What is a hypnic jerk and what are it’s causes

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What is a hypnic jerk and what are it's causes

Do you also get the feeling of a sudden jerk while you fall asleep? This feeling eventually makes you wake up in the middle of the night as it suggests you are falling from a certain height. You must be feeling so because this is one of the most common phenomena that most of the people come across. This hypnic jerk is felt in the muscles of arms, legs or even the entire body while you are sleeping. There are certain theories behind hypnic jerk felt by a person. Sometimes the brain misinterprets the signal of the relaxation of the muscles as the feeling of falling from a height and thus makes you awake in the middle of the night with a shock and sweat on your body.

There is another probable reason for the same, while you are asleep, the nervous system slows down along with the slowing down of breathing rate. Besides this, the temperature of the body also drops down and there is a sudden change in the muscles and twitches during this shift which is responsible for the hypnic jerk. (Also read: What is sleepwalking disorder and its treatment)

What are the causes of a hypnic jerk?

What is a hypnic jerk and what are it's causes
Picture credits: Pic Credit: thesleephub.com

There are many reasons responsible for a hypnic jerk or the sudden fall while you are asleep:

  1. Emotional stress
  2. Excessive intoxication(consumption of alcohol)
  3. Prolonged insomnia
  4. Excessive intake of caffeine
  5. Stressful activities during the day
  6. Hectic and tiring routine (Also read: Amazing Bedtime Habits Everyone Should Follow)

How to avoid getting hypnic jerks at night?
Though this is not an illness and does not suggest something serious. Yet it is advisable to take certain measures in order to avoid getting such jerks at night.

  1. Try to have happy and good thoughts while you are about the sleep. Stay away from excessive emotional trauma. Remember good things before you go to sleep.
  2. Try to cut down your intake of alcohol. Occasionally drinking is acceptable, but excessive drinking leads to serious issues in the body.
  3. Relaxing is the must thing while you have a long hectic schedule. Take a break and calm down. Don’t rush into things and become stressful.
  4. Do not undertake heavy workout sessions during the night time. It increases the frequency of hypnic jerk.
  5. Try to include more calcium and magnesium in your diet. This will help you to prevent the muscle contractions and twitches during the need.
  6. Make sure you are sleeping on a comfortable mattress. This will eventually help you to sleep better without any disturbance. (Also read: Five Reasons You Might Have Trouble Sleeping At Night)
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