Sleep Paralysis

I’ve been having little bouts of sleep paralysis lately.  It’s been happening about twice a week for the past few weeks (touch wood it hasn’t happened this week) but it’s a bloody scary experience. 

If you’ve never encountered it, it occurs just as you’re about to fall asleep, or in my case, after waking up.  I’m not able to move any body part or speak.  When I try and think about what I can liken it to, I just think of being held hostage by someone – bound and gagged to the bed – maybe I’ve watched too many episodes of 24! 

It’s as if I’m fighting for control of my body but I’m useless against it.  Even though I’m sort of aware that it’s my mind/body playing tricks it’s very scary.  I sense something is in the room threatening me, but I’m helpless to do anything.  I want to fight and shout out but I can’t.  What if it gets me?  I try and turn my body around and move my head to check behind me but I can’t. 

It doesn’t last very long, mine have been maybe 10-20 seconds but it feels longer.  Even when it’s over I feel very anxious, waiting for something bad to happen – it doesn’t of course, I just drift off to sleep again.

Doing some reading on the interweb some people who suffer with this also have vivid hallucinations when it happens.  They see someone standing next to them, or something sitting on top of them.  Imagine that?  I’d have to wash some bed sheets the next day if that happened to me!

My sleeping patterns are all over the place and I feel very stressed lately so I know that’s why it’s happening, it doesn’t stop it being scary though.  The worst one happened the other night, I had already woken up twice stuck to the bed and useless.  Then, if that wasn’t enough, this last one felt as if someone was pushing on my chest.  It wasn’t painful or anything, but I felt a push down into my chest twice – as if I was being given CPR.  In Chinese culture, sleep paralysis literally translates into “ghost pressing on body”.  Maybe the afterlife is calling for me. 

“Come in Cynical, your time is up” !

And on that cheery note….

don’t have nightmares, do sleep well… 🙂


8 thoughts on “Sleep Paralysis

  1. I HAVE experienced sleep paralysis my whole life,you are wakeing up in the middle of your dreams!your mind is awake but your body is still sleep.this is caused by circulation problems and sleep apnea,get a check up from your doctor

  2. citpam – thanks for the advice. I’ve had sleep problems off and on for a few years now but it’s only recently I have been going through these phases of sleep paralysis. I suppose I should get checked out incase it develops into anything more serious.

  3. I too have experienced this terror. I did some research to see if there were ways to prevent it from happening again. I have read that it usually happens while you are on your back, so I try to make sure I sleep on my side or stomach. I also wear a mask over my eyes so that I am less likely to “wake up” and see things like shadows, demons, monsters, aliens (etc). Also, do not nap longer than an hour because it is more likely to happen at that time. I pray this never happens to me again, it is the worst experience!

  4. Thanks for the tips Cassandra, I do normally sleep on my side and it has definitely occurred whilst I was on my side (I remember shitting myself (not literally!) and not being able to turn over and seeing who/what was behind me). The eye mask seems like a good idea though, it hasn’t happened again since I wrote this post, so fingers crossed it was just a little phase.

  5. I’ve never had sleep paralysis but for years I have had the same nightmare over and over again. Also many many times when I first wake up for a few seconds I don’t know where I am, where I live or where I work. Sometimes I think I’m back in highschool and living at a house I lived in as a young child.

    I used to also think I’d see messages written to me on the ceiling when I would first wake up in the morning.

    I have found that if I wake up and then go back to sleep this is when I have nightmares.

  6. Pingback: Unwanted Visitor « Cynical Scribble

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