There’s a lot of dark speculation going around hypnagogic jerks, a phenomenon also known as hypnic jerks or sleep starts.
The hypnagogic state is a transitional one between that of wakefulness and sleep. A hypnic jerk is when you’re abruptly woken up by your own twitching, or involuntary muscle spasms, soon after you fall asleep.
Oftentimes, the movements are associated with an image, bright lights, or loud noises, the intensity of which forces the individual to wake up. Some people have to be woken up or don’t even remember the sensation at all. They are later informed of their movements by a witness.
A few sites out there point to this as a possible demonic health problem, but sleep starts are actually common occurrences. According to Live Science, some studies have indicated that 60 to 70 percent of people have experienced them.
Continuing reading to learn about what factors lead to these jolts and how you can prevent them.
Here’s a scenario.
You go to your comfy bed, slip under the covers, and fall into a deep sleep. Everything is good.
A few moments later, you wake back up.
You don’t know how long it’s been, but it couldn’t have been that long, and suddenly you wake up again. This is called hypnic jerk or sleep start.
Sometimes, the hypnic jerk is associated with an image.
One of the most common images during these early stages of sleep is that of falling.
You feel like you’re falling and then suddenly you wake up.
You feel like the fall was never ending, but you happen to wake up right before it does. It’s a huge relief.
This is Dr. Carl Bazil.
Dr. Bazil is the director of the Sleep Disorders Center at New York–Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. He told New York Magazine that the intensity varies from person to person.
Sleep start affects people differently.
While the hypnic jerk is a common experience, not all people wake up even after feeling this jerking sensations and are only told about it later. If it’s really bad, sometimes a family member or partner will wake that person up. Sound familiar?
Some theories point to satanic spirits.
There a few interesting sources that point to the idea that satanic spirits, a demon trying to grab ahold of your soul. There are more reasonable explanations, so don’t believe the hype.
Hypnic jerks can be intensified by too much caffeine.
We know you love your cup of joe, but if you’re suffering from too many sleep starts, try cutting down, especially if it’s later in the day, suggests Dr. Bazil.
Another trigger is stimulant medication.
Stimulant medications such as Adderall and Ritalin make you more susceptible
Tobacco smoke is also one of the culprits.
Along with caffeine and stimulant medications, tobacco is one of the main instigators.
In general, just try to get more sleep.
You may find that this happens to you when you’re extremely exhausted, so try not to outdo yourself too much. Almost anything that leads to sleep deprivation can trigger sleep starts.
At the moment, consider hypnic jerks like you would hiccups.
“It doesn’t usually mean anything, so there hasn’t been a huge amount of resources devoted to figuring it out,” the doctor said in the same interview.
Because of their supposed harmlessness, few researchers have dove deep into the subject. For now, all you need to know is that these are common occurrences and that you can do certain things, besides having an exorcism, to prevent them. Happy sleeping!
Here’s the secret to waking up feeling refreshed.