications. However, if the frequency of situations such as falling asleep or jumping in your sleep is common, an insomnia problem occurs and this situation can lead to various health problems. For this reason, you may need to undergo therapy for hypnic jerks. The therapy for hypnic jerks can be done by the following methods.

  • Reduce caffeine: Starting the day with a cup of coffee in the morning is not a problem. However, the coffee you drink in the afternoon can cause problems with evening sleep. You need to pay attention to your total caffeine consumption in the afternoon and especially in the evening.
  • Avoid stimulants: In addition to coffee, nicotine, and alcohol in the afternoon can harm evening sleep. Although several sources suggest that drinking alcohol in the evening will help you sleep, you are more likely to have restless sleep and wake up often at night than to sleep more peacefully.
  • Exercise in the early hours: Exercise is very good for sleep. However, muscle tension during sports can cause muscle twitching during sleep. Therefore, it is possible to get rid of the problem of hypnic jerks by exercising and expanding energy intensively in the morning. Evening exercises such as Pilates and Yoga can help you sleep better.
  • Have a bedtime routine: Disconnect from the technology 30 minutes before bedtime. Brush your teeth, drink water or take care of other needs. Meanwhile, when we move away from mobile phones, tablets, computers, our brain activity decreases and we fall asleep much easier. When you go to bed in this state of relaxation and detachment from everything else, you will find that you will fall asleep much faster and more peacefully.
  • Breathing exercises: Breathing exercises are recommended for patients with hypnic jerks problems. After going to bed, you can take a deep breath for 10 seconds and then hold your breath for 5 seconds. By continuing this routine with certain repetitions, you can slow down your heart rate, brain, and breathing.
  • Psychotherapy: Some psychiatrists and psychologists make special therapies for hypnic jerks. The basis of therapy is “conditioning”. The person is allowed to imagine that there will be no problem such as falling asleep or jumping in his sleep. Thus, various studies suggest that the problem of hypnic jerks can be overcome.



If you have trouble falling asleep or have hypnic jerks and are worried about what is happening, it is a good idea to consult a doctor and share your concerns and symptoms. With a laboratory sleep test, the source of the problem can be found and a treatment process can begin. Your doctor may give you sleeping pills or muscle relaxants that can make it easier to fall asleep.

It should be noted that hypnic jerks are not a serious disease. It is not even a rare disease. Many people experience these situations in their sleep. Don’t think you have a serious illness. However, do not hesitate to share your concerns with a specialist doctor.

It is very important to take time for yourself before going to sleep, to break all connections with technological devices, and to prepare for bed. If you often suffer from hypnic jerks, you need to make a few changes in your daily routine.

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