Hypnic Jerks while Falling Asleep- Hypnic jerks, or exploding head syndrome, are sleep disorders characterized by quick, sudden seizures that occur while falling asleep, and may cause insomnia.
Have you ever been on the verge of a deep asleep, only to be jolted awake by a terrifyingly loud crashing noise in your head? Hypnic jerks include symptoms like:
- Sudden, involuntary jerks while falling asleep
- Phantom sounds, such as popping, gunshot noises, and explosions, clashing cymbals, or banging sounds in the head
- Brief flashes of light
- Feeling of falling
- Electric charge
Also read: Rock On for More Sleep and Fewer Headaches
It’s not an obnoxious mind reader.
What is a hypnic jerk?
Hypnic jerks, also called “exploding head syndrome” or “sleep starts,” is a benign condition, causing sudden involuntary muscular twitches that occur within a few hours of falling asleep. In some cases, you might also hear a loud snapping or cracking noise inside your head, something akin to an explosion or a fired gunshot.
You’re not crazy, and you’re not having a stroke.
Are hypnic headaches normal?
First, there is no connection between these strange noises and the auditory hallucinations heard by the mentally ill. Second, while it is advisable to get a check-up, these symptoms alone probably don’t indicate anything life threatening, such as stroke. To ER or not to ER? 8 Migraine Signals that call for Emergency Care
However, if you experience severe headaches along with hypnic jerks, then you should call 911 right away.
Hypnic jerks- what they are, and what they’re not
What causes hypnic jerks?
As you fall asleep, your whole body unwinds; your muscles relax and your body temperature drops. During the shift from wakefulness to sleepiness, your brain sometimes “panics,” mistaking the sensation of falling asleep as actual, physical falling, hence the phenomenon.
Is a hypnic jerk kind of like a migraine with aura?
No. While some people who experience exploding head syndrome report seeing brief flashes of light, there is no correlation with migraine headaches. If you experience symptoms similar to hypnic jerks that accompany head pain, then you must report to your doctor immediately, in order to rule out stroke, or other life-threatening illness. Go Ask Alice: Migraine Auras in Wonderland
Who gets hypnic jerks?
Most people who experience hypnic jerks tend to be women who are over the age of 50, but they can happen to anybody of any age, male or female. In some cases, hypnic jerks can become habitual, leading to insomnia, especially if that person suffers from stress or panics over difficulty falling asleep. Some helpful stress-reduction techniques include cutting out caffeine, eating light, healthy meals, supplementing with vitamins and herbs, including 30 minutes of exercise per day, and practicing deep breathing, meditation, or yoga.