General Question

erichw1504's avatar

Do you or someone you know twitch while asleep?

Asked by erichw1504 (26398points) March 23rd, 2010

It takes me longer to fall asleep than my wife, so I can always tell when she has dozed off because her body does random twitches. Her arm will do a little jolt, then a few seconds later it’ll be her leg, then her foot. They are only small twitches, but I find it kind of weird. And she doesn’t do it all night, just for the first 15 minutes or so after she has fallen asleep.

Do you or someone you know do this? How severe is it? What causes this? Is there a rememdy?

Any other weird things you notice that someone does while asleep?

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42 Answers

mrentropy's avatar

I think I do the twitching thing when I sleep.

I sometimes dream I’m chasing rabbits in the open fields.

Sophief's avatar

My boyfriend grinds his teeth when he is sleeping!

bellusfemina's avatar

It seems to happen to me when I’m really tired for some reason. It’s actually woken me up before.

Facade's avatar

My boyfriend does that. Twitching, jerking, snoring…

marinelife's avatar

It is natural to twitch in one’s sleep. If you had a video camera, you could probably see yourself twitch.

johnny0313x's avatar

I don’t know how much twitching I do but I know when I am sleeping next to someone I have caught myself twitching or more like a quick jerk. Maybe it’s because in the back of my head i know I am sleeping next to someone and fell asleep without remembering…if that makes sense. It can be embarrassing though lol (luckily it doesn’t happen toooo often)

drClaw's avatar

Oh yeah I jolt up every once in a while when I’m really tired and dozing off. It takes me back to high school when I would feel my eyes get heavy then just before actually taking the plunge into slumber I would pop up, taking a huge breath in, alerting the class that I just fell asleep.

Aethelwine's avatar

I twitch sometimes. Usually after an exhausting day. Sometimes I like to rest my hand on my husband’s arm when we fall asleep, and I’ve woken up to my husband saying that I was grabbing his arm and it was keeping him up. payback for the snoring he does ;)

jeffgoldblumsprivatefacilities's avatar

I do more than twitch. I toss, turn, kick, snore, throw pillows, and even rip sheets (yes, I once ripped sheets so badly that I had to replace them). I’ve been told by more than one past girlfriend that I am impossible to sleep in the same bed with. I’d be interested to videotape and see the full extent of my nighttime craziness.

But, I always feel well rested when I wake up. Weird.

jfos's avatar

My ex-girlfriend does a pretty strong twitch right as soon as she is falling asleep/just fell asleep. It surprises me that it doesn’t wake her up. She also moves/grinds her teeth during this time. I snore though, so I don’t judge it at all.

johnny0313x's avatar

Yeah i agree with @drclaw it usually happens when I am REALLY tired. Like exhausted to the point where I can’t keep my eyes open. I think it has something to do with the subconscious….I’m not expert though.

casheroo's avatar

My mother did a sleep study and they told her she had Periodic Limb Movement Disorder, because of how often she moved in her sleep.
My older son twitches a lot at first, but I heard that was caused from falling asleep too quickly or something.

erichw1504's avatar

@casheroo My wife also falls asleep very quickly.

lucillelucillelucille's avatar

I’ve been told that I do that.I never bothered to look into causes or anything.It’s not my problem.LOL :)

Just_Justine's avatar

Yes I do and it’s hard to sleep next to a person like that. I have heard Magnesium helps a slow release, can’t remember where I heard or read that. :)

janbb's avatar

My husband occasionally kicks and twitches in his sleep. Once he was kicking hard and I woke him and he said, “Stoats were biting my legs.” What could I say? He’s English, so maybe they were!

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

I think everyone does this to some degree. It’s called hypnic myoclonia and has to do with how the brain behaves in light sleep. As we fall deeper asleep our brain disconnects external stimuli for the most part… That is – the brain is still hearing things, but it’s keeping it away from your active sleep (unless there is an emergency – then the brain goes “wake up, fool! NOW!”) In the same way, as we go into REM, our brain disconnects our active muscle motions so that if we’re sword fighting in our dream, we’re not acting it out and falling out of bed, etc. But in that brief moment in between, things can get a little weird… The body is still “on” so dream activities get a little jumbled. PLUS the brain has a little panic sometimes “oh crap the body died! kick it!” JOLT “oops… my bad… it’s fine, just sleeping… ACTIVATE THE REM!”

erichw1504's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre Wow, thanks for the in-depth and educational response.

partyparty's avatar

@Just_Justine Yes I have heard of magnesium. I think it is a lack of magnesium in your body that prompts cramp, which is extremely painful.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

My dad makes these weird twitches when he sleeps. It’s really kind of funny to watch. Every five minutes or so, his left leg twitches like crazy. Then it goes back to normal. Of course he doesn’t think he does it.

erichw1504's avatar

My cat twitches when he sleeps sometimes. Looks like he’s having a bad dream or something.

ParaParaYukiko's avatar

Ha! I was actually going to ask a question about this. You beat me to it, so Lurve for you.
My boyfriend does this. It kind of scared me the first few times I experienced it when we took naps together and such. I twitch a tiny bit, maybe my foot or finger, but his whole body spasms. @JeanPaulSartre‘s answer was definitely helpful! Thanks for the info. :)

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@ParaParaYukiko No problem, glad it helps.

Jeruba's avatar

My husband has three distinct kinds of twitches in addition to the typical falling-asleep lurch that seems to be very common. I have observed and catalogued them and developed defenses against two of them but can’t do anything about the third. They all disturb my sleep but not his. The first has always been there, and the other two have come on in later years.

1. Tickling fingers. His fingers twitch in a kind of grasping wiggle. When they happen to be extended in my direction, it is exactly like a tickling motion. Suddenly getting that in the middle of your back or your stomach when you are sound asleep can really raise you up. A small “travel” pillow correctly positioned takes care of it.

2. Raptor claw. One foot comes out to the side, sweeps an arc, and then goes back. He will get into this one and it will happen again and again at intervals of one to several minutes over a period of time. The angle and our relative heights are such that this often causes his toenail to rake the sole of my bare foot. Other times he claws my ankle. A good kick usually puts a stop to it, but if not, the travel pillow works here too.

3. Full-body spasm. When it gets going sometime in the middle of the night, this one is violent enough to rock the whole bed. I’ve counted the intervals; it times out at about twice a minute. A few times there has been enough daylight for me to see what’s happening: his shoulder, hunched close to his ear, suddenly opens up and pushes outward (upward, since he is on his side) as if trying to uncramp. It is a strong push and shakes his whole body. He sleeps right through it even when it goes on for an hour. There is no defense against this unless I wake him and get him to turn over. I have learned to go back to sleep with mini-earthquakes shaking the whole bed every thirty seconds.

sevenfourteen's avatar

I only tend to twitch when I’m extreeemely tired (as mentioned above), and sometimes I moan slightly which can be embarassing depending on where I’ve fallen asleep. It’s actually reassuring when I do because that’s when I get the deepest sleep. My bf is the same, he twitches like no other if he hasn’t been sleeping well. A few times his entire body has jumped (scaring me shitless) and I have no idea how he sleeps through it.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Jeruba Good lord… I think it’s time to get the demons exorcised.

Jeruba's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre, I’ve thought about that! Do you know any Protestant atheist Buddhist exorcists?

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Jeruba I think Colt makes one… ;) I’m kidding obviously.

YARNLADY's avatar

My legs move around of their own accord while I sleep. I don’t think it is the same as twitching.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@YARNLADY might be restless leg syndrome.

Draconess25's avatar

@bellusfemina Same here.

I bite, kick, claw, punch, scream, curse, undress myself, attempt to molest others…...

YARNLADY's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre Yes, I’m pretty sure it is, but I get so many bad responses, I hesitate to say so.

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

@Draconess25 I think that’s something else…

Draconess25's avatar

@JeanPaulSartre Yeah….Funny thing is, my odd actions have nothing to do with what I dream!

JeanPaulSartre's avatar

Sounds like it’s your dreams’ loss, in this case.

CloudXDream's avatar

I twitch sometimes when I’m trying to fall alseep. Whenever I am dreaming about falling off of a cliff or any kind of falling motion then I twitch awake.

mrentropy's avatar

This happened to me last night. I was still mostly awake, but I saw myself walking on an icy sidewalk and I slipped, then I jerked awake.

ChocolateReigns's avatar

@mrentropy Yes! That gets so annoying!

mrentropy's avatar

@ChocolateReigns It is, but it’s also really neat. I wish I’d remember to realize that I’m sort-of asleep so I could get the hang of “lucid dreaming” and live in my own Matrix for a few hours.

erichw1504's avatar

@mrentropy Yeah, I hate when that happens, I’m just about to doze off and all the sudden I’ll feel like I’m falling!

rinn's avatar

yes! i drive my boyfriend crazy with it, ive been trying to find out why im doing it all of a sudden and how to stop without sucess. bruxism, sometimes so bad we both thought that i had broken my teeth doing it (i have chipped some of my front ones, but its not too noticeable thankfully) a mouth guard sorted that one. nightmares, lots of nightmares so theres gasping for breath, yelling, screaming, kicking and sudden sitting up.
i tickle him, in fact i did it all night last night and he is trying to catch up on some much needed sleep now.
i also lay my hand on his (ahem) bits and then suddenly slap or do a grasping motion…i dont know how he sleeps beside me.
i raise my knees up too and my feet will slide along the bed until they drop, bed shakes and i lift them again over and over, he said if he lays his leg over mine then that stops it.
i have bitten him a few times too, id be cuddled in behind him and then bite his back out of nowhere.
then theres the bed angel where i stretch out all my limbs and take up as much of the bed as possible.
i had the lucid dreaming thing once, i was having a nightmare and realised i was dreaming and didnt have to be afraid, fear went and then i thought that there was something awful happening in real life so i woke myself up for absolutely nothing ha! sickened! funnily enough i thankfully havent had anywhere near as many nightmares since.

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