Waking up with a jerk, part II


Twitching!! My left eye is twitching because my husband twitches every night before completely sound asleep! I have been married 20 years and love my husband dearly, but I would love to know why. And can it be stopped? Please shed some light on this.

-- Carolyn Fisher, the net

If we shed enough light, maybe it'll be too bright for hubby to sleep. That'll fix him. The twitching is more of a problem for you than it is for him. It's pretty common. So common and so unserious that nobody, including our own Dr. Doctor, can offer much of an explanation. So far the medical fraternity has only managed to name it. Hypnic jerk. Not a punk band, a medical condition. And a fine insult to hurl at your spouse the next time he twitches you awake. It's probably related to the other physiological changes that our bodies go through as we enter sleep. For the most part, everything slows down and relaxes, including muscles and brain waves. In that fuzzy time between wakefulness and full sleep, people can experience bursts of electrical brain activity (shown on EEG tests) that coincide with these muscle twitches. In some cases, the twitches can go on for an hour or more and occur at very precise intervals. Most of the time, though, it's shorter and more random. Often unnoticed by the sleeper, but annoying to the co-sleeper. Since no cause is known, no real fix is known either. Drag the jerker to a real doctor? Wait another 20 years until somebody comes up with something? Sleep on the couch?

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