Strange sleeping behaviour/disorder

Discussion in 'Mental Health Disorders' started by Fdt, May 6, 2010.

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  1. Fdt

    Fdt Well-Known Member

    A friend of mine recently mentioned to me (in confidence) that she's been having really weird sleeping behaviour recently.
    She told me that they're similar to nightmares, only she feels there's a large element of consciousness in them.

    She'd be "asleep", and she'd feel like she was falling while still on her bed, and she'd try to scream but would be completely incapable of moving or talking, she'd then snap into full consciousness but have dead arms or legs, and have the feeling that everything she just felt was completely real, and one time she had to go and ask her mom in the middle of the night if she'd heard her screaming, because she wasn't sure if what she was experiencing was real or not.

    We had a bit of a search on the net, and didn't find much, only something on "semi-paralysis", where during sleep, you have phases where you're aware to a limited extent of whats going on around you, but your body is paralysed to the same extent it is while asleep (ie. when you command your brain to do a movement in your dream, it only carries it out mentally, but not on your physical body).

    I know that's a not a great explanation, but has anybody heard of anything like this before, and what its associated with/caused by?

    She's been having a bit of a traumatic time recently, she was beaten by her Dad on Saturday night, resulting in a break-up of her parents, which is obviously taking a toll on her mind, but I don't know if its directly related to her sleeping problems, since she's appears not too affected by everything while she's awake.
  2. aoeu

    aoeu Well-Known Member

    She could be having lucid dreams (or maybe just vivid ones) combined with sleep paralysis. It would be a rare combination, but possible. I've never experienced sleep paralysis myself but that's exactly how it's described: can't move arms or legs upon waking up. It's commonly associated with irregular sleep (though I'd put my money on it being psychological in nature here.)

    I believe sleeping pills would be the best choice here. She'll be less likely to wake and therefore less likely to remember the nightmares, in addition to being less likely to experience sleep paralysis.
  3. LotusFlower

    LotusFlower Antiquities Friend

    I have had sleep paralysis many times. I can tell you it is absolutely terrifying. You can open your eyes you can see, but you can't move at all. You try to open your mouth and scream but nothing comes out. Sometimes it can be combined with having the feeling that there is something else in the room with you. Like something evil, you can even hallucinate seeing something. One time I had sleep paralysis when I looked there was an "evil" women staring back. I don't know what causes it, but I do know it has something to do with waking up out of REM sleep and your body produces a chemical that "paralysis" your body when in REM to prevent you from acting out your dreams. So you wake up and your brian and body are still "asleep". I do find it happens more when I am doing worse. It doen't last very long but it is scary as hell. I remember it happening the first time and waking up thinking I had a stroke.
  4. neohume

    neohume Well-Known Member

    ive heard of lots of cases of that, its known as
    'old hag syndrome' , closely connected to sleep paralysis. I sympathise with anyone who experiences that, sounds terrifying.
  5. 41021

    41021 Banned Member

    omg. sleep paralysis is absolutely horrifying. i've had it happen three times over a long span of years, and it is so awful!! ugh.
  6. KittyGirl

    KittyGirl Well-Known Member

    ack. I get full out sleep paralysis from time to time-- although not as much now as I did as a teenager. The sleep clinic doctors didn't have any solutions that worked 100%- but some things that could cause her to have any type of semi-paralysis are things like:
    sleeping near (within 2 meters) electronic devices
    abnormal diet (for me- it was trying to survive off of sugar and caffeine)
    exercising around bedtime (within 5 hours of trying to fall asleep)

    I found that I normally got these bouts of sleep paralysis around times of high stress- (just before 'that time' of the month; before exams, etc.)
    And for me it usually lasted between 10-20 minutes of excruciating pain- being unable to move- feeling like I'm being smothered- all 4 limbs completely numb and felt like pins and needles when I would try really hard to move at all. I had to go to the emergency room 2 times in highschool because my brain was processing the pain in a weird way and I was sure that I was dying...
    Although I still get sleep paralysis once a month or so; it's not nearly as painful as it used to be and I don't get as scared.
    The best thing to do is remain calm and quiet and try not to move unless your muscles start to cramp up.
  7. bluegrey

    bluegrey Antiquities Friend

    I occasionally experience sleep paralysis and usually when I am dreaming something horrible like a spider the size of a human hand crawling on me :eek:hmy:. I can't move one single muscle BUT I can alter my breathing like slowing or speeding it up which quickly brings me to full consciousness.
  8. jabooty

    jabooty Banned Member

    yea use to happen to me all the time when i was younger and a few times as an adult. its actually pretty terrifying. sleep paralysis
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