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Old 07-17-2011, 04:15 PM
 
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Anyone else suffer from sleep paralysis? Basically, I get 'caught' between sleeping and waking. I'm awake, but I can't move, can't breath properly, and feel a strange 'vibration'. I have to focus very hard on moving a body part like my hand and it can take an hour to break out of it. It basically feels like I'm dying- just a terrible, terrible feeling.

It used to happen only when I was falling asleep, but lately I'm starting to 'ditch out' of dreams...I'll realize I'm dreaming, try to wake up, and end up throwing myself into sleep paralysis. I've seen a sleep doctor, but they had no suggestions other than sleeping pills, which just make it worse.

From my understanding, if I could just relax and not panic I could have true lucid dreams- but I don't know how NOT to panic. So anyone suffer from this and have any suggestions for either stopping it or not fighting it?
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:20 PM
 
Location: Greenwood Village, Colorado
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Probably Aliens.
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Old 07-17-2011, 11:46 PM
 
Location: Tucson for awhile longer
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I've had this periodically for many years. Usually when I have sleep paralysis, it's incorporated into a dream where someone is trying to kill me and I can't scream or move, so it's pretty hard not to panic. I usually awake by sitting up in bed yelling or even catapulting out of bed and I'm sweating and panting. It's scared the bejesus out of more than one bed partner. I once did it in a hotel suite and woke up everyone in the other rooms, too. So embarrassing.

I have a friend who had it almost daily for decades. It had a major negative impact on her life for a long time. She finally found an antidepressant medication that gave her quite a bit of relief. In my case my attacks, which happened several times a year, almost ceased with peri-menopause. That led me to believe mine might have been hormonally induced. I do know, though, that men and women both get it because my father had it occasionally when I was young. That's why it didn't shock me so much when it started happening to me.

But if it's really interfering with sound sleep, you might want to contact a doctor. If you're in an area with a university research hospital, someone might be interested in studying you. I was involved in sleep research at a university-related psychiatric clinic for about five years. Four times a year, I would sleep at the sleep-study lab for three nights, hooked up to electrodes. I was contributing data to a joint study conducted by Yale, Cal Berkeley, and the University of Pittsburgh. It didn't really help me much -- other than getting a free comprehensive examination that proved this problem was not of my own making -- but I believe I might have played a small part in increasing the knowledge base surrounding sleep problems.

Best of luck to you -- as President Clinton would say, "I feel your pain."
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Old 07-18-2011, 05:35 AM
 
Location: Tampa, FL
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I've had it off and on my entire life (always when waking, not when falling asleep) but I haven't had an episode in years because I finally realized it only happened if I was sleeping on my back. So long as I don't sleep on my back it does not happen.
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Old 07-18-2011, 06:18 AM
 
Location: Woodbridge, Virgina
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Has sleep paralysis been researched? I feel there should be a cure or medication for people who are suffering from it, I get it occasionally. I will be drifting off to sleep and am starting to have a scary dream. I donít want to have that dream so try and wake up. I try and move my arms, legs, head and itís a struggle. I canít breathe and feel like I am going to DIE! Finally after I donít know how long I wake up and gasp for air. Now this happens to me rarely but when it does it SUCKS, I still need to go back to sleep but am paranoid that this sleep paralysis may reoccur. My sister has also suffered from it and asked my religious mom for help. My motherís advice was to wake up and pray....okay?? I am looking for a more logical not faith based reason why does this happen? I also have trouble falling asleep takes me at least one hour to do so, have any of you who have sleep paralysis frequently or occasionally have this symptom also? Maybe we can cure ourselves since science seems to be a bit behind on this one .
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VACollegeStudent View Post
Has sleep paralysis been researched? I feel there should be a cure or medication for people who are suffering from it, I get it occasionally. I will be drifting off to sleep and am starting to have a scary dream. I donít want to have that dream so try and wake up. I try and move my arms, legs, head and itís a struggle. I canít breathe and feel like I am going to DIE! Finally after I donít know how long I wake up and gasp for air. Now this happens to me rarely but when it does it SUCKS, I still need to go back to sleep but am paranoid that this sleep paralysis may reoccur. My sister has also suffered from it and asked my religious mom for help. My motherís advice was to wake up and pray....okay?? I am looking for a more logical not faith based reason why does this happen? I also have trouble falling asleep takes me at least one hour to do so, have any of you who have sleep paralysis frequently or occasionally have this symptom also? Maybe we can cure ourselves since science seems to be a bit behind on this one .

It has been studied, and there is a reason it happens. Basically, your body releases a chemical that paralyses you mildly while you are sleeping so you don't act out your dreams and hurt yourself. With sleep paralysis, the onset of sleep is delayed so that you're still awake enough to feel it. That's all- as terrifying as it feels, it's really harmless. So be assured you'll be okay.

To other posters- sleeping on my back if definitely a big trigger for me. Or being overtired. And hormones absolutely are known to play a role. My mother had it too, and it stopped at menopause. So there's that to look forward to. While both men and women can suffer for it, it is more common in women, and tends to run in families.

Sleep paraylsis can lead to full blown lucid dreaming (where you are aware you are dreaming and have complete control of your dreams). So some people find it beneficial. To the person who said aliens...actually, sleep paralysis may well be responsible for some cases of 'alien abduction' or 'demonic possession'. Hallucinations of a threatening presence is common with it, which in why in other countries it is known as 'old hag syndrome' (because people think it's a witch sitting on the chest). If a person has no idea what's happening, they may blame it on any range of things.

Sorry, I find this fascinating. I've done a ton of research over the years...understanding it helped me fell a little less afraid. The only thing it didn't do is give me a solution! I did a full sleep study, and a short round of very lose dose Prozac, but the Prozac made my brain go crazy and I couldn't take it.

To CollegeStudent....I also have DSPS, commonly known as "night owl disease". I have a great deal of trouble sleeping during 'normal' hours. The clock in my head is set different, so if I had my preference I would sleep from 4am to 12pm or so. It's a form of insomnia that is considered very severe and basically unfixable. There are some things you can do to help though. Try keep a sleep diary for a few weeks and see if you notice a pattern- if you do have DSPS, it's important to know it so you can make adjusts in your life. It isn't linked to sleep paralysis directly, but the struggle to sleep during normal hours leads to chronic exhaustion, which can make sleep paralysis more likely to occur. Sleep paralysis IS directly linked to nacrolepsy, so if you have it you may want to consider getting checked.

Okay, I'll stop rambling- its just good to know I'm not alone! I'm just trying to figure how to stop myself from 'ditching out' of dreams- I've had sleep paralysis all my life, but this is new and very bothersome. I probably will have to do another sleep study.
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:36 AM
 
7,497 posts, read 9,274,846 times
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Oh yeah I still have it pretty regularly. It was really scary when I was a child, the first time I had it, I remember wondering if I was really paralyzed. Now, it's no more than a minor annoyance (especially since it seems like I'm always in an uncomfortable position when it happens.)
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Old 07-18-2011, 08:14 PM
 
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this has been happening to me for years as well. It's absolutely terrifying. My mind is awake, but my body is asleep. I noticed that it happens a lot more to me when I am stressed. Maybe just try to get into a ritual before bed. A soothing bath with lavender, chamomile tea, relaxing music...something to calm you. it helped me! good luck!
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