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Thread: Read this if you're worried about jolts or "brain zaps" when falling asleep!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2007

    Read this if you're worried about jolts or "brain zaps" when falling asleep!


    I had a "brain zap" when I was drifting off to sleep last night, and it scared me so badly! I've been Googling all morning thinking of course it's epilepsy or a brain tumor, etc. etc.

    Then I found these two sources. One is from Wikipedia, but the other is from the Discover channel's website. I feel a LOT better after reading these and hope they can help someone else:


  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2009

    Re: Read this if you're worried about jolts or "brain zaps" when falling asleep!


    I get these so this is reasurring as they arev frightening.


    Sharona xxx

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    , , United Kingdom.

    Re: Read this if you're worried about jolts or "brain zaps" when falling asleep!

    Thanks for that - will make this topic sticky so people can see it.

    “Don't be afraid of death; be afraid of an unlived life. You don't have to live forever, you just have to live.” - Natalie Babbitt

    Please help keep NMP running and donate to the running costs:

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Re: Read this if you're worried about jolts or "brain zaps" when falling asleep!

    I have copied both ???URL's
    that post was so reasuring
    Thank you so much for the info
    Best wishes

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2007

    Re: Read this if you're worried about jolts or "brain zaps" when falling asleep!

    Hi there, I too have had "brain zaps" so the post was very reassuring. Also, I have episodes of my balance going and waves of dizziness. Does anyone else experience this? Normally it only last for seconds. I have been told the dizziness is positional vertigo. Wether the brief loss of balance is linked I dont know. Sometimes it wakes me up and sometimes it happens just as I am going to sleep. When I move a bit it seems to stop. Some nights it doesnt happen at all and others it happens a couple of times. It happened last night, the loss of balance I mean. I can do without it. I worry that something is wrong inside my head. Thanks for the brain zaps post though. That was a relief to read that.


  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2008

    Re: Read this if you're worried about jolts or "brain zaps" when falling asleep!

    I'm not sure about describing them as brain zaps... Was it a "zapping noise" or a zap of pain?

    I have been dealing with headaches for almost a year now, they began around three weeks after anxietys dark shadow shrouded me in a veil of despair. April 14th 2008 was when my anxiety started, a few days after a binge drink/smoking some weed...I had bumped my head walking into a door, there was a tiny red dot and was fine for a couple days, but I was pancing like crazy days later, as I just didn't feel myself... wondering what was wrong with me, I would keep myself in bed and move as little as possible... I lost 24lbs as I began to eat only wheatabix and fruit. My muscles were getting tense and I was under tremendous stress, I was worried about dying from an unknown illness. So I attributed it all to my "head injury" and once my headaches began I decided to hound doctors and medical staff at hospitals until I got a CT and MRI scan... I was negative for anything nasty.
    So I entered into debates and conversations with medical staff until finally accepting I was tense, stressed and suffering anxiety and panic attacks, which on relfection, I know agree on.
    I never take the medication because I am affraid of it to, honestly I over think things, I would take the pills and wonder "what are they doing to me... WHAT ARE THEY DOING?!?!?" before jumping out a window.

    I am sometimes prone to short episodes of pain on my scalp, these are known as ice-pick headaches and usally only last a few seconds or minutes. These would seem to be the zaps you speak of. I had one before I got up this morning, which felt worse as I strained my neck... so it would seem to be a muscular thing.

  7. #7

    Re: Read this if you're worried about jolts or "brain zaps" when falling asleep!

    ok the start! for 10 years i was a cocaine (functional) addict and boozer. the doctor told me he would make me feel human again after a stupid suicide attempt. now i was at my last 6 months of drug abuse before i realised enough was enough! so i went an told my doctor all!!

    at the time i was going through a divorce, anyhow the doc supplied me with citalopram 20mg and diazapan 5mg twice daily, i took these for at least a year and had enough and i had some serious dark thoughts on these in the beginning. anyhow i got fed up with the diazapan making me feel groggy and looking tired all the time. so self medicated on the (not advised to others) diaz'z the citals did not work anymore, so i was prescribed sertraline even more worse than citals.

    after 6 months of being on them i was prescribed the dreaded effexor 75mg
    they are the absolute pits!!!! now i stopped taking them after a year and a bit and they didnt work either, now this is where it gets weird.

    i never really had any side effects from any prescribed drug until i met effexor.

    since stoppping effexor, the very day i stopped i got the most blistering side effects ever, read the effexoractivist web pages and read the symptoms.

    when i stopped effexor, i was given prozac, they just gave me really bad stomach problems if anything!

    since leaving effexor i have these really really scary head shocks, when i move my eyes left and right up or down or even move suddenly i get this enormous wave of dizziness in my head, if i feel my heart miss a beat i get a massive jolt of an electrical buzz through my head, i only feel really safe to move or look ahead to get some relief from the dizziness.

    i think my doc either thinks im mad or he is worried his advice on the effexor has left me permantley brain damaged, its really scary and shows no signs of letting up, i also can feel off balance sometimes and its really affecting my moods, some days i could forget about the dizzy stuff and then do the gardening and not even think about it then the next day i can go out and do something else and the dizzines just bloody follows me and its just easier to sit and look ahead. its really upsetting me and i dont know if im going mad or have been left with a serious chemical imbalance from using effexor.

    i have not drunk or taken any cocaine for near on 2 years now. and have been off all medication for a month now

    can someone please help, this crap is really squeezing my skull!!!!!!!!!!

    please see this:
    Last edited by jahur; 26-04-09 at 23:29.

  8. #8

    Re: Read this if you're worried about jolts or "brain zaps" when falling asleep!

    Yes, I get these often!

    I'm actually glad I researched it and found out. Put me at ease.

  9. #9

    Re: Read this if you're worried about jolts or "brain zaps" when falling asleep!

    What a relief to know that others have experienced these. Although mine seem to have subsided now, they were actually the catalyst for my latest bout of anxiety and panic attacks.

    They started out of the blue one night just as i was going to sleep. The next minute had awful dizzy sensation and then 'Zap' - a blue flash and a feeling like an electric shock in my head and my heart feeling as though it had jumped a beat. It terrified me! It took me hours to get to sleep that night because every time I started 'dropping off' the same thing happened. From then on they happened every night for well over a year and even after the blue flashes stopped I still got the dizzy feeling - right up to 3 months ago. It was no wonder I ended up a wreck... I was definitely sleep deprived for months on end.

    I still have no idea why they started - just got a name for them from a neurologist about a year after they began with the statement 'Nothing to worry about, everyone gets them.' I wanted to say to him 'Well, if that's true, why do people look at me like I've grown 2 heads if I mention them then? Why didn't my Dr have a clue what was going on?'

    All I can say is 'thank goodness they've stopped'.

    I wish I'd found these websites when I first got the 'zaps'...


  10. #10

    Re: Read this if you're worried about jolts or "brain zaps" when falling asleep!

    I've had Hypnic jerks a few times in the past. It has never struck me as odd though, I just jolt to full wakefulness in a moment of panic, realise a few seconds later that it was a "dream" (feels the same as waking up during a long fall in a full REM sleep dream) and go back to sleep.

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