Quick question. Right before you fall asleep, does your body suddenly jolt? Weird question, I know, but it’s actually more common than you think. It’s incredibly jarring to either be completely asleep or attempting to fall asleep and all of a sudden, you’re body jerks awake.
If you’ve ever wondered what the heck is happening, the answer is actually simpler than you thought:
Scientists call them “hypnic jerks” or “sleep starts” and generally occur when the body is transitioning between consciousness and sleep. Occasionally they wake up you or your bed partner if they’re strong enough. Other than this, there isn’t much information on them.
You are, however, more likely to experience sleep starts when you’re incredibly exhausted. You’re going from a state of consciousness to sleep so quickly, your brain panics because it thinks organs are shut down. It tries to send a quick alert to the rest of your body which turns into a sleep start.
There are several other causes of sleep starts such as too much screen time, alcohol, jet lag, or a long workday, but overall, if you’re experiencing sleep starts, it doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you.