Twitching as you are falling asleep is also known as sleep starts or hypnagogic jerks. Aptly named as hypnagogic state is the level you go to just between wakefulness and sleep.
Sleep starts can be triggered by external stimuli as someone is drifting off / asleep such as; sounds, light or movement. However they are also linked to other factors such as;
The exact reason is unknown however scientist theorise that it is due to nerves “misfiring” as you are falling asleep resulting in a jerking of a limb.
Another theory reasons that it is an evolutionary throwback to our primate ancestors. The body misinterprets relaxation and jerks reflexively to stop ourselves falling out of trees. Luckily we no longer sleep in trees (well… most of us don’t).
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