Medical Questions > Mental Health > Sleep Disorders Forum

Jolting feeling when falling asleep (Page 1)

Lately, whenever I go to sleep, after laying down with my eyes closed for a while, i get this indescribable strange feeling which "jolts" (it doesn't feel like an electric shock though) me from my almost asleep state and I feel weird after that. As soon as I move my body, however, it is fine and it only happens at night when I'm trying to get to sleep.

What could this be?
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First Helper thehulk
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replied March 30th, 2009
Same here! It pairs up with my sleep paralysis. It usually happend when I am having a bad dream and I feel it under my arms and along my sides. Along with sleep paralysis, I though this jolting feeling was somethign I was alone in. Nice to know I'm not the only person with weird sleeping problems Smile
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replied May 10th, 2009
It's called a hypnic jerk or myoclonic twitch
About 70% of people are thought to experience this. It's not an indicator of a problem and it exacerbated by irregular sleep habits.
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replied May 11th, 2009
Me too
Sounds like what I've been experiencing. Every time I just start to fall asleep it almost feels like I quit breathing or even dying. I jump up everytime. Kinda of a jolt feeling. I've been experiencing it for over 5 years now. Sometimes up to 10-15 times in a night befor I finally fall asleep!
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replied July 25th, 2011
Hypnotic sleep
This has been happening to me for about 5 years also. I can be up all night, literally, unable to sleep so I have had to resort to 1/2 sleeping pill and sometimes this does not even work. It is so frustrating. Any solutions out there, p l e a s e. Thanks!
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replied May 20th, 2009
cara1982, see your doctor
Hi, Cara! Please see your doctor! your sleep is SO important and it's being disrupted. Maybe she can help you. Good luck!
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replied May 21st, 2009
:(
Unfortunatly my doctor doesn't any answers they are so fast to be in and out. I have pretty gaven up on them. I have tried some sleeping pills but they just make me feel crazy. Zanax helps but what doctor wants to prescribe me that for the rest of my life???

But thanks for the words of encouragement. they are appreciated
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replied May 26th, 2009
to: CARA1982
Please see another doctor! A neurologist who specializes in sleep is whom you should see. I hope you can do this.
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replied May 20th, 2010
Those jolts are very common and almost always nothing to worry about unless they disrupt your sleep to the point that you cannot fall asleep at all. In that case, it is usually the fear of what the jolt represents that keeps you awake. Once you know they are common and harmless, the fear disappears and you can fall asleep after one those jolts.

I have exactly three of those jolts every evening before I fall asleep. I did some research long ago and learned that they are actually seizures but of a very harmless nature. A hiccup is also a type of seizure and the jolts are in the same category as a hiccup. The name for the jolting is Myoclonic Seizure. Do some research and you will learn that when these happen as a part of falling sleep, they are usually not to be worried about. If you still are worried about them, then address it with your doctor.
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replied January 4th, 2011
ive read that these "jolts" are actually because when you sleep your soul leaves your body and you go through what is known as astral traveling...as you wake up due to something else its your soul slamming itself back in your body before you realize it was ever gone causing a jolt or jumping. this usually happens as one is lucid dreaming or in a deep sleep and either you fall or trip...before you actually land or whatever it scares the mind and you wake up slamming your soul back into you. crazy and off the wall explanation but i like it. i mean, is it really all THAT crazy...considering we dont know anything about the human soul and only a small portion of brain control??? i like to keep an open mind on subjects such as these. its worth a shot to read up on astral traveling and your soul leaving your body. think of it as a challenge.
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replied April 23rd, 2011
It's called a hypnic jerk. Your muscles relax as soon as the dopamine sets in and your brain misinterprets it as your body falling or losing balance so there's an involuntary nervous reaction. Interestingly enough, the phenomenon is most likely to occur in hypnagogia, which less commonly sleep paralysis and hallucinations such as the feeling of 'astral travel' can occur. As far as I know there is no such thing as a soul.
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replied January 13th, 2011
Jolting/Jumping while sleeping
This is so strange bc I totally agree with *makeuthink*, I heard this too, years ago. I am close to 40 yrs old and my husband says I do this every night. It wouldnt suprise me if I was leaving my body I began reading about astral projection when I was an early teen, and I have always believed that we has the ability to do it. I am also sure that we are able to speak without words and much more if we could learn to use the rest of our brains or at least 50%. As far as the seizure..that is most likely the feeling you would get while leaving or entering your body. Have you ever woke up and felt like you have been on some long adventure that you cannot remember but your actually even a bit tired by it?
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replied April 6th, 2011
Do I die for a second?
I have been experiencing something similar myself. Just as I am falling asleep, it almost feels like I die for just a second. I am just on the cusp of sleep and all of a sudden this weird feeling like my soul is leaving my body. I can almost feel my body fade away from me. It is the scariest feeling. Then, a split second later, I am jerked back in and have to take a deep breath. My fingers and arms have a strange weakness sensation like when your hand falls asleep and then the feeling starts to come back. It definately feels like I die for a split second and my body stops working....then jolts back. I am scared to fall asleep.
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replied May 31st, 2011
This explantion is about as close to all of them I've read on the subject. I hate the sleep jolts. They scare me. They scare my husband and son. I even let out a yell upon waking. It's absolutely horrible. I'm 45 years old and I've been experiencing them for about a year now. They do seem to be getting more frequent. I feel totally helpless to them. Just trapped!
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replied August 18th, 2011
Sleeping disorders
I've had the same problem for years. I can remember when I was a young girl, nights I couldn't sleep. I am now 33 and still feel like I'm dying in my sleep. The only thing that I have found to work is a little pill called melantonion. It's fabulas. It's a all- natural pill made by spring valley. I take 5 every night, which is way more than the recommend dosage but it beats eating sleeping pills or drugs for the rest of ur life. Along with these pills I sip about 3 ounces of red wine. In about 30 min, my nerves are completely in control and I have no jolting. I wake up peaceful and feel very rested!! Come to find out my body does not produce enough of this certain hormone which is the reason I have had sleeping disorders for years. The last 6 months of nights have been completely wonderful!! Try it! At the most you'll spend 5 bucks on 60 pills and 5 bucks on a bottle of red wine!! Def worth it!!!
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replied August 19th, 2011
Thank you feefeetee for your reply, It feels a little better knowing I am not the only one going thru these frightening episodes...I am terrified sometimes to go to sleep... I know exactly how you feel.


Do you feel like your heart stops beating as well. I feel like a strong single pulse feeling that jolts me awake. The pulse feeling seems to come from my diaphragm area and radiate up my chest.. Then after the jolt, it feels like you stopped breathing as well and need to take a deep breath????

I started having this about 4 months ago when I first posted on here. Then it seemed to pretty much go away except for some episodes. But 3 days ago it came back again. My sister is a nurse and she told me that it may be related to GERD. She said that sometimes when you have GERD or built up gas...it can put pressure on your Vagus Nerve and this nerve sends a signal..(the pulse feeling) because this is the nerve that controls your heartbeat and your breathing... She said you will mainly feel it at night when you are going to sleep because your body totally relaxes and puts much more pressure on the nerve.. She told me to try over the counter prilosec and stop eating greasy food and not to eat anything a few hours before going to bed at night....hmmm???

I do notice that these episodes come more when I am having heartburn, or gas or burping...so, I wonder if I have GERD and this is the culprit for all the other symptoms???


I will try what she said and if it does not help, I am going to make a Dr. Appt.
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replied August 19th, 2011
Thank you feefeetee for your reply, It feels a little better knowing I am not the only one going thru these frightening episodes...I am terrified sometimes to go to sleep... I know exactly how you feel.


Do you feel like your heart stops beating as well. I feel like a strong single pulse feeling that jolts me awake. The pulse feeling seems to come from my diaphragm area and radiate up my chest.. Then after the jolt, it feels like you stopped breathing as well and need to take a deep breath????

I started having this about 4 months ago when I first posted on here. Then it seemed to pretty much go away except for some episodes. But 3 days ago it came back again. My sister is a nurse and she told me that it may be related to GERD. She said that sometimes when you have GERD or built up gas...it can put pressure on your Vagus Nerve and this nerve sends a signal..(the pulse feeling) because this is the nerve that controls your heartbeat and your breathing... She said you will mainly feel it at night when you are going to sleep because your body totally relaxes and puts much more pressure on the nerve.. She told me to try over the counter prilosec and stop eating greasy food and not to eat anything a few hours before going to bed at night....hmmm???

I do notice that these episodes come more when I am having heartburn, or gas or burping...so, I wonder if I have GERD and this is the culprit for all the other symptoms???


I will try what she said and if it does not help, I am going to make a Dr. Appt.
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replied April 23rd, 2011
It's just called a hypnic jerk. Your muscles relax as soon as the dopamine sets in and your brain misinterprets it as your body falling or losing balance so there's a nervous reaction. As far as I know, there is no such thing as a soul.
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replied August 19th, 2011
no turtlerock..it is not hypnic jerk...I have those too. This is something completely different. This is not the falling feeling that makes you jolt awake or the jerks that happen when you are falling asleep....this is much worse and a 100 times more scary. I have been told that it may have something to do with the Vagus Nerve. BTW..I believe I have a soul Smile
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replied January 25th, 2012
My doctor told me about Hypnagogic Sensations. You all should read it just to see if it pertains to you. You may only have a few of the symptoms but this may be what's going on. It may also very well be something else but won't hurt to read the information.
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replied February 21st, 2012
I have been experiencing this jolt periodically. Sometimes when I experience this, I will try to fall asleep and within 30seconds, my body will jerk. As I try to fall back asleep it may happen or it may not. If it does happen again, I have experienced it 4 or 5 times. There are times when I don't experience it for 5 and 6 months at a time. I am beginning to think it has to do with stress. I also thought it was from smoking marijuana, but I stopped that and it came back last night. The symptoms I am feeling is my feet kick out, i wake up, my entire chest ( heart and lungs) feel like they have stopped, then I breath and check my heartrate. It is always fine after about 10 seconds.
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replied February 21st, 2012
I have been experiencing this jolt periodically. Sometimes when I experience this, I will try to fall asleep and within 30seconds, my body will jerk. As I try to fall back asleep it may happen or it may not. If it does happen again, I have experienced it 4 or 5 times. There are times when I don't experience it for 5 and 6 months at a time. I am beginning to think it has to do with stress. I also thought it was from smoking marijuana, but I stopped that and it came back last night. The symptoms I am feeling is my feet kick out, i wake up, my entire chest ( heart and lungs) feel like they have stopped, then I breath and check my heartrate. It is always fine after about 10 seconds.
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replied March 13th, 2012
I believe it is my soul trying to escape so it can tell Santa what a naughty girl I have been and not to give me any Easter eggs. I also believe my souk only speaks in unicorn and that the tooth fairy steals my socks.
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replied March 14th, 2012
Hi, i just posted a thing on sleep paralysis. I get that jerking too and it is astral projection. I've had sleep paralysis since i was 12 and just found out at the age of 28 that it is astral projection. Dr.'s will never acknowledge this, but if you have the sleep paralysis you can do the astral projection by just trying to sit up when you in the paralized state.
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replied March 28th, 2012
I can relate to everything you are writing on this blog, but I have a question, hope someone can answer. The jolts I am experiencing are so strong, that I sometimes feel like my heart is going to explode, I feel it all the way up to my brain, is this dangerous ??
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replied April 17th, 2012
jerking awake while falling asleep
These come and go for me too. They started happening again two nights ago. I also believe this is due to gerd or severe bloating because that's when I always get it.
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