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Sleep paralysis

(59 Posts)
Mrswhiskerson Sun 07-Aug-11 20:56:26

I have experienced sleep paralysis for years , being awake while my body is asleep and on the whole it is a scary experience which comes with hallucinations and sometimes the feeling of being dragged off the bed .
It happens when I am over tired an because know one I know had it I was wondering if anyone on here has it ? Is there any cure and does anyone think this is a slep disorder or something more spooky? Like I say it Can be terrifying. Being a believer in all things supernatural I'm not sure what to make of it I would love to hear what others think.

OhYouBadBadKitten Sun 07-Aug-11 21:01:56

I get it when i am over tired and over stressed. i also used to get it a lot when I was pregnant. It is just disordered sleep, with the mind waking up before the body does but it is bloody terrifying sometimes. The first time I got it was when I was a child and I thought the devil was coming to take me. I was very scared to sleep. It was months before I decided he probably wasnt sad

OhYouBadBadKitten Sun 07-Aug-11 21:02:46

(not sad that the devil didnt take me grin just sad that for so long I was really scared)

TattyDevine Sun 07-Aug-11 21:03:31

I have this, probably mildly, it manifests itself slightly differently.

Very strange, weird, and wrong! Slightly scary at the time but nice to come out of it and interesting to reflect back on in the morning.

Great excuse for not getting up for the little ones too wink

addressbook Sun 07-Aug-11 21:05:48

could you get referred to a sleep clinic?

I have only had it a couple of times and it was very unsettling.

fedupandtired Sun 07-Aug-11 21:08:13

I get this and you're right, it's bloody terrifying. I had an episode last week where I thought DH was trying to kill me. It was beyond horrendous.

aquos Sun 07-Aug-11 21:15:02

I get this when I've had too much sleep and when I'm over hot. It is scary, but now Ive identified what is happening and why it happens, it's lost some of the fear. Thankfully it's not a regular occurrence. I'm not aware of any cures.

TalesOfTheUnexpected Sun 07-Aug-11 21:21:31

Interesting. I was talking to my sister this weekend about my experiences with sleep paralysis.

I've always had it, probably do to being an stressful and uptight person) but it seems to have worsened with my coming off my anti-ds (with doctors advice and guidance, tapering gently). However, I am getting weird wide-awake feelings of levitating on the ceiling and someone finding me there. And a proper sense of evil in my dream.

Last week I thought I'd awoken in the other morning and that there was someone hiding behind my bedroom curtain. I pulled it back and found myself hiding under there! Utterly and completely scary!

Once I was truly awake I could tell myself it was just a horrible "dream". I am not a believer in the supernatural but I don't mean to disrepect those who do believe.

Not sure that there is an universal answer to this type of stuff but I've certainly experienced it and you are not alone!

OhYouBadBadKitten Sun 07-Aug-11 21:23:11

TOTU your experience last week does sound horrifying!!!

coastgirl Sun 07-Aug-11 21:25:34

Having experienced it, I think SP is very underrated in being a component in lots of 'supernatural' experiences, e.g. people seeing ghosts in the night, possession, even alien abduction when you think about it.

I have read people on here swear blind they were awake when they saw figures in their room - well, any time I have SP I would also swear blind I was awake...right until I wake up properly. If you fell asleep again instead of waking you would never realise you'd been asleep the whole time.

TotU, seeing yourself behind the curtain must have been so scary! I have often experienced DH coming into the room and leaning over me, or shaking me, when he was downstairs the whole time. I am firmly convinced there is no sinister reason behind it happening though.

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ledkr Sun 07-Aug-11 21:36:32

my ds had this,he thought he was dying,a black figure wlked into his room,i found him crying downstairs,he was 19,6ft 4 and size 13 feet.
He used to suffer night terrors as a child,i wonder if there is a connection?

coastgirl Sun 07-Aug-11 21:44:29

I think there is a connection, although that's just my thoughts on the matter. I don't remember suffering them as a child but I did used to sit up with my eyes open when I was asleep. I have also sleepwalked once only in my life to my knowledge, as an adult, when I was in a fairly stressful situation (had moved abroad for a year and was a little culture shocked) so I think all sleep disorders are linked but just manifest themselves differently.

GrownUpNow Sun 07-Aug-11 21:44:41

Heya, I am a fellow sufferer of sleep paralysis, in particular I get horrible hypnagogic hallucinations along with being unable to move and stuck in a half sleeping, half awake awareness.

When I have an episode (usually in periods of stress, or when I am tired or sleeping badly) I feel an evil presence threatening me, a big black shadow man, a crushing sensation like a heavy weight on my chest, physical touches to parts of my body, voices or really loud crashing noises, and light patterns on the wall. I have also experienced euphoric sleep paralysis, where all the sensations are lovely and have even had orgasms in this physical state, so it's definitely something to do with state of mind around the time of the sleep disorder that affect how we experience it.

I went onto antidepressants at the beginning of this year to try to counteract stress/anxiety/depression/OCD which was causing the disorder to be so unpleasant, and it has helped a bit to calm it down. I started the last episode in about October last year having one a week or so, and by the end in January I was having it every time I tried to sleep, to the point where I was barely sleeping for the fear of it. I tend to have a few in one episode and then it settles. I do have a lot of nightmares normally anyway, and have long term problems with insomnia (which I can remember starting aged four).

One thing I have found useful is to understand sleep and how to foster a healthy sleeping environment. Knowing the facts about your disorder can dispel some of the fear. I thought I was going mad at the beginning of this year, I was beginning to jump at noises because I was convinced the dark man was real, so sleep deprived and anxious was I, it was getting difficult to differentiate between awake and asleep sometimes.

In the end, a good dose of temazepam was needed to really kick me back into a normal sleep cycle, and I've managed to avoid any more by taking a couple every time my sleep starts to get disturbed. Speak to your doctor, it's a valid health problem in my eyes and there's help out there for you if you need it..

MissusTulip Sun 07-Aug-11 21:47:16

It's horrible! I've had it recurrently since late teens, v scary when it's happening - I've had 'the hag' twice, ghastly feeling of evil - like something trying to possess me and I have to resist and the strange - frightening figures in the room. All easy enough to dismiss once I've woken up properly.

The only thing I noticed was that I'd get it more if I slept with my left arm above my head - no idea if there was a genuine connection or not.

I've never heard of a proper treatment for it. I suspect that it would consist of being given different types of sedative to try to keep you asleep or some of the other more experimental drugs rather than anything non-medication based... Unless you went to a sleep clinic and they picked up sleep apnoea or something similar that they thought was contributing?

No idea. Mine has been better since I moved in with DH - rarely get it but have probably just jinxed myself confused

coastgirl Sun 07-Aug-11 21:52:47

Knowing as much as you can does help - once I realise it's SP I find it tiresome (not being able to wake myself up) rather than scary. A couple of times I've even managed to relax enough to consciously think "this is sleep paralysis - let's just go with it and see what my subconscious comes up with!" which was quite interesting.

DBennett Sun 07-Aug-11 21:56:13

The NHS page is pretty good IMO.

OnlyWantsOne Sun 07-Aug-11 22:04:13

I too have had this as a child often and there wa always a little girl in a dress sitting on my bed watching me. I was unable to move or scream and thinking back on it now still scares me I was utterly fucking terrified.

GrownUpNow Sun 07-Aug-11 22:08:33

I read that sleep paralysis was more common if you were asleep on your back, so it may be possible that there is a certain position which can trigger yours. I have always been on my back when having mine, usually with arms down by my sides though. I am able to shout and scream after a certain amount of time and move my eyes, then head. The doctor told me to move my head around to speed up recovering from the paralysis.

MoominsAreScary Sun 07-Aug-11 22:09:17

I had this when I was a child up I till my early 20s! Feeling someone was on top of me, hearing something talk to me, seeing dark shadows, feeling something is trying to posses me, seeing 'the hag', feeling that something is trying to pull me out of my body, feeling things touching me, scary scary shit! I've only ever had it at my parents house and allthough I font live there any more I do stay some times but don't get it anymore

youarekidding Sun 07-Aug-11 22:09:34

I sometimes have wied sensations when falling asleep. I googled once and they appear to be hypnic jerks. Worth looking at for anyone who gets this on going to sleep as apposed to waking which is when commonly sleep paralisis occurs. Its quite common apparently. But as a believer in the supernatural I did for a long time think its was me being woken by another being as I often felt cold.

TalesOfTheUnexpected Sun 07-Aug-11 22:10:44

I have now kind of learnt to tell myself "this is not real" as the dream is happening but I also feel utterly powerless.

When it's light and my kids bound into my room saying "morning mummy", it's all a just a memory.

I don't go to sleep wondering if it will happen, it's not even on my mind as it's so sparodic. This particular opening post just made me think, I'm not the only one.

GrownUpNow Sun 07-Aug-11 22:11:03

Oh, and I forgot to say, my little sister also regularly suffers sleep paralysis, so I believe it can run in the family. She has hers on waking, I have mine as I fall asleep, which is the less common way to have it.

Pishwife Sun 07-Aug-11 22:12:50

Yes I get this from time to time, usually when sleep-deprived, which is a right bugger because then I don't want to go to sleep.

I have had lots of floating-up-to-ceiling sensations, and often feel my - and I realise how New Age this sounds - "energy body" moving out of my body and floating off around the room, or even through the mattress and down to the floor.

I usually try to call out for/nudge DH, but find I can't move, speak, or sometimes even breathe - then I wake up with a huge intake of breath.

Sometimes I can say to myself in the dream, "okay, this is sleep paralysis, I can either go completely to sleep or wake up when I need to, if I just relax one of those two things will happen." It seems to work for me.

I can completely understand why people think that they are astrally projecting or having near-death experiences. Hope yours don't stick around too long.

cloudydays Sun 07-Aug-11 22:19:14

I get this too, though without the hallucinations thankfully. Just the awareness of being fully awake but unable to move or speak. Sometimes i feel like I can't even breathe, though when I come out of it I'm not gasping so I must be breathing automatically the whole time. Once I found out what it was, it became a little less scary, though when it's happening I'm always terrified that it will never end.

By far the scariest time was the first night that we had newborn dd home with us. She was sleeping next to me in a bassinet and I snapped awake out of a deep sleep, wanting to check that she was breathing (no reason she wouldn't be, just new-mom anxiety). I couldn't sit up, or turn my body over so that I could see her, and I started to believe that I was having a stroke from some kind of post-natal complication, or that I was, in fact, already dead. It was awful, and probably exacerbated by the fact that I have a very real, front-of-mind fear about leaving dd motherless (my own mother died when I was young).

I can't imagine how much worse it would be if I were actually seeing things that weren't there (let alone myself behind a curtain - eeeeek!).

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