223439 tn?1264738096

Brain shock sensations when trying to fall asleep

I'm having this problem with my brain that right before I fall asleep I get this weird sensation in my brain that wakes me up again right when I'm falling asleep. The feeling I get is either a falling sensation (not the kind you dream of falling off a cliff or tripping over something then waking up), a "shock" to my brain or like my brain is preventing me from sleeping on purpose. I hope I'm describing it okay.... but it's very frustration because my body is SOOOOO tired but my brain will not let me sleep due to these brain twitches that prevent me from fully falling asleep. Has anyone else had this? If so, does anyone have any answers of what this is? or what i can get tested for or talk to my doctor about? I've gotten an MRI and an MRA done and everything was normal.... I use to have hypochondria before and I've been told by my doctor it MIGHT be due to anxiety but I don't like when doctors say "might be..." I would rather them tell me they don't know so I can ask another doctor...... please help someone!!! :(:(:(:(
69 Responses
366811 tn?1217422672
Actually, I have those every night and have taken them to be the sure sign that I'm about ready to fall asleep. It is as though my concious, awake mind is being fragged off kicking and screaming to go to sleep. And I usually jump -quite a bit- in response to the shock. My partner has learned to cover up!

So -try understanding it differently. You know its not hurting you, right? So maybe it is your brain just complaining that it doesn't want to sleep yet.

Please keep us advised on what you discover.
223439 tn?1264738096
Thank you for your response. I never even asked myself that question "Is it hurting me?" the simplest things make a person feel somewhat better thank you :) I will keep inmind that it's not hurting me and I'm gonna see if it helps me actually fall asleep sooner than staying up all night and falling asleep one hour b4 i have to get up... heheh... thank you again I will keep you posted :)
366811 tn?1217422672
Its sounds carzy, I know, but that's what worked for me! Good luck.

Avatar universal
I just wanted to let you know that I have had the EXACT same thing happen to me.  It started over two months ago.  I have been on Clonazepam for 11 years for my panic disorder and was doing great all along.  It's kept my panic and anxiety at bay with no side effects.  Then over two months ago, I had this horrible insomnia where I couldn't sleep at all for days, and what you explained is exactly word-for-word what I was going through.  My mind was so tired and wanted to sleep, but as soon as I would just start to drift off, I'd get this weird mind shock feeling that would jar me awake, and I was barely getting by due to this.  I never did find out what it was.  I am now getting to sleep very easily, so it did go away, but since then, I can't get a full night's sleep.  I always wake up through the night unable to get back to sleep...well, sometimes I can, but I haven't had a full night's sleep since.  I'm not sure what has allowed me to stop these weird feelings and allowed me to get to sleep again.  I did start taking 1 mg of the Methyl form of Vitamin B12 (sublingual) daily with 1000 mgs per day of Vitamin C and Chamomile tea before bed.  I'm not sure if that's what helped or if it's just a coincidence.  

Anyway, good luck.  Hopefully yours will stop as mine did.  I wish I knew what it is.  Sorry I couldn't have been more help, but I wanted to let you know you're not alone as it happened to me as well not so long ago, and this ongoing sleep problem I'm having may still be related.  I'm just waiting for a neurotransmitter test, so hopefully that will reveal something so that I can balance those out with amino acid supplements and get my sleep back again.  That may be something worth looking into for yourself as well.  I get the test in the mail through Sabre Sciences, in case you're interested.    
242912 tn?1402543492
What you describe is exactly what happened to me when I quit smoking.  I went through terrible withdrawal that caused an increase in my anxiety to the point of panic attacks and these "brain shocks" were happening constantly.  Like you, I was sooo tired and it seemed the more tired I got, the more the shocks happened which, in turn, made it almost impossible to relax.  Have you quit any meds or stopped smoking, anything like that?  Sometimes, withdrawal from something might not happen immediatly, it may take a few days, a week even, so we end up not relating the two incidents.  

Take care.........
Avatar universal
due to medication...YOU GUYS think hard and read your own posts again and again  and see why you are getting these weird symptoms....either your brain is starved (lack of vitamins)or you are on medication that does these strange things as a side effect. Read orthomolecularvitamincentre.com site for more info on vitamins.And read and research your meds on Google.It helps me with my problem.Take care, Sunes.
ddnt take any meds this past week well except for cold relievers but i think what made me have this brain shock is the cold coffee i had this morning i only drink coffee once a month depends on the mood and since i dont drink daily so im still not used to its side effects which is tremors, not being able to sleep early and of course maybe the brain shock is also a side effect. also my brain is always feeling starved i dont think i lack something coz im already fat
366811 tn?1217422672
Just wanted you to know that I deleted your other post about the brain shock thing because it appeared identical to this one -there was no problem with it other than being (it appeared) a duplicate.

323238 tn?1223753354
I get them alot to...I pray everyday that it will be a night were I don' t get him..there really un-comfortable... and annoying,, Ur not alone.. They suck but I have never been able to get and answer from an doctor so if they honeslty  thought they were harmfful something would have been done about them.. If i fell like ita going to be that one of those nights, i take a hot hot bubble bath..and just try to read tillm eyeballs have to be taped open.
god bless, ur in my prayers
409760 tn?1271037972
My head just feels wierd before going to sleep. I jerk a lot in the night according to my husband. Sometimes the jerks wake me up. So I go to sleep listening to soft music. It works for me. Now if I can get my body to stay in bed for 6-7 hours I would have it made. These shocks, jerks and twinges are annoying I know but as said before they aren't hurting you. If they keep you up maybe you should ask your Dr. if he recommends anything.

Peace to You
280418 tn?1306325910
Been there, done that too.  Anxiety for me.  It sucks, but doesn't hurt you.  I have to take Tranxene to help me sleep, so it keeps me from having the "zaps".  I hate taking meds, but I hate the anxiety worse!!
Avatar universal
I got weird head 'zaps" and "shocks" when I went off of Paxil last year when I got pregnant.  Of course, nobody told me I had to wean off the Paxil so that's why it happened to me.  It took  a total of 2 weeks for them to stop completely.  
Avatar universal
I have gone on and off depression and anxiety meds for years. I always get the zaps if i come off them too quickly. I have been taking 75mg effexor for the last year and i finally feel "normal".

those zaps are a real sunufagun, aren't they?
223439 tn?1264738096
thank you all for your posts..... I haven't taken Xanax for my panic attacks in soooo long and I just started again so I'm thinking it might be that... I'm hoping cause then I can have a solid answer for now. I even feel really fidgety during the day. I'm going to try your methods and see if any of them help. Thanks again and keep me posted on how yall are doing :):):) my prayers to all of you.
Avatar universal
if you haven't been taking any medication forever then it's obviously not withdrawls or due to medication. maybe your xanax is wearing off and axiety is returning during this time. that's common with xanax. ups and downs due to it's very short halflife.or maybe it's just anxiety returning. it happens with this disorder. it waxes and weens. comes and goes. it's nothing to worry about, just like anxiety, scary but can't hurt you. i say this because you have been to the docs and they feel the same. plus having hypochondriac tendencies are certainly exhasberating this problem. worry worry, stress. anxiety, panic....psychosomatic symptoms...self fulfilling prophecy.
Avatar universal
I am having brain shock sensations and its driving me crazy. Mine come in the middle of the night when I'm already asleep, and they wake me up. Last night they were so bad that I couldn't fall back asleep or do anything, and I felt really anxious. It was so unpleasant! It was like trying to tell my brain to quiet down. I haven't gone off any meds but I'm also dizzy, nauseous, experiencing vertigo...I have tried to see a doctor and they don't find anything wrong with me. Any ideas?
Avatar universal
Hi there, I have had these all my life. I would walk on the street and fall down, miss a stair, broke a glass, got bitten by a dog and I always thought that was a sign that I was ready to fall asleep. I do not suffer from insomnia at all and in fact I feel reassured that this happens as I take it as a sign of being ready to fall a sleep. of course I always wake up my wife by jumping around... Shall I worry about this? Also I not not smoke, do drugs or take medication of any sorts.
Avatar universal
Its called exploding head  syndrome.Your doctor probably wont know about it. I still do not know the full cause or a cure. Supposivly it does no harm. It is common also when comming off of some entheogens, mushrooms, lsd, ecstasy.

When com,ing off of paxil , or any other another precribed medicine tell your doctor your coming off to quickly. It may be completely different then exploding head syndrome when from medication and probably not harmless.


1042487 tn?1275279899
I experienced those too. I tried hard to figure out what and why and when it was happening and i found out that the brain shock is happening when im tired and was happening more when i was smoking cannbis and there was a patern that was triggering them in relation to my thoughts especially those in the long term memory or weird thoughts. Back then i was on no meds exept i was smoking cannabis... It's maybe a synapse that goes where it shouldn't that's triggering an overeaction. I don't know it's really strange i have to admit.

And for the falling sensation in bed while tryin to sleep it's normal and everyone can experience them. No need to be on meds or anything and they are not due to seizures.
It's only a counsious shut down down of the body ( your mind is supposed to be asleep when this happen but sometimes it can happens while your mind is still working and this can be in the subcounsious ).
Avatar universal
I have had this problem for some time. I am pretty sure it is related to my use of paxil, effexor over a ten year time period. Just as I am on the verge of falling asleep I get shocked in my head.  When the problem started noone was aware of its existence. Doctors looked at me blankly when I described the problem. I have a severe sleep disorder as well which I suspect is also related to my withdrawal from these drugs. I went without sleep for pretty much four years. It has been hell. I manage it now but I know it is not cured. I cannot drink or take any meds whatsoever.  I hope your problem is cured. I wish you the best of luck.  My biggest regret is that I ever started taking these drugs which have ruined my life. I urge anyone reading this to stay away from them.
Avatar universal
Yes this happens to me but only following either heavy exstacy usage or when I have missed a couple of doeses of SSRI antidepressant drugs, I would say this is definately linked to both.  The sensation to me in an extreme case is like being hit with a hammer on the head seconds after drifting off to sleep.  
1492418 tn?1289149263
interesting, i get those at random times, even when awake. Sometimes I feel like a mini black out for a second.

For sleep, I don't know how I stumbled across this but i put all my focus on breathing from my belly, just the is-ness of the moments, and try Not to fall asleep, works like a charm and i sleep like a baby. I actually enjoy laying with the light off and meditating my way to sleep. Anyway, might be worth a try?
Avatar universal
I have had these for a few months now every night and it is very scary. I am weaning off Paxil after being on it for 13 years and even though I am tapering at a snail's pace I still get this and it *****. If you are not on any meds then yours may be easier to treat since it is not drug induced.

I would suggest Magnesium as it is very good for muscle twitches. Don't get the Mag Oxide kind because it is not well absorbed well and can cause diarrhea. Try the Glycinate, Orotate or Citrate kind. Citrate can cause diarrhea as well but not as bad as oxide as it is absorbed better. Take about 200-250mg before bed and see if it helps. You can also try a warm bath with Epsom Salts before bed. Epsom Salts are magnesium and you absorb it through your skin and it is very relaxing. Valerian is also good but everyone reacts differently to it so proceed with caution. Calms Forte is a herbal sleep remedy that sometimes helps me. It has Passion Flower, hops, oats, etc. and is very safe and non addicting. Warm chamomile tea before bed is nice too. Relaxation exercises are worth a try as well. As you can see I have a lot of suggestions cause I have tried EVERYTHING. Since mine is drug induced it's not as easy to alleviate, but all these things have helped me somewhat and might do wonders for you.
Avatar universal
thank god i found this page. I'm having the same problems ever since I started having Panic attacks in December. I would get these "falling sensations and brain twinges" that would cause me to open my eyes, but only when I'm in the process of falling asleep. I've also been really sensitive to sounds at night while in the process of falling asleep and they help trigger the jolts. It's so weird, but I've had almost every test done, (bloodwork, brain MRI's, EKGS, etc) and they all came back normal. Pretty scary stuff. but i eventually end up falling asleep somehow, so i guess it isn't anything serious, and it's just a result of the continuing anxiety/depression i've been suffering from.
1665857 tn?1303159484
this is new to me i have had these Zaps for a month now. i am not medicated in any way i just turned 30 and was worried it may be an early symptom of something awful. when it starts i sit up and meditate deep breathing, but that seams to have little affect. the Zaps can be so powerful they twitch my face or slam my upper body strait up. and not only can i feel them in my head i can hear them and form time to time i can see this flash of a blueish white lite inside my eyes. this is annoying and frustrating, however in a sick way it is becoming a pleasurable torment. the sensation is unlike anything else.
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