Have you ever experienced a night start? A night start happens right before you’re dropping off into sleep.   

People who have night starts have the feeling they’re falling and then wake suddenly; jerking – or, starting – out of sleep. Individuals who suffer this problem also experience muscle contractions – called myoclonic twitch – which pull you off the brink of sleep. This event is called hypnagogic jerks.

Doctors have yet to discover a clear cause for the occurrence of night starts but know they rarely occur once a person is fully asleep. Night starts are common but can be disturbing to the individual who’s going through them. It is a condition, though that generally requires no treatment. If the night starts are severe they can bring distress to the person suffering them as they know they’ll have to go through them before they can drift off to sleep.  

There are other conditions that mirror night starts such as: periodic limb movement, restless legs syndrome or nocturnal leg cramps. These conditions may require evaluation and treatment.

The effects of night starts are felt most often by individuals who have irregular sleep schedules (such as shift workers) or people who have been deprived of sleep for close to 24 hours. Individuals who are also trying to fight sleep deal with the night starts.

Because night starts are considered to be a short-term issue and because they don’t represent a serious medical problem they are not typically treated. As with any problem that disturbs your sleep for more than a day or two, you should talk with your physician or a sleep specialist.

 Since 2002, Valley Sleep Center, accredited by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, has provided Arizona with diagnostic sleep disorder testing in a home-like atmosphere, ensuring a comfortable, relaxing experience for patients.  Their Board Certified Sleep Medicine Specialists consist of experienced and knowledgeable physicians who provide expert advice across a multitude of sleep related disorders including insomnia, sleep apnea, snoring, excessive daytime sleepiness, hypertension, sleepwalking, and pediatric sleep problems. They accept most insurances as well as Medicare. For information call Lauri Leadley at 480-830-3900; https://valleysleepcenter.com