Have you been experiencing body twitches? Most of us have on occasion, and although they generally go away on their own, they’re frustrating nonetheless. An eye twitch during a date or a work interview can make you feel awkward, while other twitches can just be outright bothersome or cause you to worry endlessly.
Twitches are uncontrollable spasms in small areas of larger muscle. They are fairly common and, as you’ll see, typically linked to lifestyle habits. Of course, there are instances when they may be indications of more serious health issues, so it’s best to check any concerns with your doctor.
Here’s the scoop on some of those strange body twitches, plus tips on how to prevent them.
It’s likely happened to you from time to time: the strange sensation that occurs when a portion of your eyelid or lash line seems to be moving a mile a minute. According to the Mayo Clinic, it’s considered harmless and is often linked to excessive alcohol and caffeine intake, stress, lack of sleep, or smoking. Typically, it goes away on its own after a few days
However, even exposure to bright lights and wind can cause twitching in the eye area. In more serious instances, it may be linked to disorders of the brain or nervous system. In this case, taking note of persistent twitching that is accompanied by other facial spasms, eye reddening or difficulty opening and closing eyes is advised, as these symptoms should be brought to a medical expert’s attention.
To remedy the frustrating sensation, it’s best to address the previously-mentioned culprits. If you haven’t been sleeping well, take steps to go to bed earlier or create an environment more conducive to proper sleep. If you’ve been downing too much wine every night, consider cutting back. Experts also suggest reducing eye strain, so if you’re on the computer often or frequently glued to the television, take a break—even if only for just a few minutes. Ideally, walk into a dimly lit room where your eyes can rest.
Like eye twitching, lips quivering is likely due to stimulating products such as alcohol, chocolate or caffeine. Stress, extreme emotion or anxiety and fatigue can also play a role.
If you find this situation occurs regularly, especially in conjunction with other facial twitches, it could be a sign of thyroid issues or Bell’s palsy—a condition in which speech may slur and portions of the face droop.
Diminishing your stress levels and exposure to alcoholic and caffeinated drinks can help alleviate lip twitches. However, as with eye twitching, the problem typically goes away on its own after a few days.
Twitching on parts of the tongue is most commonly linked to reactions from taking certain medications, most notably anti-psychotics. Furthermore, stress—no surprise here—is also associated with tongue twitching, which is something that may be helped with various forms of meditation or professional counseling.
On a more serious note, twitching around this part of the body could be due to multiple sclerosis, a stroke or cerebral palsy. Like all twitches that are concerning or prolonged, medical advice should be sought.
Twitching on part of your finger need not cause immediate fears about Parkinson’s disease. While it is a possibility that should be looked into if you have concerns or if twitching turns into a constant trembling, there are a host of other reasons for finger twitching.
Nutritional deficiencies, repetition (such as frequent computer keyboard use, painting or operating certain tools), diuretics, and (yes) caffeine can lead to such twitching.
Full body twitch just before falling asleep
Chances are, you’ve experienced the sensation of your entire body being jolted just as you were drifting off to sleep or even while in the midst of dreaming. Suddenly, you find yourself wide awake, perhaps a bit startled.
Referred to as hypnic jerks, experts say this tends to occur as the brain tries to make sense of dream states, external stimuli and the body’s attempt to gain motor control, albeit in random bursts. It involves a physiological and neurological complexities that psychologist Tom Stafford best explains as “…traces of waking life that intrude on the dream world.”
As you’ve read, there are many reasons behind why various parts of your body may twitch. Lifestyle habits including sleep, diet and stress levels play a role, as do taking certain medications. They could possibly indicate the possible onset of a more serious health condition. Pay attention to your daily routines to notice any changes that could trigger your twitches, and then take steps to improve your health. Get more sleep, improve your diet, drink less alcohol and do your best to diminish stress.
Even things you may not consider can cause twitches—examples include wearing a new mascara brand (or eye makeup when you typically don’t), or over-exercising.