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Why do they spasm when sleeping

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Spasms when sleeping happen to many people just when they fall asleep or when they are in those moments before they do so. In general, these spasms, which occur involuntarily, are jerks in the legs or arms that occur in about 70% of the population at some point or another in their life.

Considering the number of people affected by muscle spasms, it seems incomprehensible that there is so little knowledge about this fact. In the following FastlyHealarticle, we will talk about this phenomenon, answering questions such as why I get spasms when I sleep, what cramps are, if they should be treated, or if they are dangerous to our health.

Read on and discover everything that is hidden behind this curious condition.

What are involuntary muscle spasms?

What we popularly know as sleep spasms are called myoclonic jerkshypnic jerks, or sleep myoclonus. These movements occur involuntarily, very fast, abrupt, and do not last over time, usually during hypnagogia.

For the uninformed, hypnagogia is that phase in which our body is entering sleep but is not yet asleep. That blurred area between sleep and wakefulness. This is something ubiquitous. In fact, at some point or another in our lives, with more or less recurrence, sleep spasms occur in about 70% of the population.

But what is behind these jerks? What causes spasms before sleeping? And, above all, are they dangerous? In the following sections, we are going to talk about them.

Why do they spasm before going to sleep?

Even though it is something ubiquitous and is a normal condition, a consensus has not yet been reached on what causes or why they occur in the scientific world. However, there are several widely accepted theories, either alone or in combination, that can give us a reasonably accurate answer about the origin of sleep spasms :

  • It is nothing more than the reaction of our motor system to the changes that occur in our bodies when we fall asleep. Our body begins to depress our vital signs: breathing, heart, etc. That is why the brain sends the movement signal to ensure that it is only sleeping and we are not in danger.
  • Sometimes this jerky movement can be a simple reaction to a dream in which we dream that we are falling. The brain, which interprets this fall, signals the muscles to react.
  • Another theory, which can be supplemented by the previous two, advocates that sleep spasms are reminiscent of our ape past. This theory says that when we slept in the treetops, our body was prepared to react with a twitch at the slightest chance of falling. This caused us to wake up, reposition ourselves, and avoid falling from the tree.

Are involuntary muscle spasms dangerous?

Although there is some controversy about the origin of these spasms, what is apparent within the scientific community is that this condition is benign. That is, spasms when sleeping is not dangerous.

Another known thing is that this disorder tends to occur with greater intensity and more repeatedly when the person is going through an episode of stress, suffers from anxiety, or is tired. Therefore, if the person is emotionally upset, they may believe that these shocks respond to some disease such as epilepsy.

It must be said that there may be neurological disorders that cause muscle spasms. However, today it is straightforward to distinguish any disease from cramps when sleeping, so you can clarify what is behind the jerks with a visit to the doctor.

Another aspect to take into account is that, depending on the intensity and recurrence of the spasms, especially during an episode of high stress, the person may find it very difficult to fall asleep, causing fear and not being able to rest appropriately. It may be necessary to follow a medical treatment to reduce your symptoms in these cases. You take antiepileptic drugs and Piracetam.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why do they give spasms when sleeping, we recommend that you enter our Well-being category.

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