What Does It Mean When You Jump In Your Sleep?

What Does It Mean When You Jump In Your Sleep

Many people suffer from bedtime tumbling sensations described as ‘jumping in your sleep’ that meddle with a good night’s rest. Many sleep disorders affect people and interfere with their rest. For instance, children have night terrors. 50 to 70 million people are affected by different types of sleep disorders today.

Sleep disorders may include sleep apnea, restless legs syndrome, and exploding head syndrome. But what does it mean when you jump in your sleep? It doesn’t mean you have a sleep disorder since it’s not a disease. This sensation of jumping in your sleep is familiar; some experts suggest 70% of people experience it. But these sleep starts can ruin your bedtime and irritate you when they become familiar. So, what makes you twitch and tremble in your sleep? Read this blog now to learn how to overcome it.

Why do you twitch in your sleep?

Everyone has experienced the feeling of dreaming about flying and then suddenly falling. However, the moment you’re about to crash, you wake up and find your heart racing and your body sweating. So, what does it mean when you jump in your sleep like that? This condition can also be described as jolting yourself awake, your heart jumping, or falling into the void. It happens when your nerves misfire and your muscles contract, disrupting sleep. Experts also name this issue:

  • Night/Sleep jerk/start
  • Hypnagogic jerk
  • Myoclonic jerk
  • Hypnic jerk

What are some symptoms of sleep starts?

While learning about hypnic jerks, it’s essential to know their symptoms. Some people may confuse this normal nocturnal behavior with a severe medical condition, e.g., restless legs. Here are some telltale symptoms that you are suffering from the sensation of falling in your sleep:

  • Dreaming about falling or hallucinating
  • Your heart rate increases suddenly
  • A jerking or jolting sensation
  • Feeling startled or shocked
  • Breathing rapidly
  • A tingly feeling
  • Sensory flash
  • Sweating

What does it mean when you jump in your sleep?

What happens in your head that jolts you awake like that? There’s no single explanation that makes complete sense. Instead, scientists have come up with three distinct explanations. They all say:

  • A popular explanation states that your brain thinks you’re falling, so it will attempt to protect you from hurting yourself by twitching your muscles. Your nerves misfire and jolt you awake so you may catch yourself in time. But this explanation isn’t agreed upon among experts.
  • What does it mean when you jump in your sleep from an evolutionary perspective? It states that when our ancestors used to sleep on tree branches millions of years ago, a hypnic jerk was an involuntary reflex that saved them from falling into a predator’s mouth.
  • Your body temperature drops while you sleep, so your nerves accidentally misfire.

How to avoid jumping in your sleep?

There are many different ways you can avoid jumping in your sleep. As stated before, hypnic jerks in adults are caused by different reasons, such as caffeine consumption and nocturnal exercise. But, on the other hand, some adults experience sleep starts without indulging in these activities. However, a person can avoid twitching in their sleep by doing the following things when they are sleeping:

  • Avoid drinking stimulants such as caffeinated or alcoholic beverages eight hours before your bedtime.
  • Make your bedroom comfortable to induce a good night’s rest, e.g., keeping it dark and quiet.
  • Some medicines can have side effects, such as hypnic jerks, e.g., antidepressants.
  • If you have anxiety, visit a doctor to address these problems.
  • Don’t exercise after 8 o’clock to relax your muscles before bedtime.
  • Include more calcium and magnesium in your diet.
  • Drink plenty of water to keep yourself relaxed.
  • Calm yourself before you go to sleep.


Is having hypnic jerks the same as nocturnal seizures?

Nocturnal seizures have different symptoms, such as wetting the bed, falling out of it, bruising yourself, and other signs. Simply jumping in your sleep doesn’t indicate a seizure.

Must you see a doctor if you jump in your sleep?

Jumping in your sleep or hypnic jerks are common, and you don’t generally have to see a doctor.

Can I stop myself from jumping in my sleep?

Yes, it’s caused by different reasons, such as exercising late at night or drinking coffee before bedtime. A person can overcome hypnic jerks by avoiding these habits.

Are hypnic jerks common in people?

Yes, they happen more often with children. However, as children grow up, hypnic jerks get less common with time.


Jumping or twitching in your sleep is common, and many people experience it. It’s not a sleep disorder, and you don’t have to see a doctor unless it’s a symptom of sleep apnea. So, what does it mean when you jump in your sleep? It may occur when your nerves suddenly misfire and jolt you awake because your brain thinks you’re falling. Avoid it by giving up on coffee/alcohol, exercising early in the morning, and sleeping comfortably. Moreover, if you have anxiety, address it to get yourself a good night’s rest. Contact a doctor if your hypnic jerks become a lot more troublesome.


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