Have you ever laid down after a long day, and suddenly as you’re dozing off you feel as if you’re falling and your body jerks? This is a benign sleep movement called a hypnic jerk. The causes of this movement are anxiety, stress, alcohol, caffeine, and being very tired or fatigued. (Green 2015) I feel that students may be the most susceptible to this condition. Even though they are said to be physically harmless. Every time I have experienced this I have been kept up for the rest of the night. A lack of sleep can result in many outcomes, especially in students’ academic performance. Lack of sleep has the potential to cause many things that can hurt ones grades. I don’t see how this is possibly harmless.
The following observational article describes what part of the brain controls these outbursts and suggests that these phenomena are attributed to other factors in sleep that are unstable. College students on average get approximately six hours of sleep per night, while we all know the recommended suggestion is eight hours per night. This lack of sleep may attribute to more hypnic jerks in college students. There are many variables that may attribute to hypnic jerks in one’s sleep, so it is difficult to pinpoint the phenomena. Perhaps the variables are so confounded it’s impossible to tell which affects how many times an individual experiences this. Also if an experimental trial were to take place, what would the placebo be? I feel like it would be difficult to set a placebo, but the two control groups could simply be college students and non-college students. However, as a college student, I believe we all experience the variables that cause hypnic jerks. I’d love to see an experiment conducted that addresses this.
In the month that we’ve been here at PSU I’ve been woken by hypnic jerks more often than I had been at home. I asked my room mates about it and they also have admitted to being kept up. It could be very possible that the amount of hypnic jerks a student experiences and GPA is correlated. Now other confounding variables can be attributed to poor academic performance, but this is a possible component of causation in poor academic performance. I’m really excited to hear what my peers have to say about this. This topic has always intrigued me.