Good Housekeeping South Africa

WEIRD BODY SCIENCE

JUST AS I’M FALLING ASLEEP, MY WHOLE BODY JERKS AND JOLTS ME AWAKE.

That’s a hypnic jerk, and about 70% of people have experienced these sudden muscle contractions, according to the US National Sleep Foundation. As the brain eases into dream, or REM, sleep, it sends a signal down the spine to immobilise voluntary muscles so you won’t act out your dreams. Normally that’s slow and subtle, but when you’re sleep-deprived it’s a faster and less smooth transition, explains neurologist and sleep specialist Dr W Christopher Winter. So if you have a falling or stumbling dream, in a sense it gets acted out with a jerk.

While they may be alarming, don’t fret – hypnic jerks aren’t dangerous. But take

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