T Nation

Anybody Else Jump a Lot in Their Sleep?

That phenomenon where you stumble or fall in your dreams and it makes you jump or twitch.
I seem to be doing it all the time after training i.e. 5-10 times a night. I’ve ended up elbowing my girlfriend in the head and hitting her in the back in my sleep which isn’t too cool.
I read somewhere that it possible occurs when all your muscles relax and your body can interpret it as falling and reacts. This made me think that it could have something to do with lifting and muscles being tight or something.

Anybody else get it alot after training?

I say it’s overtraining and your CNS reacting. I get it after a very tough workout, like my nerves are shot.

I’ve experienced this as well, although very infrequently. It basically went as you described: I dreamt I was falling or stumbling and ended up striking against the wall or similar before awakening. Not sure about the correlation between this an my training schedule, though.

lol I get that crap every single night, and not even while dreaming.

It’s almost like a tiny little seizure and I get it when i am drifting off to sleep. Sometimes it’s just one limb. Other times it’s all over me. It happens in a split second which is why it’s more like a twitch and less like a real seizure.

I have often wondered if it means there is something wrong with me.

Sometimes. Usually accompanies a dream about a trampoline.

The twitch when you’re falling asleep or in a light sleep is called “hypnic myoclonia”. It isn’t necessarily related to snoring at all. Snoring occurs because of flaccid tissue in the soft palate, which can be caused or exacerbated by any number of things. Hypnic myoclonia specifically has to do with how the brain behaves in light, Stage 1 sleep.

The first stage of sleep and a “level” of sleep which we may return to a few times a night is called Stage 1. It’s defined as a light sleep that we can drift in and out of; the senses of vision and hearing aren’t fully disconnected from external stimuli the way they are in deeper stages of sleep, but the neuronal firing pattern resembles that of when we’re dreaming, and people woken up from this stage often remember visual images and dream fragments.

In full REM sleep (during real dreaming), there is a sort of short-circuit in the brain* which activates to keep us from getting up and acting out our dreams physically; essentially this safety switch tells the brain that it can talk to its sensory interpretation modules, but it isn’t allowed to talk to its motor control modules. (When this short-circuit doesn’t kick in properly we can get sleepwalking.

Alternatively, when we start to wake up but the circuit doesn’t disengage, we get the kind of nightmare known as “sleep paralysis”, where you are at least semi-aware of your real physical surroundings, often mixed with visual and/or auditory hallucinations which “feel” real, but you absolutely cannot move. This may be where a lot of “alien abduction” experiences come from.)

Back to hypnic myoclonia, though. In the first few minutes of Stage 1 sleep, the brain is starting to take on the aspects of synchronised neuronal firing typical of dreaming, but that protective short-circuit hasn’t kicked in yet. This sometimes results in the pattern of firing in your brain triggering a synchronous burst in the motor neurons, and you get a “startle twitch”.

That twitch is generally absolutely nothing to worry about. It’s only when you continue that kind of startle jerk after you are in full, Stage 2, 3, or 4 deep sleep that you know that something is going wrong.

Can medication affect this? Possible; any medication which affects sleep patterns has the potential to affect it, because it has the potential to affect how your brain is acting during sleep. Unless it seems to be accompanied by other sleep disturbances, though, like night terrors or sleepwalking, or the startle is leaving you with sore muscles or a bitten tongue or suchlike, or it’s simply really bothering your ability to sleep, then it probably honestly isn’t worth worrying about.


  • This circuit is composed of inhibitory GABAergic neurons in the thalamus which interfere with motoneuron firing patterns, if you wanted to know that, and motoneurons are also kept hyperpolarised to keep them from firing properly. However, messages for minor twitches in the peripheral muscles can still sneak through.

http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/67542

maybe this will help

Thanks Dr. Bag.

[quote]force of one wrote:
lol I get that crap every single night, and not even while dreaming.

It’s almost like a tiny little seizure and I get it when i am drifting off to sleep. Sometimes it’s just one limb. Other times it’s all over me. It happens in a split second which is why it’s more like a twitch and less like a real seizure.

I have often wondered if it means there is something wrong with me.[/quote]

Same thing happens to me every night. Mostly occurs while I’m drifting off to sleep, then I’m wide awake, this usually is the result of a poor night of sleep.

One time I punched my ex in the face while I twitched.

[quote]dirtbag wrote:
The twitch when you’re falling asleep or in a light sleep is called “hypnic myoclonia”. It isn’t necessarily related to snoring at all. Snoring occurs because of flaccid tissue in the soft palate, which can be caused or exacerbated by any number of things. Hypnic myoclonia specifically has to do with how the brain behaves in light, Stage 1 sleep.

The first stage of sleep and a “level” of sleep which we may return to a few times a night is called Stage 1. It’s defined as a light sleep that we can drift in and out of; the senses of vision and hearing aren’t fully disconnected from external stimuli the way they are in deeper stages of sleep, but the neuronal firing pattern resembles that of when we’re dreaming, and people woken up from this stage often remember visual images and dream fragments.

In full REM sleep (during real dreaming), there is a sort of short-circuit in the brain* which activates to keep us from getting up and acting out our dreams physically; essentially this safety switch tells the brain that it can talk to its sensory interpretation modules, but it isn’t allowed to talk to its motor control modules. (When this short-circuit doesn’t kick in properly we can get sleepwalking.

Alternatively, when we start to wake up but the circuit doesn’t disengage, we get the kind of nightmare known as “sleep paralysis”, where you are at least semi-aware of your real physical surroundings, often mixed with visual and/or auditory hallucinations which “feel” real, but you absolutely cannot move. This may be where a lot of “alien abduction” experiences come from.)

Back to hypnic myoclonia, though. In the first few minutes of Stage 1 sleep, the brain is starting to take on the aspects of synchronised neuronal firing typical of dreaming, but that protective short-circuit hasn’t kicked in yet. This sometimes results in the pattern of firing in your brain triggering a synchronous burst in the motor neurons, and you get a “startle twitch”.

That twitch is generally absolutely nothing to worry about. It’s only when you continue that kind of startle jerk after you are in full, Stage 2, 3, or 4 deep sleep that you know that something is going wrong.

Can medication affect this? Possible; any medication which affects sleep patterns has the potential to affect it, because it has the potential to affect how your brain is acting during sleep. Unless it seems to be accompanied by other sleep disturbances, though, like night terrors or sleepwalking, or the startle is leaving you with sore muscles or a bitten tongue or suchlike, or it’s simply really bothering your ability to sleep, then it probably honestly isn’t worth worrying about.


  • This circuit is composed of inhibitory GABAergic neurons in the thalamus which interfere with motoneuron firing patterns, if you wanted to know that, and motoneurons are also kept hyperpolarised to keep them from firing properly. However, messages for minor twitches in the peripheral muscles can still sneak through.

http://www.answerbag.com/q_view/67542

maybe this will help[/quote]

awww snap. Dirtbag knows… wow. ok, well I really am releived!
I was worried it was going to like grow into epilepsy or something. Thank you for posting sir!

[quote]aznt0rk wrote:
force of one wrote:
lol I get that crap every single night, and not even while dreaming.

It’s almost like a tiny little seizure and I get it when i am drifting off to sleep. Sometimes it’s just one limb. Other times it’s all over me. It happens in a split second which is why it’s more like a twitch and less like a real seizure.

I have often wondered if it means there is something wrong with me.

Same thing happens to me every night. Mostly occurs while I’m drifting off to sleep, then I’m wide awake, this usually is the result of a poor night of sleep.

One time I punched my ex in the face while I twitched.[/quote]

Yeah, my experience is more like your description force of one. Described it as the stumbling thing so people would know what i’m talking about but i think you hit the nail on the head with that.

As for hitting the girlfreind, mine said I made her cry when I punched her in the back. And the elbow was to the top of the head, which was hard enough to wake me up. It’s got to the point where I get her to sleep with her head on the inside of my upper arm so she’s too close for me to strike her with a flailing limb.

When I was oly lifting, I had this all the time and also from doing ETD, so for me I know it connected to CNS fatigue.

I get it after a day of training. My gf knows what I worked out that day if we have a nap together.

I believe we jump in our sleep because our soul is getting brought back into our bodies very rapidly.i only do this when im falling or something terrible is about to happen ie die.

I read about DMT (Dimethyltryptamine) alot so this is why I belive this.

When I was in Europe a few weeks ago, my body was all messed up from heavy drinking and lack of sleep.

I woke up numerous people in my hostel several times when I twitched. Both times I remember were when my head/neck twitched and I slammed my face into the wall. That sucked…

It happens to me whenever I seem to walk off a curb in my dreams. Weird.