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What are sleep jerks? Expert explains why you twitch in your sleep

Ever jolt awake with a falling sensation? Sleep jerks, or hypnic jerks, are common muscle twitches as you drift off. Learn causes, treatments & tips for a better night's rest.

Written By: Rahul Pratyush New Delhi Published on: March 29, 2024 18:22 IST
sleep jerks
Image Source : GOOGLE What are sleep jerks? Expert explains why you twitch in your sleep

According to Dr Vinit Banga, Associate Director -Neurology & Head Neurointervention, BLK Max Super Speciality Hospital, one of the most common types of sleep jerks is the hypnic jerk, which typically happens during the transition from wakefulness to sleep. It is estimated that up to 70% of people experience hypnic jerks at some point in their lives, with varying frequency and intensity.

Sleep jerks causes:

The exact cause of sleep jerks is not fully understood, but several factors may contribute to their occurrence. Some researchers believe that they may be linked to the brain's transition from a state of wakefulness to sleep, as well as changes in muscle tone and relaxation. Additionally, factors such as stress, caffeine consumption, and irregular sleep patterns may increase the likelihood of experiencing sleep jerks.

Sleep jerks treatment:

While sleep jerks are usually harmless and do not require medical treatment, they can be disruptive to sleep quality and may cause discomfort or anxiety for some individuals. In cases where sleep jerks occur frequently or are accompanied by other sleep disturbances, such as insomnia or restless leg syndrome, it may be advisable to consult a healthcare professional for further evaluation.


Several strategies may help reduce the frequency or severity of sleep jerks. Maintaining a regular sleep schedule, practising relaxation techniques before bedtime, and avoiding stimulants like caffeine and nicotine in the hours leading up to sleep may be helpful. Additionally, creating a comfortable sleep environment and ensuring adequate sleep hygiene can promote better sleep overall.

In conclusion, sleep jerks are a common phenomenon that many people experience during the transition from wakefulness to sleep. While they are usually benign, they can disrupt sleep and cause discomfort for some individuals. By understanding the factors that contribute to sleep jerks and implementing healthy sleep habits, it is possible to minimize their impact and promote better overall sleep quality.

ALSO READ: Cherries to Bananas: 5 superfoods to help you get a restful night of sleep


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