When Sleep is a Jerk

When Sleep is a Jerk

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Have you ever found yourself drifting into a deep sleep at bedtime only to literally be jerked awake by your own body? If you know exactly what we mean by this, chances are you are among the estimated 60 to 70 percent of Americans who experience what sleep experts call a hypnic jerk.

Also known as a hypnagogic jerk or sleep start, these involuntary jolts occur just as a person falls into a deep sleep. There’s currently no real explanation behind hypnic jerks, although research by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine indicates anxious or sleep-deprived individuals are more likely to experience them than others. If you experience hypnic jerks, you may notice the movements often come in combination with a visual dream or hallucination, sensory flash, or a feeling of falling in your sleep.

Frequent sleep starts can lead to increased anxiety and eventually insomnia. If you are experiencing recurring sleep starts it may be time to seek professional assistance. To schedule a consultation with our dentist to discuss whether sleep apnea may be related to your sleep starts, click here. To learn more about hypnic jerks, including signs and symptoms, check out this article by Time magazine.



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