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Sleep paralysis

(20 Posts)
shakey1500 Fri 24-Jun-11 22:06:36

Does anyone suffer? I'm interested in hearing/sharing experiences (not journo or researching, it has been mentioned in another part of the forum)

With me, it can happen anytime. I cannot pin it down to being ill, stressed, or because Ive eaten xyz, no pattern at all. It happens (now) about twice a year. Not often granted but scary enough when it does as I'm sure you'll empathise with. I also KNOW whether it's going to be "one of those nights" as soon as I drift off to sleep. I feel, what I can only describe as, a wave coming over me. Then it's a sinking feeling and BANG I'm in the depths of it. I am conscious of my surroundings, the date/time/year but cannot even flicker an eyelid. There's a whoosing noise in my ears. I don;t know how long it lasts but I have an internal conversation along the lines of "right, let's TRY and move toes/fingers etc. To no avail. Eventually the grip releases and I can move. Then it happens again. And again. And goes on ALL night. In and out, in and out and I am powerless to stop it.

I've even got up, had a cuppa, read a little, gone back to bed and it carries on! That's the bit i can't understand as I feel like I've "briken the night's cycle" changed mindset yet it still happens!

Would love to know if your experience of it is similar and if you've managed to identify when and why etc etc

MarionCole Fri 24-Jun-11 22:10:51

Bloody terrifying. Mine comes if I fall asleep on the sofa, thankfully it never happens in bed at night. So i just try not to fall asleep on the sofa! I have those internal conversations too, I try to tell myself to go back to sleep and it will all be OK.

crazynanna Fri 24-Jun-11 22:12:55

Happened to me once,Shaky.
I have never been so frigging terrified in my whole puny existence shock

shakey1500 Fri 24-Jun-11 22:12:58

for seymorebutts

Your description on the other thread really does sound similar. Slight difference for me is that my eyes are always closed which really intensifies/internalises the whooshing noise. I so wish that I could let dh know when I'm "in it" for him to move me, stop it.

As far as I'm aware, no-one else in my family has suffered. My father died when I was very young and according to my mother we are scarily similar so it's a possibility he did. How weird you had it last night! Any connection you think subconsciously? I've tried so hard over the years to make some connection and find a pattern for me but the episodes have decreased as time goes on, thankfully. I've also never had any visions during it and really feel for those that do.

SeymoreButts Fri 24-Jun-11 22:16:05

Following on from the other thread, have just read on wikipedia that sleep paralysis can be a symptom of migraine! Last month I had my first ever migraine (with aura, that was weird) and had terrible headaches for about a week after. My sister and Dad both suffer quite badly with migraine (without aura I think) and have both had sleep paralysis at some point, Dad more so. I did wonder if they were connected because the migraine aura reminded me a bit of sleep paralysis. confused

MarionCole Fri 24-Jun-11 22:38:25

My eyes are always closed but I think they're open.

shakey1500 Fri 24-Jun-11 22:46:50

Marion, I think I've read somewhere that certain sleep positions are more likely to "cause" sleep paralysis. Do you think that's why they happen for you because you're on the sofa? For me, it doesn't matter what position I'm in.

Interesting point about migraine seymore. Never had a migraine myself, thankfully, but in the same vein that things like cheese and chocolate can trigger a migraine, I've tried to find a food pattern for the paralysis. To no avail thus far.

fuzzpigFriday Fri 24-Jun-11 22:57:36

I was thinking about starting a thread on this yesterday. How odd!

I first had it about 5 years ago, the first time I thought there was a man standing over the bed about to attack me - this is a common symptom apparently. I read a bit about it, and have over the years learnt to 'bring myself out of it' IYSWIM - I put so much force into making myself move that it actually hurts me and leaves me really shaken. But as soon as it happens I think "oh here we go again" so I'm always aware of it.

Worst time was when my DD was tiny and we were cosleeping, DH had gone to work and when it happened I thought I was suffocating her. Terrifying.

bringinghomethebacon Fri 24-Jun-11 23:00:38

I've had it but not for years, only ever once in one night and that would shake me up for the whole night so I can't imagine what it's like to have repeatedly all night! Have you been to your GP about it at all? I used to think I was suffocating when it happened, if DH was even lightly touching me, would usually think it was him suffocating me. I got it when my sleep patterns had been erratic.

shakey1500 Fri 24-Jun-11 23:05:28


I can really relate to your "oh here we go again" comment!

As mine happens (seemingly) hundreds of times during the night, as soon as the "wave" feeling starts to wash over me, it feels like I'm spiralling down a virtual tunnel and all the while I'm thinking "here we go, here we go" <and NOT in a cheery football supporting way either>

Awful awful feeling. My main puzzlement as I mentioned earlier was that despite breaking the spell and heading downstairs for an hour or so, it STILL continues confused

Anyone else get up and break the pattern for it to continue? Or willing to try it next time it happens? I wonder now if I'm subconsiously setting myself up for a night of it tonight! Will report back on that one...

shakey1500 Fri 24-Jun-11 23:09:03


I went to my GP years ago where he explained what it was. Got the advice to set a regular sleep pattern, excersise, eat healthily etc but no definitive answer/treatment mentioned. Once I understood what it was I wasn't so frightened when it happened yet still, when in the middle of an episodic evening, it's difficult you know?

lulalullabye Sat 25-Jun-11 00:12:43

I have this thing. Started when I was about nine and I used to sleep walk. I always remember lying in my bed and having a sort of whooshing sensation where I imagined something, say an elephant. In my mind or senses? the image gets bigger and then minute, the big again then shrinks again. I can't really explain it bit the feeling of 'oh here we go again is very familiar'
I also get the being awake then realising I am not and trying to wake myself up.
Sounds all a bit odd and I haven't done it for a long time. Last time was the night before I sat my nursing exams.

fuzzpigFriday Sat 25-Jun-11 06:34:28

I have wondered if the cause is at least partly psychological rather than physical. Certainly mine has been worse when I've been more stressed or in worse phases of depression.

I was abused as a child and when I have SP the suffocating feeling is very reminiscent of being trapped under my uncle confused

MrsCreamcake Sat 25-Jun-11 14:29:11

I can so relate to so much of your posts. I've had it for as long as I can remember although thankfully it happens very rarely now, maybe just 2 or 3 times a year.

Nobody I know has ever had it and when I try and describe it to DP he looks at me as if I'm mad lol

As well as the paralysys I also have, at times, and once again its now rare, an awful reoccuring nightmare.
I 'wake up' look around my bedroom and 'know' that there is 'something' there in the room with me. I reach for the lamp and try to switch it on, it doesnt work. By this point I'm well aware that in fact I'm actually still asleep. I try really hard to wake myself and feel a massive sense of relief when I do. I lay there, and then realise that actually I can still sense a 'presence' in the room and in fact I'm still asleep and so have to try once again to 'break free'. Its like a cycle I can't get out of. When I do eventually wake up I find it hard to believe I'm actually awake and I've not been 'tricked' again.

This is such an interesting thread and I can relate so much to your experiences, the internal conversations, the 'grip' it has etc

mammabearx4 Sun 26-Jun-11 13:48:43

I have had this happen twice to me, a few years ago now.It felt like i was being pinned down on the bed and all i could move was my eyes.I remember screaming at the top of my voice to my DH who was snoring next to me but all that came out was a tiny whisper, it was only for a few minutes probably but felt a lot longer ! When i could move my voice felt hoarse and i was really shaken by it.Apparently its when your brain comes to before your body as the body in deep sleep goes into a type of parilysed state.I couldnt sleep well for a while fearing it happening again, but so far touch wood it hasnt !

fran28 Tue 28-Jun-11 00:41:34

This has been happening to me for as long as i can remember...every couple of months...only happened a few nights ago again...seems to happen when i least expect it..only found out recently that the same thing happens to my brother...anyone i have ever mentioned it to has looked at me as if im mad...thankfully i have learned to get out of it fast enough..still so scary

shoormal Tue 28-Jun-11 09:28:43

I find this a really interesting subject as it's something I've had since adolescence. It runs in my family (Grandfather, mother, brother and neice all get it).

I've never been able to work out if there are any circumstances when it happens but often when I'm over tired and fall asleep quickly and deeply.

Mine always is about someone or something coming into the room who is without any shadow of a doubt going to kill me and it's terrifying. I usually know I'm sleeping and have to scream or move to wake myself up and as soon as I make enough noise then I will wake up. I had my exH geared up to wake me as soon as I made the noise (which usually only comes out as a groan) and now my daughter has occasionally heard me though the wall and has come in to wake me up. It takes a huge amount of energy to come out of it and I have to make sure I wake myself up properly or I go straight back into it again.

Where I was brought up there is even a name for it - The Mara - which has its roots in Old Norse and is the original souce of the word Nightmare.

I only realised that it was sleep paralysis when I saw a TV program about narcolepsy and the same symptoms were described. Since it's always been in our family we've always accepted that it's just something that happens.

shakey1500 Tue 28-Jun-11 19:42:19

Good to hear everyones experiences.

shoormal have you got up inbetween, woken yourself up and STILL gone back into it?

fran good to know you can get yourself out of it. Is there a specific "thing" you do?

mammabear fingers crossed for you!

mrscreamcake I'm the same in that it now only happens 2/3 times a year.

fuzzpig google something called "hag syndrome" (I think it's that), which describes feeling "a weight" on you/bed etc x

shoormal Wed 29-Jun-11 14:42:56

No - I've never gone back into it after I've woken up properly (usually it's enough to turn myself over).

nutellalover Wed 29-Jun-11 17:32:34

I had my first very frightening experience of sleep paralysis about six years ago. To me there are two different kinds of it. One that it is very severe and feels like being pinned down and being moved up my bed 'through the wall' (sounds like I'm mad) which is just once iand then over and the other one that could last all night- a kind of drowsy state when I lose control of waking up properly to get out of it. I never made the connection of them both being sleep paralysis until I read this thread!
For me, they feel like paranormal experiences, which scares me even more when I'm caught in it. I hate it so much...I have suffered from it as a young child, but not between the age of circa eight to 22, which I find strange. It seems to happen more if I sleep on my back.

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