Sleep paralysis

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by Perfect Melancholy, Dec 12, 2010.

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  1. Perfect Melancholy

    Perfect Melancholy SF Friend

    Does anyone know any way I can deal with this, it is crippling me as I can only really nap at the moment (too scared to sleep a full night), I am waking up feeling like I cannot move, I feel like someone is on top of me holding me down doing things and it terrfies me ( I am so embaresed to admit this), I cannot see them just sense them it takes ages to wake up, and when I do, I cannot breathe and wake up choking like someone has been sat on my chest, the doctor was pretty much useless, so any advice anything I would be so grateful for.

    I just have no idea what to do......:sad:
    Many thanks

  2. chjones21

    chjones21 Well-Known Member

    All I can say is that I have had that once and it was completely terrifying - it felt like pure fear and pure 'evil'.

    I don't know what you can do about it - but I had exactly the same with being unable to move at all and feeling that pressure on my chest.

    I would suggest 'googling' sleep paralysis - or looking it up on Wikipedia to see whether others who have had it on a more regular basis, have some solutions that they have found. I am sure they have! The internet is absolutely great for that sort of thing and for finding people who have found a way to overcome something. I just wanted to let you know that I know what it is and how very scary it is, too. I only had it the once. And as far as I am concerned once was very much enough, I don't ever want it again!
  3. GreyCat

    GreyCat Well-Known Member

    I don't really know if theres anyway of curing it, but I used to suffer from it very badly myself. I had it so frequently that I eventually started to realise what it was when it happened and this helped me be less freaked out by it. At the time I read up on it, and they say that its something that occurs very rarely after the age of 30, I think Ive had it once in my thirties, but had it alot in my mid twenties. I have a friend who reckons that its caused by taking ecstasy, because everyone she knows whos had it is also someone whos taken that. I cant really say, for myself I was taking a moderate amount of drugs at the time. I was also on Prozac then.

    I cant really say how to cure it. It does eventually go away though, and even though the dreams are really terrifying, eventually you will realise when you are paralysed that it is sleep paralysis, at this point i would always try to control my dream, by thinking of something i wantd to dream about, and i would generally go out of the paralysis dream then, but again this was after months of relentless sleep paralysis.

    is there much on the net about it?
  4. chjones21

    chjones21 Well-Known Member

    There is a bit - this is one for example and just to paraphrase it basically says that the brain stops the body moving when we are sleeping so that when we are dreaming, we are not thrashing about (in reaction to our dream scenario) and bashing our spouse over the head etc. etc. etc. and what happens with sleep paralysis is that you wake up in the wrong order ie normally your brain will release the hold it has on the body and then you wake (able to move and normal) but with sleep paralysis you wake up (become conscious) BEFORE your brain has given your body the go-ahead to move so you feel trapped and paralysed and although it only lasts some seconds before your brain gets round to doing it, it is a very scary some seconds!

    Below is what this one site recommended:

    Treatment of Sleep Paralysis

    Sleep Disorders
    Sleep paralysis is a common condition marked by the inability to move the body or limbs, either during the onset of sleep or upon waking. It is sometimes accompanied by hypnagogic hallucinations. People with sleep paralysis should be assured that they dont have any mental or serious medical illness.

    Sleep paralysis can run in families, but the actual cause of sleep paralysis is not agreed upon or even understood. Although this disorder is sometimes seen in people with narcolepsy, it occurs in many people who do not have narcolepsy.

    This sleep disorder isnt harmful, but those experiencing sleep paralysis are frequently fearful since they do not know what is happening to them. Typically ended by stimuli such as sound or touch, within a matter minutes after a bout of sleep paralysis, the person is able to move again. This could occur just one time in your life, or can be recurrent.

    Medications such as Sodium oxybate (Xyrem) may be prescribed as a cure for sleep paralysis in severe cases, but the best treatment for sleep paralysis is to reduce stress and get the proper amount of sleep.

    Here are some steps to help you cope with Sleep Paralysis.

    1. Learn to recognise your symptoms
    Sleep paralysis affects different people in different ways. Knowing what to expect and how it affects you makes symptoms easier to deal with. Your experience may vary, but some symptoms include: sinister feelings of evil entities watching you, alien abductions, an intruder in your room, rape, an "old hag" attacking or suffocating you in your sleep, and many other frightening experiences that always take place while in a paralyzed state.

    2. Learn about the experiences of others

    It's also easier to deal with such a frightening event when you know you're not the only one. Talk about it with your friends. You may be surprised to learn someone you know has gone through similar occurrences.

    3. Learn your triggers

    Sleep paralysis is triggered by a diversity of situations. Some researchers concur that sleep paralysis is most frequently caused by the position you fall asleep in, usually when lying on your back. Triggers could be things in your life you have no control over, like stress, environment, even your dreams. Keep a journal of your episode of paralysis, tracking details of the experience, the time, your sleep pattern, sleeping position, mental/emotional state before and after you were paralyzed, and if you were paralyzed while falling asleep or upon waking up. This can all be useful information, especially if you decide to see a doctor about the condition.

    4. Avoiding Triggers

    The ideal way to cope with sleep paralysis is not to have it at all, and establishing your personal triggers and working to avoid them will appreciably lessen the chance of experiencing sleep paralysis. For example, if you have sleep paralysis every time you sleep on your back, try sleeping on your side or stomach. If your sleep paralysis happens whenever you work overtime, try to avoid overtime. It's simple and effective.

    5. Regular Sleep

    Sleep patterns have a drastic effect on sleep paralysis. Keeping a regular healthy sleep pattern and getting enough sleep can reduce likelihood of sleep paralysis episodes. Aim to get 8-10 hours of sleep every night at the same time of night every night.

    6. Relaxation

    Although sleep paralysis can be frightening when accompanied by a hallucination, some people only experience the feeling of being paralyzed. When this happens, know that although 20 seconds might seem like five minutes, it's not going to harm you. If you focus on moving, you can break out of it quickly. Try wiggling your big toe and you'll be able to move the rest of your body in no time.

    7. Aging

    Sleep paralysis commonly starts at a young age and is most frequent during teenage years. Paralysis should become less and less frequent as you get older, and by the time you reach 30 years of age the symptoms may disappear completely.

    Other Sleep Paralysis Tips

    - Try taking slightly bigger and bigger breaths. Breathing is the one thing you can still control. Deeper breaths will bring more oxygen to the brain and will wake you up.
    - Eat healthy
    - Consider having a sleep study to diagnose whether the cause of the sleep paralysis may be sleep apnea. With proper treatment of a diagnosed sleep apnea condition, the sleep paralysis events may subside and/or disappear.
    - If you find you are experiencing paralysis as you are falling asleep, try sitting up and staring at a bright light for a minute or so before lying down again. No one is sure why, but this helps some people.
    - Make sure that you are actually awake. What you think is sleep paralysis could actually be a dream, and you will likely be able to discern whether or not it is a dream by moving into the next room. Try moving into the next room, or in general, away from where youre having the paralysis.
  5. Perfect Melancholy

    Perfect Melancholy SF Friend

    Thank you for the advice, the problem is I never get a real nights sleep and no matter how long I sleep for I can still get it, the last time it happened (earlier today) I kept waking and hearing people around me then waking again, It leaves me feeling sick and confused, and I have no idea how to cure it, as I always stressed, but thank you for the replies.
  6. KittyGirl

    KittyGirl Well-Known Member

    I would suggest going to a sleep clinic for a short sleep study~ and then you can get proper help from a doctor and possibly a prescription as well.

    I used to get sleep paralysis weekly - but the last time I had a bout of it was well over a year ago.
  7. chjones21

    chjones21 Well-Known Member

    Another thing a different site mentioned was not to drink any caffeinated drinks before going to bed - as well as trying not to sleep on your back and all the other things mentioned above...

    I would really google it, you can find out a lot about it and there could be one particular thing that resonates with you and will stop it like that!

    It is horrible so I absolutely understand the reluctance to go to sleep.
  8. IV2010

    IV2010 Well-Known Member

    I don't have any advice but it sounds really awful...I hope you find something to fix it soon
  9. may71

    may71 Well-Known Member

    I know it's my answer to everything, but accupuncture and chinese medicine might help.
  10. bhawk

    bhawk Well-Known Member

    see a specialist, although if im brutally honest "sleep disorders" are often sneered at and youll have a hard time getting them to take it seriously.

    What other choice do you have though?
  11. sweep

    sweep Well-Known Member

    i get sleep paralysis quite often, ive noticed i only get it when i lye on my back, so i always sleep on my sides now, but sometimes in the morning when my bed is really comfy i get tempted to sleep on my back and then it happens, i always no its gonna happen cos i hear buzzing sounds
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