Non-stop hypnic jerks/startle/twitching as falling asleep—-doesn’t stop all night! :(

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hello, ive posted on here about my relentless insomnia which has cause major sleep deprivation for over 5 months. i sleep an average of 2 fragmented hrs a night in separate blocks and i dream a lot. some nights i sleep zero. as of a couple weeks ago i have had non-stop startle/jerking just as im drifting off to a deeper stage sleep...my body really wants to sleep but it seems my mind keeps telling it to stay awake. sort of like its in danger if it feels it might actually fall asleep. i know this all started with anxiety, but now i dot feel so anxious, i am more accepting of my severely fragmented/non restful sleep...but it doesnt matter cause my mind keeps jerking me awake every few minutes all night . i know hypnic jerks are common and usually happen once a night ( i use to get them only once and then be able to know out immediately after, so theyre not scary)...but this is happening repeatedly dozens of times and every couple minutes. this doesnt seem normal at all, and it often keeps me up all night . neurologist just said "theyre normal jerks that make you feel like youre falling so your mind wakes you up"...okkkaayayy, but one after another after another for hours?! she didnt seem to believe me, either that or she had never heard of someone having more than a couple at a time.

anyone every felt this or know how to overcome this...will it ever go away?! im so scared. i hope i dont develop seizures or maybe have some other degenerative disease and this is a type of myoclonus

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    I also got them when i had covid, i was extremely stressed and in anxiety. Just before I fall asleep I startle and wake up, it's been happening for about 4 weeks now. Has anyone had any luck in treating them or have they disappeared? Dr has put me on mirtazapine so that i can get some sleep.

    Thanks

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  • Edited

    My hypnic jerks started almost 2 months ago (coincidentally I tried to unsuccessfully cure my insomnia with Trazodone for a couple of nights) and before that I've been having 'brain zaps' for about 4 months. Brain zaps would happen multiple times every night (usually in the second half of the night) at sleep onset right on dozing off so do the jerks (some resources say they're both considered hypnic jerks), however they tend to happen in both first and second half of the night. The jerks usually affect many body parts and even my face and jaw (depending on the position). I also feel a sudden burning sensation in my stomach almost each time I experience the jerks, and every sound (even a quiet one) can make me startle when I'm in bed. I'm an hypochondriac so my doctor prescribed Prozac and I'm 3 weeks in on it but it has no effect so far. I follow all sleep hygiene rules.

    I think I can say that I was stressed when all of that started. A 48h EEG didn't show any abnormal activity same as my blood work results.

    My left foot started to twitch even in the day time but maybe it's not related (might be caused by extensive walking as I try to walk at least 10k steps/day).

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    • Edited

      Sounds like my story almost exactly. I had a lot of anxiety in August because of tinnitus and hearing loss and couldn’t sleep so took Klonopin for 3-4 weeks and when I tried to come off got severe insomnia for 3 weeks. I also have health anxiety. I was sleeping ok for about a month then dad and mom got covid and dad almost did not survive. For the past 2 months when I try to nap especially, and often trying to sleep at night I get strong body jerks, twitches, zaps and what feels like a surge of anxiety. Primary said anxiety but very scary. My foot also started twitching a bit during the day .

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    • Posted

      Hey, I have similar problem as yours. Before I had cooling sensation in my body - waiting for a scan. And since today I can't sleep. Had these "shocks" one after another one, then my anxiety starting to work and I'm afraid to get some sleep. I don't really know what to do... to scared..

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  • Posted

    Hi I too have been suffering from this for months I would be awake for hours at a time the jerks were getting so strong and very upsetting it go on for hours and I was exhausted during the day I felt very anxious and depressed I tried everything I even took sleep pills for first time my life I decided not a route I wanted to go down so I took maybe just 3 or 4 anyways I hated the way I felt so I decided I need help I found this guy lovely man named mark who is an emotional intelligence coach I started end November I am now in my fourth session and have come along way I am alot calmer my jerks got to point were nearly noticable but I felt I was stuck and not moving forward so my coach came up with few solutions firstly he pointed out to move forward I need to be ok with not being ok and not care about jerks he said laugh at them mimicking them while in bed so I did I went to bed with attitude I dont care if i sleep not bothered attitude and mimicked jerk was weird the didn't bother me i even shouted out no instead of jerking i had very peaceful sleep i was asleep in under hour first time in months I've turned a corner I've decided to not let it bother me because as mark send if u spend your energy thinking I hope I dont jerk tonight your are allowing the thought in so I have decided no also I am taking mellissa dream excellent reduced jerks severity and I've completely cut out chocolate and caffeine apparently chocolate cause insomnia effects muscle and nerves as I was eating more than I should since pandemic I feel may have contributed but overall my mental wellbeing improved since I have some mind coaching took few sessions but I'm determined never to go to that point I've more energy and focus now I hope my experience helps someone else

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    • Posted

      Hi, I have been suffering with this a few months. Within a minute or 2 after closing my eyes to nap during the day or sleep at night I get weird sensations and body zaps and jolts and sometimes it causes an arm, leg, finger or head to move. My GP and a neurologist said it is probably anxiety. I was under great stress when it all started. Can you tell me your exact symptoms? Thank you.

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    • Posted

      Hi yes like that mine came from now here up until August last year I was fine then i started having trouble falling asleep I'd be awake for hours it started mild like a nudge or sensation and I would wake up just as I was drift to sleep as I got more sleep deprivation it began get worse I would be shaking my arms my torso would lift up it was very frightening I went to my GP but wasn't helpful he gave me 5 sleep pills and sent me on my way said I want get anymore as he said they were addictive and maybe I should speak to someone I was desperate I couldn't sleep for hours I would be awake every few minutes it got to point I dreaded going bed I didnt want go I couldn't take it anymore I was so tired depressed on edge anxious it was horrible I take valarian root which is excellent and I then went online and I am now doing a program it's a simple process

      I'm two months in now while I'm not there yet I'm at different stage I'm happier I am not anxious or on edge during day I've load energy and can think clearly at night I am now ok I get 1 very light nudge and I refocus and that's it I don't get the jerking now I am more relaxed while it takes me awhile get sleep takes 1 hr sometime more depending on how anxious I am

      I am more relaxed now and do fall asleep I have a better kind of sleep my program I'm on has slightly changed its alot better I've a good way go but I can tell you I went from jerking violently my whole body would lift up it was like a fit for hours every few minutes to next nothing some nights I dont get any nudge but it's just one and light doesnt bother me I'm now at stage were I'm focus on length time I take to get sleep and making good progress but tbh I could not love forward until I excepted I was one causing issue me I was thinking all time about it even when I didnt think I was it was there in back my head I beg please hope dont jerk tonight and I would but I am in a different mindset now I will say to you for me I know bow my anxiety was the issue while I do get days were I be anxious I'd be awake for few hours I dont jerk I get fed up yes but no jerking I haven't had jerking for about 5 or 6 weeks now I hope you find something that helps your anxiety for me I take valarian root and I also do mindfulness therapy

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    • Posted

      also just let you know there is a program on Netflix called headspace its usually a fee for it but it's free it's very similar to the program my coach is some of it the breathing is very useful maybe have look and see if this helps

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    • Posted

      Thanks for the reply. I cannot believe how long it can last. It is almost 3 months for me. Some nights I do not feel it now but if I try to nap during the day or if I am dozing when watching television I always get body jolts sometimes with movement especially my feet or legs. Sometimes I get a zap in legs and feels like it sends a shiver up my spine. Most posts I have read say it's anxiety and I was very anxious but not that bad now. I guess it can take a long time for your body to get back to normal.

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    • Posted

      Yes it can take time for me it was a process i stared off being okay with not being okay i said this to myself and began to feel like okay its not a battle i began to stop fighting myself then i started to concentrated on calming my mind teaching my mind a new way to cope with stressful situations my friends started noticing how calm i was and then i focused on the jerking i sat in bed and allowed it to happen and became comfortable with the jerking i know this is not easy believe me i was there the jerks i had were violent and would upset me but the more they bothered me the more they became stronger of course i didn't realise this at the time so after jerking i would refocus my mind and concentrate on calm techniques i'm dong showing my mind its okay and to relax so i found the jerking went away to practically not noticeable now it not there but i found that i still was lying there for hr to hr and half awake not sleeping because i wasn't relaxed and calm so i stuck with it and every night i do the same thing and last night i went to bed now its been 6 months since i have actually been tired enough to sleep i would be wide awake i mean i felt exhausted but as soon as i went bed bing i would be wide awake i would eventually fall asleep my sleep pattern is near back to normal now i went bed last night and was asleep within 15 min i didn't jerk but even if i did i now only get slight nudge barely noticeable and i don't let it bother me for me the only thing that really fixed my issue was to calm the mind teach it how stay calm and relaxed i am not there yet the program i am on has helped me get to this point i am back in routine but this is a process so of course i will have sleepless nights that's normal but i want to get to a point were i can fall back into my sleep pattern my coach is so good he had helped me so much he said that this is were we are now so i am focusing on developing a schedule sort of that allows me to slow my thoughts down and sleep at night so far am hopeful it stays that way I genuinely hope you find something that helps you don't loose hope you will get there

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    • Posted

      Thank you for taking the time to respond. How many months did you experience the jolts? Did it happen if you tried to nap during the day? Did you have any other symptoms besides the jerks?

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    • Posted

      That's no problem any time I would go asleep day or night as soon as I drift off I'd just be about go into a sleep and I would jerk or have zaps in head any other symptoms would be as result of tiredness however i didn't know this then i started jerks in sept to November into early December was my worst they were very bad 5 hrs maybe more before they would settle at night i was exhausted I felt ill from no sleep and December this was the turning it's only been a few weeks for me without and very recently back into a sleep routine my anxiety was the cause of jerking and also my insomnia from end December they started to become less severe but they improved the most when I acknowledging them being comfortable with them that was hard because they do startle you but they did improve slowly now they are non existent

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    • Posted

      I have been having the same thing happen to me. I not only have the jerks but i also get brain zaps or zings. I have been experiencing this since late April of last year. My symptoms are no where near as bad as they were when it first started however it's still happening. I felt like my heart was shaking, my brain was shaking, my whole body would tremble because i was not sleeping. It was bad, At one point i was convinced there was something seriously wrong with me. I went to my GP and he told me it was anxiety related but did send me for some tests. I have had 2 MRI's, a EKG, a EEG, stress test, 24 hour heart monitor, blood work. Everything was normal. I would like to ask if it's not too much the name of the coach your speaking to or at least how to find someone like that to try and help me. I worry this will never end.

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    • Posted

      Hi yea I was the same I actually convinced myself I was seriously I'll so when the doctor suggested I was suffering anxiety I refused to accept it but I was in a desperate state I was so tired so I came across a guy called Mark Walsh imind coach.ie look up his website he is a very experienced mind coach this therapy isnt a counselling he looks for solutions to the problem so he wont focus on the issue I'm now finished my therapy I have no jerks and sleep normal he will his therapy basically teaches the brain to think in a more positive way since I've finished I've started walking I've loads of energy and am back eating healthy I've a new mindset before I used to obsessive over the jerks sleeping and how long takes sleep it took over my life I started to say to myself when I was in therapy I'm not okay today but I'm okay with that and it made me less anxious I stopped fighting myself it was a long process I personally am glad I done the therapy I didnt want see psychologist because I know I caused the issue and unless I changed my mindset I would never be free so now I'm at point I just go asleep as normal dint even think about it but to get to that point I had to be okay with the jerks it wasn't easy i would just shrug it off as if was nothing when it happened then they began to become less and now they are gone mark is a highly experienced mind coach but I will stress if you decide to do it its important u follow his instructions to a T they wont make sense the first two sessions but after that you will begin to understand it he has a structure and slowly introducing different stages i cant say if it will work but it did help me in all areas of my life also check out headspace on Netflix it's free and its amazing it will help you relax and really helps hope this helps

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