21 September 2014

Mailbox: Your questions answered || Sleep Starts

Question: Why do I sometimes jerk myself awake just as I'm falling asleep? Is this something to worry about? -- C.E.

Answer: What you describe is commonly known as hypnic jerks or sleep starts. These are generally harmless physical processes that occur while your brain and body make the transition from wake to sleep.

Doctors don't actually know why they happen, though a common theory is that any residual electrical activity in the muscles during the wake/sleep transition may present like this as the body moves to a restful state.

According to the Mayo Clinic, at least 70 percent of people experience these sensations from time to time. They are considered normal.

If you struggle with this every night, however, you should discuss this with your doctor as regular twitching at bedtime might actually relate to the emergence of Restless Leg Syndrome or some other underlying neurological condition you may not be aware of.

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