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Hypnic Jerks

Hypnic Jerks: Why Do They Happen?

The inside story on why it sometimes feels like you’re falling as you fall asleep Have you ever been jolted awake by the sensation of falling, just as you were drifting off to sleep? If so, you’re not weird; you’ve got plenty of company. These involuntary muscle twitches in the arms, legs, or entire body are called (or sleep starts), and they’re very common. Up to 70 percent of people experience them occasionally—but no one knows exactly what causes them. Naturally, there are some theories. One is that they’re a result of the natural downshifting of the nervous system that occurs as you’re falling asleep: As your breathing and heart rate slow down and…