Imagine you’re sleeping and having a wonderful dream, and all of a sudden something jerks and wakes you up from the land of fantasies. Why did it happen? Apparently this is a common problem for thousands of people, and recently, scientists have found the reason why.
This phenomenon is known as a “hypnic jerk” and usually feels like you’re falling from a great height in your dream. People around the world have described the experience differently – some say that a demon is choking them, while others have different experiences.
According to a theory, the hypnic jerk is a representation of what you’re dreaming just before suddenly waking up. One possibility is that parts of the brain working on dreams might be trying to make sense of the sudden urge of waking up, but this is only a theory that needs to be explored further. Experts believe that caffeine and tobacco may be responsible for hypnic jerks, which is why they recommend avoiding drinking coffee a couple of hours before going to bed.
Drugs such as Aderall or Ritalin may also have the same effect. Sleep deprivation could very well be the trigger as the condition occurs when your body is relaxed but your brain is stimulated. The jerk also occurs when a person falls asleep quickly when tired. When you’re exhausted, the brain proceeds to the sleeping stage quickly and confuses itself into thinking you’re dying and your systems are failing, resulting in the jerk.