why do you twitch before you fall asleep

As we give up our bodies to sleep, sudden twitches escape our brains, causing our arms and legs to jerk. Some people are startled by them, others are embarrassed. Me, I am fascinated by these twitches, known as. Nobody knows for sure what causes them, but to me they represent the side effects of a hidden battle for control in the brain that happens each night on the cusp between wakefulness and dreams. Normally we are paralysed while we sleep. Even during the most vivid dreams our muscles stay relaxed and still, showing little sign of our internal excitement. Events in the outside world usually get ignored: not that I d recommend doing this but experiments have shown that even if you sleep with your eyes taped open and someone flashes a light at you it is. But the door between the dreamer and the outside world is not completely closed. Two kinds of movements escape the dreaming brain, and they each have a different story to tell. Brain battle The most common movements we make while asleep are rapid eye-movements. When we dream, our eyes move according to what we are dreaming about. If, for example, we dream we are watching a game of tennis our eyes will move from left to right with each volley. These movements generated in the dream world escape from normal sleep paralysis and leak into the real world. Seeing a sleeping persons' eyes move is the strongest sign that they are dreaming. Hypnic jerks aren't like this. They are most common in children, when
and they do not reflect what is happening in the dream world - if you dream of riding a bike you do not move your legs in circles. Instead, hypnic jerks seem to be a sign that the motor system can still exert some control over the body as sleep paralysis begins to take over. Rather than having a single sleep-wake switch in the brain for controlling our sleep (i. e. ON at night, OFF during the day), we have two opposing systems balanced against each other that go through a daily dance, where each has to.


Deep in the brain, below the cortex (the most evolved part of the human brain) lies one of them: a network of nerve cells called the reticular activating system. This is nestled among the parts of the brain that govern basic physiological processes, such as breathing. When the reticular activating system is in full force we feel alert and restless - that is, we are awake. Opposing this system is the ventrolateral preoptic nucleus: 'ventrolateral' means it is on the underside and towards the edge in the brain, 'preoptic' means it is just before the point where the nerves from the eyes cross. We call it the VLPO. The VLPO drives sleepiness, and its location near the optic nerve is presumably so that it can collect information about the beginning and end of daylight hours, and so influence our sleep cycles. As the mind gives in to its normal task of interpreting the external world, and starts to generate its own entertainment, the struggle between the reticular activating system and VLPO tilts in favour of the latter. Sleep paralysis sets in. What happens next is not fully clear, but it seems that part of the story is that the struggle for control of the motor system is not quite over yet. Few battles are won completely in a single moment. As sleep paralysis sets in remaining daytime energy kindles and bursts out in seemingly random movements. In other words, hypnic jerks are the last gasps of normal daytime motor control. Some people report that hypnic jerks happen as they dream they are falling or tripping up. This is an example of the rare phenomenon known as, where something external, such as an alarm clock, is built into your dreams. When this does happen, it illustrates our mind's amazing capacity to generate plausible stories. In dreams, the planning and foresight areas of the brain are suppressed, allowing the mind to react creatively to wherever it wanders - much like a responds to fellow musicians to inspire what they play.


As hypnic jerks escape during the struggle between wake and sleep, the mind is undergoing its own transition. In the waking world we must make sense of external events. In dreams the mind tries to make sense of its own activity, resulting in dreams. Whilst a veil is drawn over most of the external world as we fall asleep, hypnic jerks are obviously close enough to home - being movements of our own bodies - to attract the attention of sleeping consciousness. Along with the hallucinated night-time world they get incorporated into our dreams. So there is a pleasing symmetry between the two kinds of movements we make when asleep. Rapid eye movements are the traces of dreams that can be seen in the waking world. Hypnic jerks seem to be the traces of waking life that intrude on the dream world. If you would like to comment on this video or anything else you have seen on Future, head over to our or message us on. You will need: 1 onion, 1 red pepper, 1 stick of celery, 1 cup of mushrooms, 4 to 6 eggs, 1 habanero chilli (optional), 1 tablespoon of oil, 25g of grated low-fat cheese, 150 ml of skimmed milk, 50g of turkey breast. Add some spinach for an extra boost. 1) Cook your turkey breast so that its ready to add to the mix later on. Best to grill it and then chop it up as its healthier than shallow frying. 2) Meanwhile, heat the oil and add your onion, pepper, chilli, mushrooms and celery to your pan. Cook these for around five minutes until your veg is nice and soft. 3) Whisk your eggs and milk together in a separate bowl, seasoning with salt and pepper. 4) Add the egg mixture, veg, cooked turkey and cheese to a high-sided baking pan or tin and cook in your oven for around 15 minutes at 170C. Be careful when you buy your porridge, as some brands will cram a lot of sugar in there.


Porridge is a good breakfast option as it is renowned for releasing energy slowly, which means you can get to lunch without suffering from a lull. A great source of fibre, potassium and vitamins, bananas are always a good accompaniment to your morning oats. Ingredients: 2 full eggs, 3 egg whites, asparagus, peppers, 50g of smoked salmon 1) Boil your asparagus in water for around five minutes. 2) Meanwhile, mix your eggs and egg whites in a jug, and add a splash of skimmed milk. Chop some peppers up and throw them in too. 3) Once your asparagus is cooked, drain it and chop into smaller chunks. Add these to your egg mixture. 4) Whisk your mixture and season with salt and pepper. 5) Pour the mix into a hot pan with a small knob of butter or a teaspoon of quality olive oil. 6) Cook the omelette for around 90 seconds to two minutes. 7) Once the bottom is cooked, take the pan off the hob and place under the grill for another 30 seconds to a minute in order to cook the top. 8) Serve with your smoked salmon. Greek yoghurt has vast nutritional benefits. Regardless of where you stand on the superfood debate, Greek yoghurts credentials speak for themselves. A good source of potassium, protein, calcium and essential vitamins, this food forms an ideal base for a healthy breakfast, especially if youre trying to lose weight. Eggs Florentine is not only a tasty breakfast, it also carries a hefty nutritional punch, particularly when you throw some spinach into the equation. So fast and easy to make, yet so effective. Wholemeal toast can be a good breakfast choice, as long as you are sensible with your toppings. Peanut butter is perfect. A good source of healthy fats, as well as protein and Vitamin E among other nutrients, a liberal spreading of peanut butter can set you up for the day.

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