Hypnic jerk: Why do you feel like you’re falling when you go to sleep?

Do you suddenly  experience a shocking falling sensation while falling asleep? This phenomenon is known as the “hypnic jerk”, “hypnagogic jerk”, or a “sleep twitch”; and may sometimes be accompanied by a visual hallucination.

So what is it? Keep reading to learn more!

The “hypnic jerk” is an involuntary muscle spasm that happens while drifting off to sleep.

What causes “hypnic jerk”?

  • Consuming a lot of caffeine
  • Undergoing significant emotional stress
  • Sleep deprivation
  • Taking depression and anxiety medication

According to sleep experts like Michael Breus, the hypnic jerk may be a sign of the eventual switch over between the brain’s recticular activating system and the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus (that’s to say the transition from an active state to a dormant state).

Don’t worry it’s a normal and natural phenomenon.