Why Your Body Gets Startled as You Fall Asleep

Mary Peffer

Have you ever been falling asleep and your body shakes so hard you feel like you may fall off the bed? You’re not alone, says The Cut and Dr. Carl Bazil, director of the Sleep Disorders Center at New York–Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center. It happens to most people; we just don’t usually know why or what it is. 

The surprising and sometimes scary experience is aptly called sleep start and causes no direct harm to the body. However, if you don’t love the feeling of being startled when you drift off at night (who would?) it’s good to know that there are steps you can take to avoid it. Prescription timulants are noted but, “the most common culprit by far would be caffeine,” says Dr. Bazil. 

Here’s our list of other common things to blame for unwelcome change in sleep patterns. But we always recommend seeing a doctor whenever there is a regular imbalance taking place that impacts your lifestyle. For less serious trouble drifting off, remember to turn off your phone, computer, and television a short while prior to turning in. We also like to spritz a little of This Works Sleep Plus Pillow Spray ($46) onto your linens. Calming the senses before bedtime will make letting go of the day that much easier. 

Have you experienced sleep start? Let us know what works for you in the comments! 

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