posted on Jun, 4 2008 @ 07:49 PM
I'll let you know what I know on the condition that you'll forgive me if I'm a bit out since I haven't worked with sleepers for a few years.
As far as i can remember there are two 'primary' physical reasons for the symptoms you have described (aside from just stress related bad
First one is the standard tonic/clonic muscular shock.
There are a few names for it: hypnagogic jerk, myoclonic twitch etc, and it's commonly experienced during the transition from one sleep stage to
It's a regular experience by people in the transition stage's of sleeping.
(Alpha/Beta > Beta/Theta > Alpha/Beta or Beta/Theta > Theta/Delta etc. )
This is effectively a musculature response to what can be loosely described as a 'wake up/shut down call' from your CNS upon changing between one
stage and another and is actually quite normal to for the Alpha/Beta > Beta/Theta stage's.
Many people simply don't remember them since they are, after all, in the process of going to sleep and literally dropping off.
If you experience them constantly its something of a pain but the alternative is worse.
After all, you don't want your body responding physically to the things you dream and the absence of this CNS shutdown call to your muscles is called
(Ta Daaaa!) sleep walking..
Somewhat amusingly the reverse is also true.
Waking up and not having your skeletal muscles turned on at the same time is 'sleep paralysis' and it's responsible for a lot of the 'molested by
The second reason on the other hand is somewhat more serious.
(Actually its a lot more serious and I'm not kidding).
It could very well be a physical panic response to 'sleep apnea'. (CNS type, not obstructive)
CNS type sleep apnea is when you effectively go to sleep and your nervous system forgets to breathe.
You technically suffocate yourself.
The 'jerk' you describe could be the result of your body panicking into waking you up since it's only way you will start to breathe again.
This, as you might imagine, is a BAD thing.
If something like this is happening and it starts to escalate over time, getting more and more prevalent, then you really want to talk to a GP or
sleep specialist about it.
If they have any sense they'll arrange a few nights in a EEG'd sleep lab for you and figure out whats going on.
Thats all from me.