From hypnic jerk, even Einschlafmyoklonus called, is when it, partly in conjunction with other problems, is while falling asleep to spasms of the body. Throwing to sleep is usually harmless and can appear over the course of life and then go away on its own. It is only when falling asleep is difficult or impossible due to the twitching to fall asleep that one speaks of an illness.
What are falling asleep?
According to HOMETHODOLOGY.COM, The term twitching asleep covers various phenomena that can be observed while falling asleep or in the first phase of sleep.
In addition to twitching of the body, there may be visual, auditory and sensory twitches to sleep. Jerks in the body show up as sudden and brief jerks of the limbs or trunk called myoclonia. When falling asleep visually, the person falling asleep perceives flashes of light that do not exist.
In the case of auditory twitching to sleep, on the other hand, the person falling asleep hears loud noises, for example a pop, which, like the flashes of light, cannot be perceived by others. With sensory twitching to sleep, on the other hand, the person falling asleep feels a feeling of falling or stumbling. Visual, auditory and sensory twitches to sleep can accompany twitching of the body.
Only in rare cases – if the twitching to fall asleep is very pronounced – does the person wake up again from the twitching to sleep. It can also lead to an accelerated heartbeat and irregular breathing.
So far, there are no known causes for either mild or strong sleep twitching. They are classified as a natural phenomenon, since approximately seventy percent of the population will experience at least intermittent sleep spasms while falling asleep.
Twitching of the limbs, which is completely harmless, can be observed, especially in young children. Although the causes are unknown, it has been observed that twitching asleep occurs more frequently in response to external noises and in people who are stressed.
Scientists assume that when you fall asleep there are changes in the nerve cells in the brain or spinal cord, which are triggered by a network-like structure made of gray and white matter. This arrangement is called the reticular formation. It sends inhibitory signals to the nervous system while falling asleep, thus relaxing the muscles. This could possibly be related to the reticular formation.
Symptoms, ailments & signs
As a rule, the twitching to sleep is a harmless complaint that usually does not have a negative effect on the quality of life of the person concerned and does not reduce it either. Only in rare and serious cases do those affected suffer from severe sleep discomfort due to the twitching to sleep and thus from psychological upset or even from depression and irritability.
Those affected twitch before falling asleep or even after falling asleep and wake up again because of these twitching. They can vary in severity and in some cases disrupt sleep. In some people affected, the spasms of falling asleep are so strong that it leads to an epileptic fit, in which the muscles feel very painful.
Cramps can also occur. Furthermore, as a rule, no statement can be made about the regularity of these jerks, so that the jerks to sleep occur spontaneously, but can then go away on their own. In most cases, the symptoms can be treated relatively well, so that there are no particular complications. The life expectancy of the person affected is also not reduced by the twitching to fall asleep. In many cases, stress can make the symptoms worse.
Diagnosis & course
As part of the diagnosis, differential diagnoses must be ruled out, since myoclonus can be an accompanying symptom of various diseases. For example, fragmentary or propriospinal myoclonus, restless legs syndrome (RLS for short), muscle spasms and epilepsy can also be considered in the case of spasms of sleep.
Restless legs syndrome is a neurological disease in which there is an increased urge to move and involuntary movements can occur. Falling asleep can be measured using electromyography, or EMG for short. Either the electrical tension in a muscle or the tension in a muscle fiber is examined. When you twitch to sleep, there are short, high voltage peaks.
However, the sleep spasms don’t have to occur every evening. They can appear suddenly after many years, accompany the daily falling asleep for a while and then disappear again just as suddenly. However, they can also only occur irregularly.
When it comes to falling asleep, it is usually a common and, above all, harmless symptom that does not need to be treated by a doctor. The spasms of falling asleep occur in almost everyone and are not always clear for the person concerned. Often these are only determined by the partner.
If the spasms to sleep are strong, they can disturb the partner and have a negative effect on the relationship. In some cases, the person wakes up after the spasms to sleep, which can lead to sleep problems and lack of sleep. This leads to stress, an aggressive attitude and other complaints that occur as a result of lack of sleep.
Treatment is usually not carried out, so there are no further complications. However, a doctor should be consulted if restful sleep is no longer possible due to the twitching to sleep. This can be a psychological problem or the so-called restless leg syndrome. In most cases, treatment leads to a positive course of the disease without further complications. In most cases, however, there is no treatment.
When should you go to the doctor?
As a rule, falling asleep is harmless and usually does not require a medical examination. However, if the twitches cause problems, this must be clarified. For example, anyone who can no longer fall asleep or stay asleep or develops fears in connection with muscle contractions is best to speak to their doctor. If the partner feels disturbed by the twitching, this must also be clarified. In most cases, twitching asleep can be alleviated by self-help measures (e.g. yoga, exercise or soothing teas) or gentle medication.
Sometimes, however, they are based on psychological trauma. Anyone who has had a bad experience or has had psychological problems in the past should take the spasms to sleep as an occasion for a talk with a psychologist. If the contractions were preceded by an accident, there may be muscle or nerve problems. Just to rule out complications, a doctor should be consulted who will clarify the cause and treat it if necessary. Should symptoms such as palpitations or shortness of breath arise, medical advice must always be sought with the twitching to fall asleep.
Treatment & Therapy
Even if the short, high tension peaks in the muscles can be uncomfortable, twitching asleep usually does not need to be treated. All phenomena that occur are harmless. However, if a restful sleep is permanently prevented by the twitching to fall asleep, a doctor should be consulted.
Outlook & forecast
If you twitch to sleep, you speak of a harmless appearance, so that usually no medical or drug treatment is required. This leads to minor muscle twitches that take place during the sleep phase. If this condition is left untreated, it is unlikely to get worse.
Quite normal stress at work or in everyday life is often responsible for an uneasy sleep phase. Thus, the said sleep spasms should go away again without any treatment. However, if the stress increases in everyday life or at work, then the twitching of falling asleep can increase significantly.
It becomes more and more difficult to fall asleep as the person concerned wakes up repeatedly from the spasms to sleep. This can lead to increased sleep deprivation, so that medical and medical treatment becomes inevitable. In such a case, the cause of the twitching to sleep must be found out so that targeted treatment can be initiated.
If the existing cause of the twitching to sleep is not found or treated, a prompt improvement is not to be expected. However, no treatment is required in over 90 percent of the sleep spasms that occur.
If you want to avoid falling asleep, you should avoid excessive consumption of caffeine, whether in coffee or other drinks.
In addition to coffee, other stimulant substances should also be avoided. Nicotine has also been linked to the twitching of sleep. This not only applies to cigarettes, but also, for example, patches containing nicotine. Since scientists have observed that stressed people are more likely to twitch asleep, you should give your mind enough time to relax before going to sleep. It would be better to avoid stress.
Even a heavily stressed body is more prone to twitching asleep. Therefore, activities that put a lot of strain on the body should also be avoided.
In most cases, falling asleep does not require medical supervision. They are considered harmless. Accordingly, no aftercare is necessary. The twitches do not hinder life. They usually go away on their own. Only in rare cases do the twitching make sleep difficult or even prevent it.
In these cases, the signs are considered problematic. This leads to people showing irritability and behavioral problems. The psyche and physique suffer. Successful treatment does not result in immunity. The complaints can recur again and again. Follow-up care consists of changing behavioral habits. The patient is responsible for this.
As part of the initial therapy, he will be informed of the basic causes by his treating doctor. For example, those affected should avoid coffee and beverages containing caffeine for several hours before going to bed. Nicotine can also cause you to fall asleep. Arduous physical exertion should not take place right before going to sleep.
To avoid falling asleep, relaxation exercises have proven to be useful. Stress is considered to be the main cause of the discomfort. It must be turned off. If you have persistent sleep spasms, a medical consultation is absolutely advisable. Only in this way can it be ruled out that there is no other underlying disease. The twitches can point to epilepsy and RLS.
You can do that yourself
The often harmless twitching to sleep can be countered well with relaxation before going to bed. Those affected by hectic everyday stress can use relaxation techniques such as autogenic training, yoga or meditation to find inner peace, which enables them to fall asleep better. Physical work also brings the body into full swing and does not allow it to find the desired recovery phase so quickly. It is therefore important to avoid greater exertion and activity at this time of the day.
Patients who like to read before bed should opt for positive, relaxing reading and refrain from exciting titles. It is ideal to develop a set ritual to switch off in order to prepare body and soul for it. Keeping a diary can also be a useful means of doing this.
In addition to stress, caffeine can also make it easier to fall asleep. It is therefore advisable to refrain from consuming caffeinated drinks such as coffee, black tea or cola in the evening hours. Since nicotine can also have a negative influence on the rest and sleep phase, smokers and patients who use a nicotine patch should limit themselves to a period of time before going to bed.