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Jerking self awake when falling asleep / hypnic jerks?

Insomnia Forum Insomnia Help Jerking self awake when falling asleep / hypnic jerks?

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This topic contains 35 replies, has 17 voices, and was last updated by Martin Reed 2 months, 2 weeks ago.

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 36 total)
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  • #24017

    dreamtsleep
    ✘ Not a client

    I have had this problem for years and am currently in a brutal phase of it.  Just as I blissfully fall into that initial dreamy sleeping state my brain/subconscious/nervous system visicously jerks me awake. The pain and feeling of bad chemicals released in my brain  is horrific. I dread it so much I can be wide awake in blind terror of it happening. It seems to make the sleep deprivation of the next day even harsher where I am hanging on the edge of blackouts and panic attacks -just feeling ‘blasted’ in my head and in utter hell. I have had it so long I feel my brain/body is programmed to do this and it is utter torture.

    I believe it is a self-sabatage social anxiety type behaviour where although this is the last thing in the world I want, I put myself through it in a state of sheer terror -esp around social, in-law visits & work events. I have lifted my confidence over the years but this automatic waking insomnia still threatens everything.

    Any suggestions or sharing so warmly appreciated ….

    #24026

    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Sorry to hear about your experience with these jerks that wake you just as you are drifting off to sleep. This must be very worrying and make you feel very anxious about going to sleep at night.

    If you are experiencing hypnic jerks, you should be reassured that these are relatively normal and unremarkable — although they can be frustrating and disconcerting, they are not harmful.

    What could also be happening is that you have a heightened level of arousal and worry about sleep. So, when you get into bed, your mind is constantly ‘checking’ to see if you are asleep. This self-monitoring makes it more difficult to sleep, but as soon as you do fall asleep, the brain recognizes this and suddenly wakes you up to proclaim its success at falling asleep! Unfortunately, this can trigger the sudden jerk and racing mind and heartbeat that occurs when you suddenly wake from drifting off to sleep.

    Have you discussed your symptoms with your doctor? How long have you been experiencing these symptoms? Do you remember when they first started or what first triggered them?

    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.
    #24057

    dreamtsleep
    ✘ Not a client

    Martin thanks so for reply -will respond when less tired & some some clear time to explain it – bit of a complicated history on it  :0

    #24059

    Hopefull1979
    ✘ Not a client

    I feel your pain. I experience this as well.

    #24074

    dreamtsleep
    ✘ Not a client

    Thank you Hopeful. I am hopeful too, despite it all…. Have replied to your post too….

    #24135

    pam640
    ✘ Not a client

    Hey all, my name is Pam, and I have sleep problems from time to time. But this one is pretty bad. I did.not sleep last night AT ALL. Even now, if I try to take a nap, I feel as of I am starting to fall asleep, but it’s like sometho g invisible pulls me out of the sleep I’m falling I to and I am wide awake. It’s over a full day since I have slept. I hope I can sleep tonight. If not, I will come to this forum to see if anyone is here. This is so scary at times.

     

    #24137

    kobalap
    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Pam,

    I am a newbie here too though I have some experience dealing with sleep issues too.

    What I would recommend is to not force sleep.  That is, don’t try to take a nap at random hours during the day simply because you were unable to sleep last night.  Your body should be set such that it is ready for sleep at night.  Even though you missed sleep last night, I would suggest that you attempt to sleep during your usual bed time.

    Trying to force sleep, particularly outside of your body’s usual sleep time, is counter productive.  In fact, as you are seeing for yourself, it is quite frustrating when you do not succeed.   And even if you do succeed, you might throw off your body clock and perhaps causing you to not sleep the following night.

    Chances are, this is a short term thing and you will get your sleep straightened out pretty quickly.  In any case, the forum host will be by shortly should you have need for more detailed information.

    #24138

    pam640
    ✘ Not a client

    Hi, Kobalap! Thank-you so much for responding.

    I’m trying not to be too anxious, hoping that sleep will find me tonight.

    My thoughts start thinking crazy, wondering if I possibly have FFI. I gotta stop that.

    My anxiety takes things way too far sometimes.

    #24139

    kobalap
    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Pam,

    There is no need to try to be not anxious.  Your body is behaving in a way that is unfamiliar to you. And you don’t know why.  Its perfectly natural for you to to be anxious. In fact, believe it or not, even your inability to sleep from time to time is perfectly natural. Its an evolutionary trait. It’s what kept our ancestors from being eaten by a sabre tooth tiger.

    You don’t have sfi or ffi or whatever other fi’s.  There are millions of us who have had a similar “cant sleep and its real bad” experience you described. Don’t worry. There is help available

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by kobalap.
    • This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Martin Reed.
    #24141

    pam640
    ✘ Not a client

    I totally love you to pieces! Thank-you so much for understanding.   💖

    #24143

    Ywqywq
    ✘ Not a client

    I am going through the same and it is frustrating. I have had this problem come intermittently the past few years, and when it’s bad it gets really bad. I hope others can share ways they have managed to alleviate the problem.

    #24182

    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Hello Pam and welcome to the forum. It is completely normal to be concerned by the experience you have described. Do these sudden awakenings only occur just as you are about to fall asleep, or do they happen at random times during the night?

    If they only occur as you are about to fall asleep, they may be a symptom of self-monitoring. By this, I mean that because sleep has become such a big issue in your life, when you go to bed you set yourself the task (probably unconsciously) to keep checking if or when you are asleep. Not only does this make it harder to fall asleep, when you do fall asleep and your mind notices this, it will suddenly wake you up to inform you of this victory!

    Of course, it goes without saying that this is not constructive! So, how do you stop this self-monitoring? After all, telling yourself not to check whether you are asleep or telling yourself not to worry about sleep is easier said than done! You would probably find CBT-I techniques helpful since they will naturally strengthen your sleep while reducing sleep-related worry.

    First of all, make sure you have a regular (and appropriate) sleep schedule. Next, make sure that you get out of bed whenever you can’t sleep. Finally, take steps to unwind before going to bed. Reserve the hour before bed as a buffer zone during which time you engage only in relaxing activities that you enjoy.

    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.
    #27484

    delv-x
    ✘ Not a client

    Hello all,

    I know it’s been briefly mentioned in some threads but curious if it happens to others often and what is the best strategy to tackle it. It happens where I am sleepy and and get all relaxed and start to drift off and the moment I fall asleep I wake up. This repeats over and over and is quite frustrating. Martin mentioned that it is our checking mechanism that constantly is on alert checking to see if you are asleep or not. Once you are asleep the check says “you are asleep!” and that triggers arousal.

    Does it happen to you? Any strategies/tips? The only one I seem to hear is to ramp up sleep drive even more to the point that it overrides your arousal. I’ve been doing mindfulness meditation and perhaps it may help.

    Any suggestions, experiences, tips are welcome and hopefully it will help others as well.

    #27516

    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    This is a great question — and the answer is, we still don’t know for sure what causes these hypnic jerks.

    Sleep starts/hypnic jerks are thought to affect more than half of the population — so, in themselves, they are not something to be concerned about. Sleep studies in people with sleep starts do not show any abnormality (although the movements can sometimes cause awakenings). They are often associated with the transition from wakefulness to the first stage of sleep (N1 sleep).

    As you suggested, building sleep drive may help reduce their frequency. Sometimes, they can be associated with falling asleep in a certain position. So, if you normally sleep on your back when they occur, try shifting your sleeping position and see if that helps.

    Finally, sometimes these jerks/twitches can occur when the body isn’t adequately supported or when we try to sleep in an unusual/uncomfortable environment. So there is another avenue to explore/experiment with.

    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.
    #29084

    merbear1
    ✘ Not a client

    I also have this same issue – jerked awake with a little shot of adrenaline every time I am finally dozing off. I love  how you describe it “as the brain declaring victory!” That helps me laugh it off a bit….I have mentioned this to my doctor before and she had nothing to say to help me or to explain it. It does help to know other people are going through this too and that we can get over it….

    • This reply was modified 1 year, 1 month ago by merbear1.
Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 36 total)

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