What Are Hypnic Jerks And Why Do They Occur?

What Are Hypnic Jerks And Why Do They Occur?

What Is Hypnic Jerk?

It is a sudden, violent movement throughout the body that occurs during sleep. Most hypnic jerks are benign, but some may become violent. Some triggers include caffeine, stress, and a large workload. These episodes may also be a sign of a sleep disorder. However, if you experience a hypnic jerk during normal wakefulness, you should consult a doctor to get the proper diagnosis.

Now arises the question, “Are Hypnic Jerks Dangerous?” While the exact causes of the hypnic jerk are not fully understood, most people can identify it as a sudden jerk of the neck, trunk, and limb muscles. The muscles involved in the hypnic jerk are the sternocleidomastoideus, the thoracolumbar, and the abdominal. The muscles involved in this action jerk back and forth, sometimes simultaneously.

While the cause of a hypnic jerk is unclear, some common causes of the jerk include caffeine, lack of sleep, or a variety of drugs. These factors can make it more difficult to relax, which increases the risk of experiencing a hypnic jerk while you sleep. To minimize the frequency of hypnic jerks, try eliminating your bedtime habits and factors that contribute to your tense muscles.

Reasons Why Does Hypnic Jerk Occur

What Are Hypnic Jerks And Why Do They Occur?

A hypnic jerk is an involuntary muscle contraction that occurs when an individual is falling asleep. It may be triggered by the movement of one’s leg, which evokes a soccer-related dream image. This sudden muscle contraction is a normal part of the sleep cycle and is not a cause for alarm. There are various causes of hypnic jerks, including psychological stress and sleep deprivation.

Stress And Anxiety

A high level of stress or anxiety before bedtime is a common trigger for a hypnic jerk. The increased stress can make it difficult for someone to fall asleep and keep them awake during the night. Taking stimulants and caffeine before bedtime is also linked to an increased risk of hypnic jerks. In addition to caffeine, this substance can make a person’s body more active during the night.

Lifestyle Changes

If you don’t want to suffer from a hypnic jerk every night, try making changes in your lifestyle. A few simple lifestyle changes can help you get a better night’s sleep. If you experience frequent hypnic jerks, visit a healthcare provider for advice. They may prescribe medications that can help you get a good night’s sleep and reduce hypnic jerks.


A common cause of hypnic jerks is caffeine in the bloodstream. This stimulant jolts the brain and the muscles. If the hypnic jerks occur during REM sleep, this may be a test of whether your body has been completely paralyzed during your dreaming phase. The jerk is perfectly normal, but it can be unnerving.

Sleep Disorders

Some reasons why people experience hypnic jerks are unclear, but one theory is that it is caused by the reticular activating system. Other theories are that it is the body’s natural transition from alertness to sleep. A polysomnographic test can confirm the diagnosis. Other conditions that can cause hypnic jerks include rapid eye movement sleep disorder, rhythmic movement disorder, and benign sleep myoclonus of infancy.

Ways To Treat Hypnic Jerks

There are many ways to treat hypnic jerks. About 60% to 70% of people suffer from hypnic jerks. They can happen to both men and women and can affect individuals of all ages. To know how to treat these jerks, read on! This article will provide you with some ways to help your loved ones. Listed below are some ways to treat hypnic jerks.

Avoid Stimulants Before Bedtime

One way to help yourself sleep better is to avoid taking stimulants before bedtime. These substances wake you up and stay in your system for several hours, interfering with your sleep. For example, people who stopped drinking coffee six hours before bedtime still had trouble sleeping. Similarly, people who exercise vigorously at night are also more prone to experience hypnic jerks. Regardless of your reasons for experiencing this condition, treatment is available.

Relax Before Bed

Another way to treat hypnic jerks is to try to relax before bed. Some people find that writing in a journal helps them sleep. By letting your mind wander and writing down your thoughts, you can be free from the stressors that are causing your jerks. This will also help you to deal with anxiety as well as prevent twitching and other problems. You must devise or find out different ways to stay cool at night so that you sleep well. 

A Proper Sleep Routine

If you experience hypnic jerks regularly, try to develop a routine to help you get the sleep you need. Try to avoid bright lights and screens before bed, and engage in relaxing activities that help you wind down. Another method is to exercise earlier in the day. Exercise during the day gives your body time to relax before sleep. It also decreases the frequency of hypnic jerks.


Similar to breathing exercises, exercise during the day can also help you sleep. However, avoid exercising too close to bedtime, as vigorous workouts disrupt sleep. Instead, do moderate-intensity exercises during the day, 90 minutes before bedtime. This allows your heart to return to normal, allowing you to sleep uninterrupted. The hypnic jerk can lead to a vicious cycle of worry and anxiety.


While the cause of hypnic jerks is unknown, it is a physical response to dream imagery. Certain risk factors can increase your risk of experiencing them, including excessive caffeine intake, sleep deprivation, and physical exercise before bedtime. In addition to these risk factors, there are many ways to treat hypnic jerks and prevent them from coming back. You may also want to try a new exercise routine if you are suffering from hypnic jerks.

There are many ways to treat hypnic jerks, including medication and relaxation techniques. However, it is important to remember that this condition is not dangerous and that you don’t need to seek medical treatment unless it becomes life-threatening. Although hypnic jerks are usually harmless, they can cause distress, confusion, and pain. They can occur during stages 1 or 2 of sleep and will disappear once you are in rapid eye movement sleep.