A hypnic jerk is someone you wouldn’t want to share a cab with, right? Actually, it is a feeling that many of us experience nightly.
In “Inception” the dream travelers move from dream to dream via a “kick,” which is like a hypnic jerk. Sleep starts, night starts, or hypnagogic jerks are also names for the feeling of an involuntary myoclonic twitch that happens just as we’re beginning to fall asleep. Myoclonus is when our muscles move suddenly, without any rhythm or pattern. (Find out if the word “inception” actually has anything to do with dreaming, right here.)
Hypnnic jerks happen during hypnagogia, which is a state that occurs between sleep and being fully awake. Some of history’s great thinkers and writers, including Aristotle, and in more recent times, Edgar Allan Poe, have pondered hypnagogia.
Hypnagogic is related to drowsiness, which we often feel profoundly when we are on the brink of sleep. The word drowsy comes from the Old English drusan or drusian, which means “sink” and “to become low, slow, or inactive.”
Interested in more thoughts on sleep and dreams? Read our post in which we discuss oneiromancy, the practice of predicting the future through the interpretation of dreams.
Had any dreams with words in them recently? Those are called hypnagogic images. Share them, and perhaps you can gain some insight from the collective wisdom of your fellow readers.
I had a dream last night that I was reading a monologue out loud, or a poem, and I said something about how “I was learning how our bodies worked with our souls as souveniers”. I woke up and wrote it down, but I wish I remembered the whole monologue. Any thoughts?
so, this means i’m a hypnic jerk… now, i know the term. thanks! =)
So the word for that situation is dream?
Fascinating dream topic. I’ve written an article on dreamwork and dream interpretation which might shed some additional insights:
Maybe you’re daydreaming, or in a form of hypnosis. Like driving home from work when you’re not really paying attention to how you got home, but suddenly you’re home.
Driving home from work and suddenly you’re home is called ‘driving without due care and attention’
I wish that there is a way that I could go back and review your past “HOT WORD” from a few days back as I never got the chance to do so and I find it very useful, entertaining and informative.
Christy, at the top of the page there is a word called ‘previous’. You put the cursor on it and left click and you will find yourself on whatever page you want. A bit like being in a dream.
[...] “HYPNIC JERK” seems to take no work or effort in the dreaming — Ask anyone with Tourette Syndrome where [...]
Well, oineromancy as all the occult is dangerous. Want any guests in your body and mind? Do it. But devils are not very good guests, because they tend not to leave, but live when they get open doors.
WOW im a jerk and a hypnic one
I recently had a dream in which a clear telepathic conversation took place that has not faded in my memory… a man over ten feet tall and glowing with ethereal light asked me without moving his mouth, “Are you aware that you have opened yourself so that I can hear all of your thoughts? Are you aware that I can hear your thoughts right now, even as we speak?”
I answered, also without opening my mouth, “I am aware that I have asked for this.”
Then he said, “I will proceed no further into your mind until you give me your conscious consent. My intention in entering your thoughts is to aid you in understanding them.”
I asked, “Do you love me? Can I trust you?”
“Alright. Then my answer is also yes, you have my permission to entire my mind as far as you’d like.”
The dream ended there. Since then my waking thoughts have taken on a new feeling… I no longer have the sense that I am digging through a dense jungle of distractions in my mind to come to understandings; calculation and deduction are no longer useful tools. Rather, thoughts arise which are anchored by deeply rooted intuition which knows what it knows without the need for logic and has not failed me once.
I just got a fly in my eye and when I took it out it was alive so I laid it on my desk and it just flew away
I wonder if that was mere hypnagogia?
I tried looking up hypnagogia on dictionary.com and it claimed no such word exists. Hmmm….
Sounds more like a lucky fly to me.
johanna, i’m afraid u may have opened urself to demonic possession. God made u to use your head and not act solely on some “deeply rooted intuition”. The only other means of direction God left 4 his children and his Holy spirit. The experience narrated by u has no resemblance with the workings of the Holy spirit as narrated in the book of Acts of the Apostles. Pls read through d book of Act & pls seek help
(SORRY I CORRECTED SOME ERRORS IN MY PREVIOUS COMMENT TO MAKE READABLE)
johanna, i’m afraid u may have opened urself to demonic possession. God made u to use your head and not act solely on some “deeply rooted intuition”. The only other means of direction God left 4 his children is Holy spirit. The experience narrated by u has no resemblance with the workings of the Holy spirit as narrated in the book of Acts of the Apostles. Pls read through d book of Act & pls seek help
Yinka, if that were to be the case, she would only be demonically possessed in her dream, which isn’t reality (I think?)…if it’s anything spiritually related, she was probably given a gift by God or something. I saw “Inception” and it was pretty interesting, I want to see it again…I’m in a philosophy class, so now the concepts of reality and dreams are even more fascinating.
Anna wrote: I had a dream last night that I was reading a monologue out loud, or a poem, and I said something about how “I was learning how our bodies worked with our souls as souvenirs”. I woke up and wrote it down, but I wish I remembered the whole monologue. Any thoughts?”
Anna, you are the ultimate judge of meaning in your dreams but try this on and see if it resonates with you. –Souvenirs are things we often collect when we are away from our home, on journeys of some kind. In this dream, the soul is recognizing it is journeying in a far land, and that the body is something it has ‘collected’ as a token of its stay here in a material body. You were reading a poem or monologue because it is the soul having a conversation with itself; there is not ‘another’ outside it to hold this conversation with, the soul encompasses the ALL so of course we talk to ourselves. It is also poetic in that the wisdom of all this is imaginative/intuitive/subjective, not something empirical that can be proven to another. So you were the soul conversing with itself as part of the ALL, recognizing its estrangement from its true Home, and seeing it as part of an ongoing process of learning and getting familiar with these ideas so foreign to us in waking life.–Hope that helps!
I love the information given here it is of much value.
To yinka and mercurio:
As beautiful and poetic as your interpreations of Anna’s and Joanna’s dreams are, I am rather esceptic of taking them as important or literal truths-specially in the case of the purpoted demonic possesio-. Recent scientific discoveries tell us that dreams are most likely an evolutionary tool we developed in order to cope with problems that require prolonged, deep, and undisrubed thought, in order to make sense of them. For example if you need to make a very important life decision, solve a very diffucult equation or figure out an ending for your short story, your mind will be working out a solution even while you sleep. Asides from this, dreams also seemed necessary for the solidificaiton of new memories. In other words if you don’t sleep well before an exam you probably won’t be as succesful
It’s how I feel reading this lousy blog. BORING! But the losers who comment are such a trainwreck I can’t quite look away.
I’m glad I saw this post, I’ve always wondered why sometimes as I drift into sleep I suddenly jerk out of it. I’ve been so emabarassed on several occassion in public, esp in class.
“Hypnagogic state”–good to know the word for this! A more beautiful-sounding word for this, though, in my opinion, comes from the South Sami language of Norway: “Adjagas”–between sleep and wakefulness.
This may or may not be true…but I have heard that hypnic jerks happen when your body is so relaxed, your brain is unsure whether or not you are dead, so it sends out an electrical impulse through your body to see if it gets a response. The jerk lets your brain know that you are still alive.
Yinka: so quick to call dream visitor a demon? Hmm. It’s how our human brains label images. One night I rubbed medicinal cream into aching wrists, feeling self-pity. Later I dreamed I was doing the same thing and a very tall feminine figure appeared wrapped in dazzling light and asked me “Are you having a problem?” Stunned I could only say “No, not really.” She said “Very well” and was gone…to the next person asking for relief of greater pain? Not a demon, but an angel…a spirit my human brain interpreted through visual labels derived from experience of art. Intense prayer in times of trouble brings dreams of comfort via familiar images. Truly, we are never alone. You, on the other hand, would burn me, along with Anna and Joanna, as a witch.
Interesting article. I find dreams and anything related to them to be a vast portal to a strange universe of which little is known. Honestly, I hate dreams. Their strange aura and the depressing, life-absorbing abilities are quite a turn-off. But I can’t live without them. I just hate how strange they are.
I like that I finally know the term for this. Hypnic jerk. My Dad is one. And I hate awaking in class suddenly to embarass myself
the worst part is where you kick the seat of the person in front of you!!
Well, I wouldn’t put too much stock in dreams, but for Johanna, I would say if it’s so concerned about consent, it’s probably not inimicable. Inimicable things would most likely barge right in, whether you want them to or not.
This all sounds so similar to an explanation of Alzheimers!
I need neither narrow-minded pseudo-gods nor sanctimonious twits telling me what to do with my dream conversations. The only true demons live in the minds of those numbed by falsehoods.
Remember, if you grab Freddy Krueger in your dreams and hold on to him whilst you awaken, you bring him into the waking world.
I always thought the feeling before falling into REM was called Sleep Paralysis where the persons entire body become paralyzed (this happens so when one IS dreaming, your sleeping body doesn’t move as drastically when you’re running or doing any intense activity in the dream). I know, however, some people don’t even get the opportunity to feel sleep paralysis because they have already passed the Hypnagogia stage, and by then you’re consciousness is far far away preparing for dream land… lol.
Anyways, if there isn’t an article about sleep paralysis, I recommend someone write one. This is the technique I use to become lucid in my dreams. Oneironaugts are very aware of sleep paralysis (most, like me, use this to become lucid in their dreams too).
I enjoyed this blog very much, I found it to be very informative and thought provoking.
Yep. That place just as soon as our present awareness, say a memory, or, the current state of satisfaction by an experience becomes dreaming. It’s so cool. That daytime being conscious but not really paying attention to anything is really cool. It feels like flying.
Hypnagogic state while entering sleep and hypnopompic state when emerging from it. In sleep studies, one does something such as holding an arm up, bent at the elbow. When it falls, it wakes the person. That way, one can learn to remain in the hypnagogic state, a place of visual weirdness.
How about ,what is lucid dreaming?
When I was young, despite living in Ohio were few storms materizlized, I had many dreams of tornado events, the only mild disruption in my happy 1950’s childhood. In one, I was running into an abandoned house as the funnel approached and although I tried to pull myself down the basement stairs, my feet started lifting up behind me and over my head. The funnel passed and I was safe, but a horrible feeling of near death and total panic stayed with me for decades whenever I thought of that dream.
Years later, when I saw the movie Twister, I cried in shock and
felt the same extreme fear and terror as the stars strapped themselves
to a well head and the were pulled upward by the direct hit of the
So how could a child experience exactly the feelings and have the
lasting terror of such a unique situation?
Your definition of hypnagogia: “a state that occurs between sleep and being fully awake” does not match the definition at the link you provide: “the drowsy period between wakefulness and sleep”.
The dictionary says it happens as we go to sleep, your casual description claims it happens as we wake up.
Sounds like your writer needs to wake up!
state in between sleep and wakefulness: reverie?
Johanna’s dream was great, and lucid.
You all should read “The Art of Dreaming” by Carlos Castaneda… A real practical guide to some real intense lucid dreaming exercises anyone can do. They take lots of practice and discipline, but they are real and you can experience them.
Hypnagogic jerk? Hypnic jerk? Hypnnic jerk? Which is it?
i think thats really cool, i have always had hipnagogia but i never knew what it was, and i always thought i was the only one with it…now i know im not an oddball!
i once had a dream and it was that i was declamming a poem and it was like this fame is compared with a river that borned in the up mighty hills as a little drop of water and grow as a mithty river when goes into the sea.and the name that i woke-up with in my lips was agfaganesh.i did not what it menas but i was very please and stiil iam when repeted. thanks
When falling asleep, I used to scratch my face or forehead since childhood, even blooding, so the next day I look as if beaten up. Whenever I go to sleep, I always remember to wrap my hands in the cover sheet or hide it under the pillow to make sure i won’t hurt myself. Despite all precautions, I am having a fresh scar right on my forehead, the latest scratch hurt me so bad that I woke and put some ointment on the wound. It’ll take days to heal. And as usual, people don’t believe my story. They say, oh, sure, we know what happened! But you believe me, don’t you?
You should make up the rest, or write a book about it. Or something:)
Whoever writes these articles is fantastic; I’d originally come here to look up a word, but (as the writers intended, I’m certain) I got sidetracked into reading an article about euphony, and how people could see tastes, hear colors, and taste sounds…I don’t actually remember how much I read (I think there was actually another article between reading that one and THIS one) but the prose was so well-written that I was engrossed in reading it…and even the subsequent comments! This last one, however, was so good I felt compelled to comment on it…
The actual COMMENT:
@Johanna: That could actually be the conflict or plot for a novel …It reminded me a little of Twilight, but I think, if you developed that idea a little more, you could actually have a hell of an a original story on your hands… In fact, I may have to usurp it myself… (just kidding!)
@Article Writer: I’ve always wondered what that state of consciousness was called…Thanks! lol
@Waldo Pepper: Wow…haha
@ Yinka. You are using complete and utter conjecture when saying such juvenile and imaginary things as, “I’m afraid you may have opened yourself to demonic possession.” Or “God made you to use your head and not act solely on some ‘deeply rooted intuition’”. Forcing your beliefs upon people and insinuating that they are “possessed” is pure ignorance and just rude by nature. I could sit here and explain to you the fact that your beliefs are nothing more than fairy-tales written by ingenious liars and con-men through out the last two millennia but that would merely be stooping to your level, so, have a nice day.
Ha ha! Lol. Go Bodi!
@Joanna, your dream sounds kind of like a love story, where your lover is asking for your acceptance, which you then give. (“Alright. Then my answer is also yes, you have my permission to entire my mind as far as you’d like.”) It’s like your mind is a metaphor (I think that’s the right word…) for your heart.
I find your dream really interesting. There’s loads of different ways to interpret what happened. I hope you found my interpretation useful
Johanna, are you aware that God has been described as being what you described the man in your dream to be?
I don’t think god had anything to do with things in people’s dreams. I think it’s just called a dream.
I had a dream last nite, which was put into two segments or chapters, since they do that sometimes, you know. Anyway, in the first chapter, I opened the newspaper and on the front page there was a clear glass jar, with a heart inside. <3 that heart not the one in a humans body. Creepy!
In the 2nd chapter, I was in a tree so high that you could see the whole world, and I spat downwards while at the top, and called down to a friend of mine and asked whether I hit her. Unfortunately, I missed. <3 As strange as they may be, can any one find a meaning behind them? Or explain why dreams are sometimes put into chapters/segments?
In your entry, “hypnagogia” is a word, yet when I want to add it to my favourites list it’s not, apparently. What’s up with that?
I always dream, I have recently had sevreal visions, My sister is a minister. She tells me that I am speaking in tongues. This is not uncommn. I do have a family history of unusual happeings.
Even I am a hypnic jerk!
Well, this is one term I won’t be using to describe myself… even if it is true
I think dreams are one of, if not the, most interesting things about human minds. They have surprisingly large amounts of depth and detail, and often a plot better than some books I have read. I once dreamed that I was smoking a cigarette, something which I have never done. It was so realistic, that, I still have never even tried smoking, due to not liking it in the dream. I don’t understand how the mind can invent the feelings and senses in a dream with such ease, when consciously it is a lot harder to imagine things.
I had a dream that everyone I knew was killed my a serial killer. They were invited to a party – and then I watched the room fill up with cyanide gass….I watched there faces as they died, and I couldn’t do anything. Then, it changed and I was on top of the vatican dome and all the people you see randomly anywhere were right behind me. A preist was next to me. Then, the preist looked at me and nodded and I was trying to stop him, but he just started walking towards the edge. The 4th psalm flashed through my mind and then everyone else started walking towards the edge…and then I woke up. But What does it mean!?!?!?!??!
I find it disheartening that most of the people commenting on Dictionary.com’s HotWord blogs are ignoramuses.
I sometimes dream that I trip and am going to bash into the ground or that I walk into a door and I will actually jerk or put my arms out to stop myself and end up waking myself up.
It’s actually kind of scary to dream of tripping and falling on grass then waking up lying down on grass after you’ve fallen asleep there.
It seems to me that in all of my dreams, I always end up killing some sort of authority figure. Is it just me, or does anyone else also have dreams like this. Also, I find that I also get brutally murdered in other’s dreams. Is it just me, Or does someone really not like me…?
I Be leave in this stuff to bcuz sometime i go t sleep and im floating above my body watching my self sleep while i was floating on the ceiling! Its true and weird. And those leg jerks r realy scary:l & u other people r some real azes 4 leaving wat u did!
Pure NARCOLEPSY!!! You dream goats. That is what you are blogging about in your tripe. From what you’ve blogged above:
All I see is confusion;
in the midst of delusion,
mundane and nothing more.
Read the “Raven” and let EAP tittle your dreamy worlds.
The way you feel at work around mid-afternoon.
I read somewhere that dreams are random electrical signals going through your brain, and whenever they go through a connection between two brain cells, something related to that connection appears in your dream. For example, if an electrical signal goes through the connection that “bananas are yellow”, then a banana will appear in your dream. It would explain why dreams are so weird and why you dream about things that you think about a lot. I don’t know if this is true, does anyone have anything to say about this?
of course like your website however you have to take a look at the spelling on quite a few of your posts. Several of them are rife with spelling problems and I in finding it very bothersome to inform the reality on the other hand I’ll certainly come again again.
Sometimes I will fall asleep reading a book, and in my dream I’m still reading the same book, only my dreams warp the plot, so I have to reread where I stopped to figure out when exactly I fell asleep.
i had i dream i was falling and then i jerked as if i had fell it was pretty funny lol
This has actually happened to me many times. i’ll be just about to fall asleep then I’ll have a sudden feeling that I tripped and am falling, and I’ll jerk awake.
The state between awake and asleep sounds much like the daytime side of sleep apnea, in which an awake person loses consciousness for a split second, but immediately returns to an “adrenalinized” wakefulness.
Oftentimes I have dreams where I will be composing song lyrics, and as I am not a lyricist and don’t really have any inclination to be, these dreams are rather strange. In my dream I will fully believe myself to be awake, and I’ll think ‘I need to write this down so I do not forget, because this has happened before’. When I wake I am disappointed to find that in reality I had not been awake, and I can’t remember the lyrics for the life of me; though one time I could remember the gyst of what the song was about. Any thoughts? Or at least could somebody tell me that this is somewhat normal….?
And ‘JC Nipp’, you claim to be annoyed by posts and articles ‘rife with spelling errors’, yet your comment is an incredible example of gramatical errors and a lack of comma usage and capitalization; so much to the point that your comment is almost incomprehensible.
Lucid dreams are scary to me. Or maybe I’m not having a lucid dream. I know I’m dreaming, but I can’t move myself to wake up. Or maybe my home is haunted? Because there always feels like something or someone is present when it happens.
If lucid dreaming and hypnagogia interests y’all, look up the pineal gland, the third eye, and DMT: The Spirit Molecule. You will not regret it
This page is further proof that the mind is much more powerful than we give it credit for. Most people use 10% of the brain that is in fact consciously usable. We’ve often heard 10% of the entire brain; but we use much less than that. It is possible, via health choices, mental exercise and so forth, to widen our perception and capabilities. Neurological misfunction can trick us into thinking someone/something else is in our head. Science provides evidence that this is most often related to a change which our bodies does not expect; not something foreign actually being there. My advice is this: If you feel a sudden change that you don’t like, seek medical help, eat better, drink lots of water, exercise regularly (mentally and physically) and/or get plenty of sleep. If the change is desirable, do what you want. But gaining medical or spiritual advice from someone who is not qualified to give that advice is foolish. Trial and error is the most reliable basis for finding cure. Don’t listen to someone who has not had ample experience in dealing with such things. You may end up hurting yourself at their whim. Don’t.
I like dreams when I have them, and I wake up, laugh lightheartedly, and that’s it. Sometimes I have strange and funny dreams. I tell my friends, they tell me theirs, ha ha. But when I see dreams of other people’s on the computer, or am reading explanations of them, I get this eerie feeling….
I had a strange dream with the Cheshire cat from Alice’s Adventures In Wonderland saying hi, then the setting changed and I was flying over a forest and who should I meet but the Cheshire cat flying in an airplane next to me. Then at the end there was a diploma that sid “You are the official scholar of Anarctica” and I was thinking how stupid that was…and I look at the bottom and guess whose signature?
I used to have these jerks when I had Tourette’s but only when I was about to fall asleep and have been getting them again… I got rid of Tourette’s by not thinking about it but can it come back? I wander.
I just hate having bad dreams because dreams are like bad signs- and it’s very scary i like dreams good because it will continue the creation! Also that it will keep going.
Hello my name is danielle and I need help. For the lastfew years I have been incountering breif dreams when I didn’t realize I fell asleep. During these dreams I am. Trying to wake up scream something to try and wake myself up. Everytime I am scared because I hear noises, see black shadows, or hear evil voices but not making it clear what has been said. I am dreaming but in my dream I am in the same position I was when I wake up. When I think I am calling for help I haven’t even moved in reality.
Johanna, The only people who are possessed by demons are the people who go around telling people they are possessed. Dreams are beautiful and Godly. If it was a good thing for you that’s amazing! I would love to experience a dream like yours!
As for the people who are calling it possession. Perhaps you’re right. but if you’re not what an awful thing to be wrong about. If you’re wrong you’re spreading a terrible lie. That’s the thing about Christians, they go around shoving their crazy beliefs on people ignorantly, not knowing or caring if what they say is actually true like brain washed robots. How do you know it wasn’t a gift of the holy spirit? If anything it’s a gift. Go around cursing people, like the Salem witch trials, with darkness in you’re heart, if anyone has a demon its you. — Viorelas,, you’re comment: Extremely Creepy. Like I was all oh what a beautiful dream, then I read you’re comment, I was all woahh this person has some issues. make sure you shut all the doors to you’re mind so the demons don’t get you. wtf. Some people, I sweaaar.
I might find the cure for hypnic jerks. My theory is extreme fear therefore we have this for a long time. Another theory is being stuck in the first stage sleep and then swapping from stage 2 diverting back to 1. I don’t know but I have this problem ,and I got it after watching some demonic videos and then I went to sleep all scared for only this to began to occur. I been having this problem for the past 5 months now. I don’t know it was because of the supplementation or the fear…
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