Ever hear of the Hypnic jerk? What about the Myoclonic jerk? No? Well, I’ll bet you’ve experienced it before!
You know that feeling where you’re just at the onset of sleep and then suddenly and spastically jerk yourself awake? That’s called a Hypnic jerk. A friend on Facebook asked me about it and that is what prompted me to write this post.
It happens when you are in the first stage of sleep, the Hypnogogic state, hence the name Hypnic jerk. During this state the body completely relaxes and muscle control begins to fall away causing a falling sensation, which is why we call it “falling” asleep. If you have too much on your mind or if you are having a fitful night of sleep and are not fully releasing your worries, you are far more likely to jolt awake from the experience because a part of you is alert enough to go into fight or flight mode and try to catch your fall, which results in the Hypnic jerk.
Sometimes it will happen and you won’t even wake from it. If you watch a baby fall asleep, you’re likely to see it happen but the baby won’t wake from it.
Sometimes little mini dreams come along with it. Even though you aren’t in REM at this point, the hypnogogic state will cause dream-like visions because it is an hallucinatory state. My facebook friend had “dreamt” that she slipped on a wet sidewalk when she jerked awake. I once “dreamt” I tripped over a wrinkle in the concrete floor of the grocery store! My brother in law once jerked so hard that he kicked the wall. He actually went to the hospital because he thought he had broken his foot!
What about you? What are your experiences?
My latest book Dream On It teaches you how the dreaming mind works. It will teach you how certain dream themes are connected to the different parts of YOU. For example, dreams about animals are really about YOUR behavior. Dreams about other people are really about different parts of YOUR personality. It’s not only fun to be able to figure out your dreams, it can be life changing!
“I bought the book on Sunday and read it in two days! I loved it. It is so insightful to how our minds work. I truly find it enlightening how much we can learn about ourselves if we pay close enough attention to our dreams.” – Erin P.