I have looked through the forum. I have one 'big' problem I have always kept secret(on my blog/forums etc..) but it is really starting to bug me and my lack of sleep shows not only in my eyes/face/belly but it impacts my everyday life.
For anyone who doesn???t know, sleep paralysis is probably the scariest thing a person can feel and have no control over at the same time. It runs in families, and usually in families with some 'mental/brain/addiction' problems. And my family is no different. I have a father who has temper/control problems, and 2 brothers who both also suffer sleep paralysis. I don???t think it is a diet related thing, but would like to know if anything about diet can enhance/hinder or help it.
To explain to you what it is like and what it is not like.
It is NOT that feeling of falling before dozing off, everyone has felt that It is NOT a random brain zap or loud noise some people occasionally get while dozing off
Scenario- okay, I lay down to go to bed. I am trying to clear my mind/calm down etc in my dark room and I find a comfortable position, and can feel myself get sleepy...about to fall asleep. Then, this tension/pressure starts and I feel it coming. It starts INSIDE my brain nearish behind my temple and proceeds to go to the back of my brain and then all hell sets lose in my body. It???s sorta like being tazzered throughout your body. I cannot move ANYTHING. I can???t breathe, I can???t move. it is so fing scary I don???t even know how to get someone to grasp how it feels- it is like you???ve been possessed and I would guess if an outsider actually saw this it would look like an exorcism. I can???t control anything when it happens. The only thing I know is that when it happens, I NEED it to stop and am trying to do everything in my power to not let it happen and get it to stop but once it starts you cannot control anything. Then, the rest of the night I am scared to go back to sleep because I don???t want to die/have it happen again. Usually, if it happens once, it will happen again because I can 'feel it' then.
Ahh- I don???t know what I am really asking, just any relation/help/experience...
asked byMallory_1 (1371)
Get FREE instant access to our Paleo For Beginners Guide & 15 FREE Recipes!
on October 08, 2011
at 12:18 AM
I experienced sleep paralysis on a regular basis from my early teens to my mid-twenties. Since then, it's happened much less frequently. Not sure what the difference is, exactly. It stopped around the time my first child was born, and it may be that the differing awareness involved in sleeping when you have young kids (especially co-sleeping - I've had a kid in my bed all but a few months since then) makes sleep paralysis less likely, but that's total hypothesis. Could also be differences in sleep patterns, stress levels, or just growing out of it, which apparently many people do.
Anyways, I agree that knowing what it is helps, as do lucid dreaming and astral projection techniques (Do I believe in astral projection? I'm agnostic. But playing with the techniques can be helpful regardless).
Concentrating on moving one finger also helped me break out of it, though I think the lucid dreaming type things are probably a more positive and overall helpful way of dealing with it.
There's an ongoing study about sleep paralysis going on at http://arts.uwaterloo.ca/~acheyne/ (not 100% sure the study is really still going, but the website is still there, anyways). Doing something like that can help to turn it into more of an intellectual exercise.
on October 07, 2011
at 05:33 PM
I was plagued by sleep paralysis when I was a teenager, the last episode I had was in my early 20's. It is the scariest f'ing thing in the world. You have my deepest sympathy. It has been over 10 years now, and I'm still scared of it.
I never really figured out what made it stop, but I do know what made it worse: Exhaustion and emotional stress. Which leads me to think that adrenal health, thyroid health, high levels of cortisol, and low levels of magnesium all played a role.
I don't know if you have noticed this phenomenon in yourself, but I had my worst postural hypotension episodes during the same time I was having the most sleep paralysis, and would black out pretty much every time I stood up. But sleep paralysis is so stressful in it's own right that I can't imagine someone wouldn't develop an elevated cortisol level and decreased magnesium just from the stress of anticipating it.
It seemed to get better when I started eating meat and going outside in the sun, but if you are here, I'm guessing you are already doing those things. I hope you find relief soon, sorry I don't have a more helpful answer.
on October 07, 2011
at 05:31 PM
The only relief I have found from sleep paralysis is number one, knowing what it is and what the mechanisms are, which greatly relieves the fear factor. It is not an evil being laying on top of you. It happens because you wake up while your body is still in normally induced paralysis from sleep. When you find yourself in that situation, tell yourself that it is a normal mechanism and that it will pass and try to relax. Do not fight it. Number two, getting enough sleep reduces the incidence of sleep paralysis for me. I use Hammer Nutrition Endurolytes HERE(2 capsules before bed). It relieves my restless legs and helps me sleep.
on October 07, 2011
at 05:20 PM
At the risk of also sounding like a flake the only person I know who had this problem got a lot of relief by working with lucid dream techniques, by being more aware she was able to calm herself and explain what was going on and had something reassuring to do (check a poster that was her consciousness/unconsciousness checkpoint. Somehow knowing she was unconscious made it more ok for her.
I sometimes wake while still unable to move, but I understand that isn't the same sort of experience because I feel myself and I am not cut off from the feedback loop like she was, just not able to move. Because of that I can just fall back to sleep without having the fear that seemed to come from not feeling the body properly.
on October 11, 2011
at 12:03 AM
I began experiencing this regularly a little while after starting college: which probably coincided with a significant shift in diet (more fast food and junk), much less sun, less sleep and/or irregular sleep patterns, and general emotional and acute bouts of stress (mid terms, finals, ya know how that can go).
When I tried researching it at the time i came up with all sorts of hokey stuff about alien visitors and demon oppressions and what not (didn't help the stress side of the equation for sure). I recall the phrase being coined "hypnogogic trance" for this phenomenon.
I felt so helpless and the only thing I could do to begin the long disruptive traumatic process of bodily wake was slowly grinding my teeth. As if everything else was tightly chained down to the earth.
So late teens, early 20's this started, tapered off a bit in my late 20's but still an issue. It has been extremely rare for years now, and I do believe dialing in my diet, handling stress and resolving issues in life, getting more outside activities going and improving sleep habits, all must contribute somehow. Though I wouldn't know what the mechanisms are, there seemed to be strong correlation in my personal history.
hope this helps
on October 10, 2011
at 11:53 PM
For me, the things that make sleep paralysis more likely are 1. Irregular sleep schedules (ie - not sticking to the same schedule every night) 2. Getting lots of sleep (I budget for nine hours a night, at seven hours it's less common), and 3. A period of approximately one hour awake when my sleep is interrupted in the middle of the night.
So extrapolating from myself, I'd say that to lessen it's incidence, I would stick strictly to a sleep schedule of about seven hours a night, and try very hard to get fight back to sleep if you're awoken during the night.
on October 10, 2011
at 08:13 AM
I find that I experience SP a lot more when I am really stressed out. =( It is a very very scary experience. Try supplementing with minerals (Magnesium drink, Concentrace) and reducing stress the best you can. Thank you for posting this question! I'm sure it has helped a lot of people to not feel alone. =)
on October 07, 2011
at 08:32 PM
I used to experience sleep paralysis a lot. Only occasionally these days - although most of my dreaming is pretty lucid (which is good sometimes and sucks sometimes).
I'll echo above posters and say the best thing to do is relax, don't fight it, try not to panic, and just try to get yourself to go/go back to sleep.
on October 07, 2011
at 05:46 PM
Sleep paralysis can seem to happen spontaneously, and can also arise in relation to intentionally investigating one's consciousness.
Some years ago I experienced sleep paralysis as something of side effect of practicing meditation, self-hypnosis, autogenic training (self-relaxation) and self-induced guided imagery. There were occasions during my explorations when I became extremely tired, such that I really wanted to go take a nap, which I did. And I quickly fell into a sleep state which included the paralysis you describe, combined with extremely lucid consciousness of "being fully awake yet unable to move my body." In addition, I "heard" and "felt" eerie, astral-like "presences" in the room, like an episode of the Twilight Zone. Sort of like a "haunting." I willed myself "back into my body" and went on with my day. Had a few other such experiences. I practiced remaining lucid, noticing the "presences" and telling myself I had nothing to fear.
Which turned out to be correct. Over time I continued practicing meditation, including noticing the drowsiness when it showed up, just as I noticed other mental/physical phenomena, as phenomena, rather than getting caught up in the content, or feeling the need to act on this or that impulse. Wise to practice not get caught up in (attached to) exotic states, whether seemingly positive or not, or for that matter, whether waking or sleeping, or betwixt/between.
"Sleep paralysis" is but one of many interesting experiential possibilities that occur in relation to known or unknown triggers. At another time of my life, I studied and practiced lucid dreaming: the intentional cultivation of the state of being aware that one is in a dream state, and from that vantage point seeking to direct/shape the dream. When one gets into those regions of experiential reality, well, Alice's looking-glass adventures can seem like dispassionate journalism.
As for possible "Paleo" connections: It seems safe to imagine that our hunter-gatherer ancestors were not unfamiliar with remarkable states of consciousness, which almost certainly they would not have experienced as "happening to them as a unique self" in quite the way we do, in the wake of Freud and ego-psychology in general. There is considerable evidence our ancestors used psychedelic substances in the context of rituals and ordeals of a clearly religious/spiritual/shamanic nature.
I give William James the last word, from his remarkable book "Varieties of Religious Experience":
"Our normal waking consciousness . . . is but one special type of consciousness, whilst all about it, parted from it by the flimsiest of screens, there lie potential forms of consciousness entirely different. We may go through life without suspecting their existence; but apply the requisite stimulus and at a touch they are all there in all their completeness . . . No account of the universe in its totality can be final which leaves these other forms of consciousness quite disregarded."
on July 15, 2013
at 12:00 AM
Hi, I'm 21 and last night I experienced my very FIRST attack of sleep paralysis. I assume that's what it was, after reading people's stories. It began shortly after I woke up after sleeping for about 15minutes. As soon as I closed my eyes again, my body couldn't move. I couldn't open my EYES, I couldn't move my ARMS or LEGS and I couldn't BREATHE. I had both eyes closed, I couldn't open them, but subconsciously I was very much awake. The even more scary thing is that while this was happening, a girl with long dark hair covering her face was walking towards me and she was face to face with me for the whole length of the paralysis. This lasted for about 45seconds to a minute. Scariest experience of my life, has anyone else seen things while they were under the paralysis?
on January 29, 2013
at 11:54 AM
Physiological symptoms of sleep paralysis are the same with those of syncope. Thus, sleep paralysis is caused by syncope. For experts in cardiovascular diseases, sleep paralysis or syncope is a common symptoms of cardiovascular disease【1】. For a long time, due to the ignorance of physiological knowledge of syncope , ischemie cerebrale , slow beat, fast beat and so on, psychological illusion in people’s sleep generated by such physical symptoms i.e. the nightmare really has puzzled the psychologists, therefore they put forward a wide range of wrong even absurd views on the nightmares, which both have no scientific basis, and could not be confirmed, even more were not self-consistent. For example, a medical expert Debacke drew the correct conclusion that the anxiety-dream resulted from ischemie cerebrale according to the physiological symptoms of the anxiety-dream of a boy of thirteen. Freud called such view was a " medical mythology" in the book of Dream Psychology. Most important,the experiment confirmed the idea. For example, a place in country , there is a "haunted" bed which makes people have sleep paralysis or syncope every night, and it is this fact that the pillow in the bed is too high will reduce cerebral blood flow. 【1】 http://www.medhelp.org/posts/Sleep-Disorders/Nocturnal-fainting/show/11612
on October 18, 2011
at 12:01 PM
It is perfectly normal and everyone experiences paralysis during sleep, just most don't remember it. Its purpose is to prevent you acting out your dreams etc and hurting yourself. Imagine all the thrashing around in bed otherwise. I can be scary to wake up slowly while still paralysed and easily cause panic. You seem to have it the other way around and the paralysis sets in before sleep hits you. Good luck and try not to let it upset you.
on October 17, 2011
at 02:24 PM
I feel for your situation, and agree with the general assessment that it is related to stress/fatigue. I have experienced the same thing many times. For me, what worked was to (1) recognize its onset; (2) imagine I was at the top of a long slide, and (3) hunker down knowing that at the bottom of the slide I'd soon be asleep. Knowing that I could whoosh by the worst of it with my eyes closed made the scary part much easier to deal with. Sort of like closing your eyes at the scary part of a movie. Good luck.