That Strange Falling Sensation

Do you ever wake up suddenly to a falling sensation and a strong muscle twitch just after you have fallen asleep?

This strange falling sensation and muscle twitch is known as a hypnagogic myoclonic twitch or “Hypnic jerk” If this has happened to you on more than one occasion, don’t worry, you are not alone. Close to 70 percent of all people experience this phenomenon just after nodding off, according to a recent study at the Mayo Clinic.

Most experts agree that this is a natural part of the sleeping process, much like slower breathing and a reduced heartbeat. The occurance is well known and has been well documented. However, experts are still not completely sure why the body does this.


  1. this is really odd… something similar happened to me last night. sleeping on my side facing the neighboring row of houses, just dozed off… was seeing the neighboring row of houses almost immediately, shortly heard a growing whooshing sound like extremely bad weather, and the entire face of the opposing house blew out (solid) right towards me rather violently. woke up totally wired (and not sure if that had happened), and it was like 5 minutes past when I crashed (tv was on sleep, was on the same episode 5 minutes later)

    was completely freaky, never experienced that one before, way under the timeframe for REM sleep too.

  2. I have experienced practically every sleep disorder in the book, including this one, night terrors, and sleep paralysis. The latter two are extremely frightening, whereas the former is merely an annoyance. Just when you’re drifting off to sleep, WHAM, you’re shaken awake again by some spastic limb. For me, that’s usually preceded by the sensation that I have just tripped on something.

  3. I had a dream once where a tree fell on me. I woke up and realized there was something on my stomache and it was hard to breath. I quickly jumped up from my bed and realized the cat had been sleeping on my stomache lol. I catapulted her off the bed, now she just cuddles up to my feet when I’m sleeping (less accidents that way).

  4. Yeah, for me it’s like Kellie’s “tripping sensation”…kinda like my leg(s) just painlessly and without warning gave out, and my body is heading for the ground. I extend my leg(s) to keep from falling, and THAT is the only “real” thing that happens. I awaken out of my early doze stage with a straightened leg and a hope that I didn’t disturb my wife or my cat.

    My wife just gets annoyed, but my cat crawls on top of me and wants attention. Or is it the other way around?

  5. I’ve had that on multiple occations, always when I’m on my back just as I’m going to slep I feel like I’m falling along with my bed, once I realise I jerk out of it and it’s really quite annoying.

  6. I’ve experience that sleep paralysis thing off and on since childhood…very frightening, being wide awake and unable to move. Not so frequent these days, but the other night, I swore I was wide awake, listening to the radio, and I suddenly got the sensation that something very heavy landed on my head and upper body…I was PISSED! The feeling got worse when I tried to move, and I started vocalizing, my husband heard me and shook me. Even then, it took a while for the sensation to pass, and I shivered for about 30 minutes…I hate when that happens…

  7. Yeah, I don’t usually get the heavy feeling that normally goes with sleep paralysis, but I do hallucinate, and it’s never pretty. The worst case was when I envisioned a snarling monster pitt bull next to my bed, yet was unable to move to escape it or defend myself. I still remember that…

  8. I often have this ‘body jerk’ well after falling asleep. It typically wakes me from a dream in which I experience a fall of some sort. I almost caused an accident from the back seat of a car one day as I was sleeping and the highway got a little swoopy at the same time I was running in my dream. If not for the seat belt I probably would’ve leapt into the front seat.

    The driver’s shriek was priceless, although we coul’ve done without her cutting off somebody in the next lane…

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