You know that feeling when you are JUST about to fall totally asleep and suddenly you jerk your head up and become fully awake?
It’s very annoying and many people experience this. It’s like you start to fall or something taps or hits you in the face and then you not only wake, but you wake in a very sudden and startling fashion.
What the heck causes this?
Scientists are calling it the “hypnic jerk”.
The common experience is when you feel like you are falling. Apparently some even describe it as a choking demon. Caffeine and tobacco are believed to increase the hypnic jerk, and avoiding drinks with caffeine a few hours before bed can help. Meds like Adderall are also said to give similar effects. Ritalin too. Sleep deprivation can also set this off.
Usually it’s when you are in an exhaustive state, and you suddenly fall asleep. Apparently the brain can process sleep stages too quickly when you are totally exhausted. This confuses the body into thinking systems are failing.
The jolt is the response as a flood of chemicals come in and the brain may build a dream designed to wake you!