General Question

DeezerQueue's avatar

Do you also jerk before you fall asleep?

Asked by DeezerQueue (2017points) May 28th, 2008

I looked it up and it’s called a hypnic or myoclonic jerk, but my husband never has it, whereas I experience it on a nightly basis. Just as you’re dozing off your whole body jerks, does anyone else experience it? Do you wake up from it or are you able to drift off after that?

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24 Answers

robmandu's avatar

Only when I’m in a public place and then in such a way that draws the most attention my way. I end up awake out of sheer embarrassment at that point.

Just me, or did anybody else initially see the word “off” in the middle of that question upon first reading it?

trogdor_87's avatar

LOL, I totally took your question in a entirely diffrent context.

kevbo's avatar

I do, but I don’t know if I do it every night. I’m usually tired enough to fall back asleep pretty quickly.

PupnTaco's avatar


I also thought you said “jerk off” at first glance.

osullivanbr's avatar

The same happens to me. Not every night mind you, quite seldom in fact.

Let’s set up a Myoclonic Jerk support group right here on Fluther!! And we could have sleepovers, that would be so funny. We could try and get a kind of Myoclonic Mexican Wave going. :)

wildflower's avatar

I do it all the time, usually a falling/dropping sensation and I’ll, for whatever bizarre reason, lift and slam down my arm or leg. Sometimes it really freaks me out and wakes me up again – other times it’s just a quick reaction and then I turn over and go to sleep.

@robmandu: I wasn’t going to answer this question until I saw who asked it and I figured I must have read it wrong, and I had

acebamboo77's avatar

Yes, it happens to me alot, and I think its funny that my entire body jolts so much, but it really doesn’t stop me from going back to sleep, I just roll over and continue to doze off.

heyu1021's avatar

I do it very often! my arms and legs jerk a couple times before bed. I always assumed it was a symptom of my epilepsy. I also jerk during the day, depending on how the sun hits my eyes.

wabarr's avatar

In college, when my sleep schedule was a bit wonky, this happened to me nearly every time I tried to fall asleep. My heart would also begin to race, and I felt like I was going to pass out. A very unpleasant experience. So unpleasant that I had a hard time sleeping for a year or so….I actually sought help from a sleep specialist because I dreaded the act of falling asleep. No real help from the specialist, but the problem went away after college, when my sleep schedule became much more regular.

judochop's avatar

I often jerk before bed er falling alseep in bed. Le sigh.

DeezerQueue's avatar

First of all, I had no idea until robmandu pointed it out that what I had written could be misconstrued. I’ve also read words into things that might be construed otherwise, as well, but not this time in writing my own, obviously. After reading the responses I wonder if it also has to do with how quickly a person falls asleep. I can fall asleep within 15 minutes, it takes my husband much longer. Most of the time I can fall asleep easily after it happens but on occasion, not. But I’ve never had thoughts of falling or sliding in some fashion, although I do feel as though my body is becoming very light, kind of floating, and that’s when it usually happens.

I remember asking about it quite some years ago and no one would admit they had experienced it, maybe we were all too young to talk about something that seemed potentially embarrassing. Anyway, thanks for your responses, I’m glad that I’m not the only one.

@robmandu I have on occasion woken people when when sleeping in the train or bus or other public places to ask them if they need to be woken up at a certain time. Once I was in the bus where some guy had gone nearly to the end of the bus line and should have gotten off a lot sooner, the poor guy was so embarrassed.

robmandu's avatar

like @wildflower, I often, but not always, get that sudden falling sensation that seems to precipitate the jerk. Crazy.

Oh, and I’m wondering if it’s just the guys here who initially misread the question. Any girls see the phantom “off” upon first read?

wildflower's avatar

Actually, sometimes it almost feels like I just landed on the bed after a drop. Or that I’m about to fall out of bed, but I’m nowhere near the edge. Weird, I know.

I didn’t see the word per say, but did think it was referring to that (and on last inspection I was not a bloke)

DeezerQueue's avatar

This is from

When we drift off into sleep, the body undergoes changes in temperature, breathing and muscle relaxation. The hypnic jerk may be a result of the muscles relaxing. The brain misinterprets this as a sign of falling and signals our limbs to wake up; hence the jerking legs or arms.

So essentially our brains and bodies are momentarily out of sync.

@wildflower Yes! I have had the feeling that I was falling out bed but was also nowhere near the bed, I do remember having that thought before!

Jbor's avatar

I experience it once in a while. Usually a rather violent jerk when I’m just about to fall asleep.

Another interesting trait of mine is that when I’m trying to stay awake (usually at a meeting or such), I very often loose control of my eye movement. They just race around all over the place, as if I’m having a seizure. Funny thing is, I’m usually quite awake, and can answer a question at a split seconds notice. Does anyone else experience the same?

DeezerQueue's avatar

@Jbor Yes, I’ve experienced that too, it feels incredibly weird when it happens, like my eyeballs have taken on a life of their own.

wildflower's avatar

I don’t quite get the eyes-racing-around, but I do have times when I literally lose the battle to keep my eyes open – typically when watching a movie at home. The eyes just decide that they want to roll back and shut down and try as I may to stop them, eventually they do.

El_Cadejo's avatar

Yea i have this happen to me sometimes, the weird thing is its always when im just falling asleep and ill have some dream where im falling or something. Like ill be riding a bike and then fall off and right before i hit the ground i fly out of my bed. Quite annoying.

i also read the question in the entirely wrong context, damn my perverted mind

TheHaight's avatar

This has never happened to me, maybe a couple times but not every night. Ive seen my boyfriend do this A LOT, and even make noises. I just thought he was dreaming?
I read the question wrong at first too, but knew Deezer wouldn’t ask a question like that! Hah

delirium's avatar

This exact thing happens to my boyfriend. Its SO annoying. It wakes both of us up when he does big twitches.

I’ll admit, I read it wrong too.

Allie's avatar

Sometimes this happens to me when I’m just falling asleep too. One big jolt, but it doens’t happen all the time. Actually, it’s pretty rare for me, but it has happened.

Yeah, I read the question wrong too.

susanc's avatar

I too read it wrong. That would also be a good question. If that were the question,
yes, though in a female kind of way.
I too have one big jolt from time to time, usually when very tired physically.
I too think I’m falling off the bed when I’m not. I’m always so happy to find out
that it was a mistake. I hate falling. Why would we feel like that?

DeezerQueue's avatar

@susanc Apparently it has to do with out brains being out of sync with our bodies. Our muscles are relaxing to the point of maximum relaxation but our brains apparently are off somewhere else, drifting into other thoughts. Apparently when the brain gets the signal that we’ve reached maximum relaxation it merely reacts to it, but not by thinking that we’re falling asleep, rather, to the next best idea, which is falling since apparently the sensation would be somewhat similar. Essentially we aren’t receiving the visual cues that we’re accustomed to receiving when it happens.

Because no one admitted to it when I had asked it years (and I mean years ago) I wondered if what I experience was atypical.

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