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Hypnic Jerks?

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This topic contains 1 reply, has 2 voices, and was last updated by Martin Reed 6 months, 2 weeks ago.

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  • #34903

    ✘ Not a client

    I just read a forum post on hypnic jerks, and was going to post there, but the system asked me to make a new post. Or maybe not. I haven’t slept in three(?) days, and am browsing on a cell phone with a half-broken screen.

    Anyway, I was on the verge of tears when I saw the post. Three days ago, I started jerking awake every time I started to fall asleep, and while I have struggled (poorly) with various types of insomnia all my life, this was brand new and had me terrified (I’m 40). I even went to the hospital last night (this morning) in the hope that they could do something to give me at least on night’s sleep, and maybe tell me what was going on. They didn’t. Anyway, I’m comforted to know I’m not the only one this had happened to, but I’m not entirely clear on this. Is this hypnic jerks, or something else? TlI don’t necessarily “jerk” physically, but just wake up with a nervous rush every time I start to fall asleep. The idea that this is my brain giving itself a gold star for finally getting itself to start to fall asleep makes sense. The night before last was pure hell, leaving me so terrified of out last night that I started having a panic attack when it started happening again, despite an otherwise fulfilling day (or as fulfilling as possible considering I was exhausted). I have obsessive-compulsive disorder, so it’s not surprising that I was fixated on this, but I’m still not sure what to do. The doctor at the hospital told me to take the Alprazolam I carry around in case of a panic attack twice daily until I can see my psychiatrist. Will this help? I guess me real question is what I can do now while I wait to stay treatment. I am desperate to sleep, and terrified that I might never do so again…


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Hypnic jerks are quite common and aren’t anything to worry about. They tend to happen as we transition from wakefulness to sleep. Waking with that sensation of “fight or flight” might also be associated with this transition into sleep but can also be a symptom of hyperarousal. This, again, isn’t unusual and is unlikely to be anything you need to worry about.

    You might find these two videos helpful:

    Why you feel a sense of panic when you drift off to sleep (or when you wake during the night)

    Four important questions for everyone with chronic insomnia

    I hope this helps!

    The content of this post is provided for informational and educational purposes only. It is not medical advice and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease, disorder, or medical condition. It should never replace any advice given to you by your physician or any other licensed healthcare provider. Insomnia Coach LLC offers coaching services only and does not provide therapy, counseling, medical advice, or medical treatment. All content is provided “as is” and without warranties, either express or implied.
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