If you have ever slept besides somebody, you have probably noticed that sometimes when they go to sleep, they start twitching and making weird movements in their sleep. You probably do this yourself, as it is known that 60-70% of people have these types of night twitches when they try to fall asleep at night.
If you have them, you probably have no idea either because people do not remember the fact that they have these types of twitches when they sleep because of the fact that they are indeed falling asleep.
You might have a similar reaction when you fall asleep and be able to notice it if you have a falling sensation as you doze off into your nightly slumber.
This phenomenon happens when people fall from consciousness into their subconsciousness, and it is called the hypnogogic state. If these sensations or twitches happen to you, don’t worry because they are completely normal and shouldn’t cause any cause for alarm.
Because of the fact that nobody can remember them because they happen when they sleep, it causes these jerks to be extremely difficult to study, but that doesn’t stop those sleep scientists from trying!
The twitches are formally referred to as a hypnogogic jerk.
The reason why this happens is because of two parts of your brain that are located right behind your eyes known as the reticular activating system, RAS, and the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus, VLPO. The RAS is responsible for making sure your wakeful state is operating right, and your VLPO is what manages your body when your are asleep.
When you are deep into sleep, you body stops producing serotonin, which helps you move your muscles. This is why we do not move when we are asleep.
There are many theories as to why the twitches happen though.
Many scientists believe that the twitches are simply the RAS hanging control over to the VLPO, which is similar to a factory staff switching off their workers for a night shift. Things may get a little different for a short while, but do their job once they are settled in.
Other scientists thing that the twitches come from misfiring of your muscles when your brain begins to dream in REM sleep.
Other scientists believe that the twitch was because of instincts from when our primate ancestors would have to be alert if they were about to fall out of a tree.
Though these jerks are natural, there can be some cause for alarm if they happen very frequently and violently. If this is the case, you should try reducing your caffeine intake and observing how that affects your overall health.
The things that happen when we are asleep are mysterious and interesting, and it is amazing to learn about how our body works when we are dormant.
If you want to find out more about these weird sleep patterns, check out the video below and let us know if you find yourself twitching in your sleep at all in the comments!