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 24 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by Insoluble 1 week, 3 days ago.

Viewing 10 posts - 16 through 25 (of 25 total)
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  • #29246

    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Hello merbear1 — your experience could also be a heightened response to the normal bodily changes associated with sleep. More on that in this video:


    ✓ Client

    Hi Martin. I just came across this thread while researching something else and I have a question for you. This self-monitoring that you mention, is that the same as a parasomnia, such as a hypnic jerk? Sometimes when I am drifting off to sleep, I start hearing a bunch of static that pulls me back to the awake stage. It’s not as violent a sound as someone who experiences Exploding Head Syndrome but it is tough to get back to sleep after it happens, just like having a hypnic jerk. I know that hypnic jerks and EHS are not worrisome as they don’t cause any physical harm or damage so I presume CBT-i could still be used? (Especially since extreme fatigue can sometimes increase the chance of experiencing EHS, I think using CBT-i to increase sleep could reduce the chance of experiencing it.)


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Hypnic jerks aren’t parasomnias because they aren’t unusual. It sounds as though you may be in a light stage of sleep and you then hear a sound that may not actually exist, and your hyperarousal response to this is jerking you awake.  If this happens and you find it hard to fall back to sleep, stimulus control is usually the best response.


    ✘ Not a client

    This Totally sounds like the answer i have been searching for, For the past few weeks i have been jumping up the very second i start to go into a sleep almost gasping for a breath… this doesn’t happen once, it happens all night… i’m exhausted with it, My anxiety is through the roof because of this… i had no idea what it was, or what was causing it, i went to the doctors and they forwarded me to a sleep clinic but warned a waiting list could take a very long time.

    Is there any way to deal with this to get a decent nights sleep?, it’s a bit hard not to think about it especially as its causing anxiety, i dread it becoming night time because i know what i’m instore for


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    Unfortunately, we don’t have a consensus on how to deal with hypnic jerks. The best suggestions I can offer at the current time are found earlier in this discussion.


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi, I have stumbled upon this forum while trying to diagnose my insomnia. It have what seem to be hypnic jerks, except that I don’t think they are accompanied by a physical movement as such. It seems to be entirely mental. Does this still qualify as a hypnic jerk? If not, do you know what it is?


    Martin Reed
    ★ Admin

    In your case, Insoluble, this could still be a symptom of hyperarousal — you might be self-monitoring for sleep and, at the very moment you are about to (or do) fall asleep, your brain fires into action to tell you it was successful.

    If you think I am missing the mark here, please describe your “mental hypnic jerks” in a bit more detail for me!


    ✘ Not a client

    Hi Martin, I have read that described elsewhere and it sounds plausible. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can stop it happening?


    ✘ Not a client

    I have had them and occasionally do. It tends to happen when anxiety is high and thus arousal is also there. It is what Martin calls self monitoring. You may be wanting to achieve sleep so badly that your mind is checking in “are you asleep?” and when you fall asleep, your awareness kicks in and then a surge of adrenaline rushes and wakes you up.

    There isn’t a failsafe technique or trick or cure but what can help in my experience.

    – Productive day. Have fun, work out, enjoy the day as best as you can. This will help you think and worry less about sleep and those jerks
    – Wake up and go to bed roughly around the same time. Don’t be precise but about 30 minutes each way.
    – Going to bed when you’re not sleepy or too sleepy may make it worse. If it’s 5PM you may feel tired and want to nap and you may or may not be able to. Probably best to defer it until 11PM or your bed time. Same with being too sleepy. If you are very exhausted, your body may really crave sleep but this may heighten anxiety which makes it worse.
    – Try laying on your side and not your back when falling asleep. Trying to sleep on a plane, train or reclining couch usually will be difficult.


    ✘ Not a client

    Yeah, I suppose researching sleep disorders all day probably isn’t helping me then.
    Thanks for your suggestions. I think my sleep routine is good really. But I’m sure more exercise wouldn’t hurt.

Viewing 10 posts - 16 through 25 (of 25 total)

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