The Myoclonic Twitch
“Sometimes during the first stage of rest, the peculiar floating or feeling one may experience while going to sleep is interrupted by a brief spasm known as myoclonic twitch- a quick muscular contraction in arms and legs, sometimes the whole body-which startles one back to wakefulness.” Jennifer Ackerman
For the first time since we’ve had smart phones, my husband and I spent the day together without the close companionship of our mobile devices. We have been experiencing the mental version of the myoclonic twitch also known as the hypnic jerk. Our heart rate increases as does our blood pressure as we are randomly haunted by spasms that cause us to reflexively reach for our phones.
Another common experience in Stage 1 is the feeling of falling. It is a great metaphor for the unexpected free fall that is happening to us as we unplug. Our brains are addicted to our lists, the pings on our phone, the next message in our inbox. We are going through a tiny version of withdraw, of tech detox.
As I was moving washed laundry into the dryer last night, I thought, “This, I can manage.”
In our very big life I often felt like I needed to take a vacation just to catch up on everything that I was neglecting. That is exactly the intention of this vacation. Except for instead of catching up we are slowing down…to read, to walk, to eat, to talk, to sleep. I took two naps today, but it’s only 4:37 now so it is conceivable that I could fit another nap in before bedtime.
If you are courageous enough to take your own free fall into a season of rest, don’t let that hypnic jerk fool you, it’s just a phase.
To read more about a day in the life of your body, click here.