Electric Shock Feeling during Sleep: What's Happening?

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By Noelina R. | Updated: Jun 18, 2020


Being woken up by a series of electric shock sensations in various parts of the body is one of the most unpleasant symptoms middle-aged women experience. While they are usually harmless, they require proper evaluation to rule out other, potentially serious causes. 

Learn more about the most common causes of the electric shock feelings at night so that you can go back to having a good night's sleep in no time!

Electric Shock Feeling during Sleep: What's Happening?

The Causes of Electric Shock Feeling during Sleep

There are various possible causes of the sensation of an electric shock during sleep, including:

Hormonal imbalance

During menopause, hormonal imbalance might cause electric shock sensations throughout the day and night due to rapid shifts in estrogen levels. Moreover, women who suffer from other menopause symptoms, such as hot flashes or night sweats, report that they often induce electric-like shocks during sleep.

Certain sleeping positions

Certain positions during sleep might cause the vertebrae to put temporary pressure on the nerve, triggering a series of electric-like stabs in the back, neck, or extremities. Occasionally, women might suffer from certain age-related chronic back conditions, such as a slipped disc or spinal stenosis, whose pain can be more pronounced in horizontal positions.

Stress and anxiety

Long-term stress and anxiety are known causes of electric shock feelings in the body during sleep. At night when our bodies relax, the mind is very vulnerable to overthinking and being bombarded with intrusive thoughts. Those anxious thoughts and feelings are believed to over-activate the nervous system, causing a miscommunication between neurons and resultant lightening-like jolts.


Certain medications to treat depression, anxiety, and migraines have been shown to trigger electric-like shocks, especially in the head. Women can experience these brain zaps during the day and while sleeping. Ironically, their discontinuation might also trigger this symptom.1


It is more common in women than men, and it often causes pain and electric shock sensation during sleep, which in turn, disturbs the sleep cycles, increases fatigue, and makes women more prone to depression, cognitive problems, stress, and anxiety.2

Other diseases known to cause this unpleasant symptom might include:

  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Carpal tunnel syndrome
  • Toxic exposure
  • Alcohol abuse
  • Migraine
  • Diabetes
  • Arachnoiditis
  • Infections
  • Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Celiac disease
  • Lupus
  • Epilepsy
  • Tumors
  • Injury

Should I Be Worried?

Without a doubt, experiencing sensations similar to an electric shock during sleep can fill women with fear, decrease the quality of their sleep, and increase their fatigue. Although in some cases they might signal a more complex underlying disease, which requires a prompt medical attention, most often these sensations of an electric shock during sleep are not dangerous.

If you feel that interrupted sleep is taking an increasing toll on your daily functioning, ask your doctor to help you treat them better. Also, electric-like stabs accompanied by abnormal symptoms such as severe pain or vision problems should be reported as soon as possible.

More Information

Sometimes a good quality orthopedic mattress in addition to meditation or yoga can help prevent anxiety, lessen the shocks' occurrence, and guarantee a good night's sleep.

However, long-term relief will be found in treating the underlying cause, which is most often hormonal imbalance in menopausal women. As such, if you have trouble managing menopausal electric-like shocks during sleep, click on the following link to learn more about natural and effective electric shock sensation treatments that may help you achieve the beauty sleep you've been yearning for.

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