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Violent leg jerk, jolt on sleeping. MYOCLONIC, HYPNIC JERKS.

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I am 34 years old patientold, smoke, obese, and live a fairly sedentary life. Ever since I was in high school, I have always experienced myoclonic or hypnic jerks while falling asleep. In a class I would lay my head down and then I would jolt awake big time. I still do that today, awaken with a big jolt that seems kind of violent. Ever since I was 15 I have been on some psych medicines. So I am not sure if it is from some of the medicines I take or what. I now take abilify, Effexor xr, lamictal, and buspar. Back then it was different meds. Is what I experience when I am falling asleep normal? Sometimes the jolting awake can be somewhat of a violent nature, meaning it literally makes me rise off the bed some, that's what it seems. Its as if I jolted a little into the air some or something. Sometimes it can be a violent leg jerk or it can be my whole body that jolts. What is the cause of these jerks and is it serious to see a doctor about? Like I said, I have had them since I was a teen. Please help. I would like more insight on this. Thanks

Category: Neurologist, Medical

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Category: Pediatric Neurologist
 20 Doctors Online

Thank you for posting your query at
I have noted your symptoms and list of medications that you take.
Getting a few myoclonic jerks while falling asleep is fairly normal and many people get them. Some of them get violent jerks too.
So, there is no need to worry about them.
However, if there are violent jerks and there is a risk of getting injured, you may want to exclude myoclonic epilepsy. This can be done by getting an EEG (electroencephalography) done.
Best wishes,

Patient replied :

Can myoclonic epilepsy be seen in a sleep study? I am wondering about if anything would show up in the results from a sleep study. Is myoclonic epilepsy serious? Just about every night I would have some kind of jolting, sometimes its my leg, and sometimes it can be my whole body. Can too much caffeine and smoking cause hypic jerks.?

Myoclonic epilepsy would not get picked up in a sleep study, as detailed EEG is not done as part of sleep study.
Myoclonic epilepsy is not serious and it can be easily treated with medications.
Smoking and caffeine have no direct link with jerks.
Best wishes,
Dr. Sudhir Kumar MD (Medicine), DM (Neurology)
Senior Consultant Neurologist

Patient replied :

Can a muscle relaxer taken nightly help with how much I jolt at night while falling asleep? Just curious as if that would help the jolts from be too violent.

Thank you for getting back.
Muscle relaxer would not help, as the abnormality is not in the muscle. The cause of jerks and jolting starts in the brain.
Best wishes,
Dr. Sudhir Kumar MD (Medicine), DM (Neurology)
Senior Consultant Neurologist

Dr. Sudhir Kumar
Category: Pediatric Neurologist
Senior Residency, Fellowship: DM, Neurology, CMC, Vellore, 2001
Junior Residency: MD, Internal Medicine, CMC, Vellore, 1998
Medical School: MBBS, Christian Medical College, Vellore, 1995
Dr. Sudhir Kumar and 4 other Medical Specialists are ready to help you

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