No matter how many times it happens, it never seems to get better or stop suddenly. You see, you start to sink into dreamland, but just when you’re ready to slide off your head into a deep sleep, you start to fall sideways. I don’t know if you’ve ever wondered about this strange phenomenon, but I’ve always wondered why it happens. Apparently, it happens to people on a regular basis. And scientists have finally figured out what it means. They’ve even dubbed the phenomenon the “hypnotic jerk.” Descriptions of the hypnotic jerk vary from person to person, but a common experience is that it makes you feel as if you’ve fallen. Researchers believe that certain external factors, such as caffeine and tobacco, can increase the frequency of sleep jerks. We recommend avoiding these.
Drugs such as Adderall and Ritalin have been found to have similar effects, and sleep deprivation has also been found to cause this phenomenon. Hypnotic twitching is most commonly seen when falling asleep quickly during or after a state of intense fatigue. In rare cases, when the body is really exhausted, the brain processes the stages of sleep too quickly and becomes confused, thinking that the body and its major systems are malfunctioning. In response, it wakes you up with bursts of chemicals, which the brain may interpret as dreams meant to wake you up.