Sleep Paralysis

SLAM: debunk creationism, pseudoscience, and superstitions. Discuss logic and morality.

Moderator: Alyrium Denryle

Post Reply
User avatar
Ritterin Sophia
Sith Acolyte
Posts: 5496
Joined: 2006-07-25 09:32am

Sleep Paralysis

Post by Ritterin Sophia »

Recently I've been reading some of my New World of Darkness stuff and I just started on Changeling: The Lost- Dancers in the Dusk, the one about dreamscapes & 'nightmares'. However, this triggered a memory of an event two years ago. I was in a state of what I remember to be between sleep and awake. Out of the corner of my eye, above my doorframe I saw a spider (I'm mildly arachnaphobic) with an abdomen as large as my chest (not inconsiderate considering I have an 19in neck and my normal weight size hovers between 180-200lbs) and I can remember being incapable of moving and then I remember screaming. Only now that I've looked it up do I realize that the likely answer was sleep paralysis as I met a number of the criterion at the time: I was sleeping face up, I was a teenager so weird sleeping patterns didn't seem like a problem at the time, increase stress due to my parents divorce, major lifestyle change (my dad attempted to reintegrate himself into my life after not having been there for nearly fifteen years combined with my mother temporarily moving out since she didn't feel like arguing with him all the time due to said divorce).

So I'm curious, how many of the SDNetizens have experienced sleep paralysis, what were the conditions, and what if anything did your hallucination manifest itself as?
A Certain Clique, HAB, The Chroniclers
User avatar
General Zod
Never Shuts Up
Posts: 29205
Joined: 2003-11-18 03:08pm
Location: The Clearance Rack
Contact:

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by General Zod »

I've gotten this a few times. At its lightest, it's generally a sensation of not being able to control your body like you were falling. The worst I've had it I had was an irrational fear that someone was in the room with me and physically trying to keep me pinned down. Its never lasted for more than a few seconds each time though.
"It's you Americans. There's something about nipples you hate. If this were Germany, we'd be romping around naked on the stage here."

Image

ImageImage
Lord of the Abyss
Village Idiot
Posts: 4046
Joined: 2005-06-15 12:21am
Location: The Abyss

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Lord of the Abyss »

I have on occasion. It's always the same; I can't move, and I hear a fly buzzing nearby coming closer and closer to my head but never actually landing. It took me several incidents to realize it WAS a hallucination; but never being able to find the fly and it always involving sleep paralysis made me decide that yes, there's no actual fly. It generally lasts what seems like a minute or so before I can move, and only happens when I am trying to fall asleep. Never when waking up.
"There are two novels that can change a bookish fourteen-year old's life: The Lord of the Rings and Atlas Shrugged. One is a childish fantasy that often engenders a lifelong obsession with its unbelievable heroes, leading to an emotionally stunted, socially crippled adulthood, unable to deal with the real world. The other, of course, involves orcs." - John Rogers
User avatar
Stark
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 36169
Joined: 2002-07-03 09:56pm
Location: Brisbane, Australia

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Stark »

When I was younger, sometimes waking I'd get something similar (except auditory hallucinations rather than visual). Pretty unpleasant, but it was generally associated with recurring dreams that eventually stopped.
Knobbyboy88
Padawan Learner
Posts: 311
Joined: 2008-04-28 03:56pm

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Knobbyboy88 »

I can remember experiencing at least two incidents which probably counted as sleep paralysis as a young teen. They both occured around 5-6 a.m. as far as I can tell, and both involved me lying on my back unable to move and either seeing or hearing something near me.

The first time it happened, I saw a huge, pulsating black blob on the wall next me which I couldn't really focus my eyes on. It just kind of hovered there for a few seconds and then I woke up. The second time, I could've sworn that I heard some kind of voice ranting at me for like a minute or so. It sounded almost exactly like one of those cheesey demon voices from a Sam Rami movie like Army of Darkness, and it was saying something completely incomprehensible about evil overtaking the house or some such nonsense.

As far as I can tell, it was either sleep paralysis, or I was suffering from an extremely unusual form of mid puberty schizophrenia. :lol:
"Because its in the script!"
Johonebesus
Jedi Master
Posts: 1487
Joined: 2002-07-06 11:26pm

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Johonebesus »

On a few occasions in college I had such experiences. There was never any actual hallucination, but there was an intense terror. The more I tried to fight it and move, the longer it would last. After the first couple of times, I realized what was happening and was able to tell myself to relax and wait. After a moment I would seem to fall back asleep for an instant and then come fully awake.

A few times, when awakened unexpectedly, I had a full blown night terror, jumping up and running around and screaming. Again, I would come to after a few moments. The weird thing was that I seemed almost to have two minds. I seemed fully awake and aware and calmly observing the fear while simultaneously gripped by mindless terror. The first time I actually felt the fear, calmly thought, "boy, that alarm sure has startled me," felt my arm jerk as I tried to turn off the alarm and heard my shout, thought "wow, this sure is an extreme reaction for being startled," then found myself flinging my lamp across the room and crouching down beside the bed.
"Can you eat quarks? Can you spread them on your bed when the cold weather comes?" -Bernard Levin

"Sir: Mr. Bernard Levin asks 'Can you eat quarks?' I estimate that he eats 500,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,001 quarks a day...Yours faithfully..." -Sir Alan Cottrell


Elohim's loving mercy: "Hey, you, don't turn around. WTF! I said DON'T tur- you know what, you're a pillar of salt now. Bitch." - an anonymous commenter
Knobbyboy88
Padawan Learner
Posts: 311
Joined: 2008-04-28 03:56pm

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Knobbyboy88 »

A few times, when awakened unexpectedly, I had a full blown night terror, jumping up and running around and screaming.
I'm not sure, but I believe that I've had a few borderline night terrors when sleeping in hotel rooms and other unusual places.

I tend to sleep with my hand over my face to block any ambient light in the room. When sleeping in unfamilar places, I've founded myself waking up very anxious in the middle of the night, seeing this big dark shape in front of my face (the hand), and just about absolutely losing my shit as a result.

Of course, I always feel like an absolute idiot afterwards. lol
"Because its in the script!"
Alerik the Fortunate
Jedi Knight
Posts: 646
Joined: 2006-07-22 09:25pm
Location: Planet Facepalm, Home of the Dunning-Krugerites

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Alerik the Fortunate »

I used to get sleep paralysis all the time, but now only infrequently. They are inconsistently related to any dreams. I could become semi-conscious with differing degrees of sensory input, from full dream immersion to effective sensory deprivation to actually being able to open my eyes and see my body but be unable to move anything. At first I panicked, since the constricted feeling resembled being unable to breathe. During my more religious days I made peace with dying but prayed to be awakened from it.

Then I discovered that I actually had conscious control over my breathing even though I could do nothing else. I would force myself to begin breathing very rapidly and heavily trying to increase my heart rate and speed my waking. Often I was able to suddenly awake after a short period of focusing on this. I've also tried calling for help, but all that comes out are inarticulate moans. In recent years my wife has been around whenever I've experienced it, and she wakes me up when she hears it. It was rather unsettling to her the first time she heard it, but it was a big relief to actually have someone there to respond.

I also have dreams of being stabbed or covered in cobwebs or trying to run but not being able to make adequate contact with the ground that result in me flailing around in my sleep, enacting the dream in real life. I've been asked at times to sleep elsewhere to stop shaking the bed so that my wife could sleep. That also hasn't happened quite so much lately, but it may be unrelated to the sleep paralysis episodes.
Every day is victory.
No victory is forever.
User avatar
Norade
Jedi Council Member
Posts: 2424
Joined: 2005-09-23 11:33pm
Location: Kelowna, BC, Canada
Contact:

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Norade »

I can't recall any instances of sleep paralysis, but I have more than once suddenly woken up sitting bolt upright heart racing and can't seem to find a reason for it. I usually am not dreaming at this stage and it most commonly happens just as I am about to fall asleep. I've also had falling dreams where I wake up just before hitting the ground just like in a move or something.
School requires more work than I remember it taking...
User avatar
His Divine Shadow
Commence Primary Ignition
Posts: 12206
Joined: 2002-07-03 07:22am
Location: Finland, west coast

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by His Divine Shadow »

Sometimes when I am just about to fall to sleep I get the feeling of falling out of bed and I awake with a sudden jerk. I think that is a form of sleep paralysis.

One time I was really paralysed in my arm for 5 minutes because I slept on it :p
Those who beat their swords into plowshares will plow for those who did not.
User avatar
AMT
Jedi Knight
Posts: 865
Joined: 2008-11-21 12:26pm

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by AMT »

I've had it two times I can remember. One as a child and one a month or so ago. The first time it felt like I was paralyzed and couldn't breath, and seemed to last forever (about 10 minutes or so).

The recent time I was half asleep and awake. I could "see" my bedroom, and gf sleeping next to me, and I was convinced someone was breaking into our apartment, and I was trying to warn her. I eventually was able to scare myself awake enough to start mumbling and talking in fear, waking her up, which woke me up.

Both incidents preyed on my phobias at the time.
The first one was due to me falling out of a tree when I was a kid and fracturing my cheekbone. I was taken to a hospital and kept bound to keep from hurting myself. However, my first memory is being in pain, restrained, and unable to do anything about it. Had a lot of nightmares where I was "trapped" by things and powerless until I had a dream where I pushed it off me. Now I'm not claustrophobic at all. Weird.

The second fear was due to being in an apartment asleep when it was being robbed as a teen, and waking up during it. Thankfully they didn't go into my bedroom, and left, but I felt extremely scared and powerless. I've been paranoid since then whenever I'm alone in an apartment, and feel uncomfortable when I can't see the entrance/exits of one when by myself.
User avatar
Kodiak
Jedi Master
Posts: 1400
Joined: 2005-07-08 02:19pm
Location: The City in the Country

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Kodiak »

I get this all the time, at least once a week and often several times in a night. I actually like it, since I've had it so many times I know what it is and I make a game of things trying to get myself to full wakefulness.
Image PRFYNAFBTFCP
Captain of the MFS Frigate of Pizazz +2 vs. Douchebags - Est vicis pro nonnullus suscito vir

"Are you an idiot? What demand do you think there is for aircraft carriers that aren't government?" - Captain Chewbacca

"I keep my eighteen wives in wonderfully appointed villas by bringing the underwear of god to the heathens. They will come to know God through well protected goodies." - Gandalf

"There is no such thing as being too righteous to understand." - Darth Wong
Intio
Youngling
Posts: 114
Joined: 2009-04-18 03:47pm
Location: Fife, Scotland

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Intio »

As well as having the very common sensations of sudden falling and an inability to run properly in dreams, I've had a couple of mildly common experiences. The first was something that has already been mentioned - the buzzing apporaching my head. In my case it's more of a metallic buzzing sound (imagine a flexible metal ruler being pranged at the edge of a table and then drawn quickly back, like kids did in school), and it seems to start around my shoulder and sweep rapidly over my head.

The second is the sensation of someone else being in the room - although in my case it was the conviction that someone had just stormed through my bedroom door. Apparently this is a common associated symptom of sleep paralysis - although I have no memory of being unable to move at the time.

I'm hesitant to turn this into a "Weird shit that happens when you sleep" thread, since this has nothing to do with paralysis, but I've also had the illusion of thinking I had woken up from a nightmare (escaping Freddy Kruger as it happens) when I was young, and getting out of bed breathing a sigh of relief. On making my way to the livng room I was puzzled as to why the light switch seemed to have spawned extra switches, so I looked to the light fitting to check, and it too seemed to have spawed even more lights than it should have had - that's when it dawned on me that I was still within a dream. Since then I had multiple dream-within-dream experiences.
User avatar
RedImperator
Roosevelt Republican
Posts: 16465
Joined: 2002-07-11 07:59pm
Location: Delaware
Contact:

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by RedImperator »

His Divine Shadow wrote:Sometimes when I am just about to fall to sleep I get the feeling of falling out of bed and I awake with a sudden jerk. I think that is a form of sleep paralysis.
That's called a hypnic jerk; it's unrelated.

I get sleep paralysis virtually every time I sleep outside my usual sleeping time. Afternoon naps are virtually guaranteed to end in sleep paralysis. They're almost always preceded by lucid dreams; I'm not sure why.
Image
Any city gets what it admires, will pay for, and, ultimately, deserves…We want and deserve tin-can architecture in a tinhorn culture. And we will probably be judged not by the monuments we build but by those we have destroyed.--Ada Louise Huxtable, "Farewell to Penn Station", New York Times editorial, 30 October 1963
X-Ray Blues
User avatar
Turin
Jedi Master
Posts: 1066
Joined: 2005-07-22 01:02pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Turin »

RedImperator wrote:I get sleep paralysis virtually every time I sleep outside my usual sleeping time. Afternoon naps are virtually guaranteed to end in sleep paralysis. They're almost always preceded by lucid dreams; I'm not sure why.
I'm not sure about the biology, but there's a strong connection between lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis. When I was much younger and more crunchy-granola, I got into purposeful lucid dreaming. It's a well-known problem if you're trying to deliberately lucid dream. Since both are a mismatch between physical and mental unconsciousness, that's not too surprising. Of course (with respect to the OP), the reason I got into lucid dreaming in the first place was because I had a long history of HPS myself:
In this old post I wrote:As long as folks are telling their little stories, my sleep paralysis experiences were really terrifying, as others have described. When I first started getting them, they included a huge shadow man standing at my bedside (speaking in some kind of distorted foul language), immense pressure on my chest, a droning sound like millions of bees, and a swooning feeling like I was falling. Sometimes instead of falling I would feel like I was being lifted off the bed and pulled towards a pool of black liquid overhead, where I would experience a drowning sensation. Pretty awful.
For whatever reason as I've gotten older I've rarely had this experience -- probably on the order of a year or so since my last time -- and the experience is far less intense. But I also get a lot better sleep in general, take better care of my health, am a lot less stressed out, etc.
User avatar
Ritterin Sophia
Sith Acolyte
Posts: 5496
Joined: 2006-07-25 09:32am

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Ritterin Sophia »

I wouldn't even know how to go about attempting to lucidly dream as all my dreams since I can remember are lucid.
A Certain Clique, HAB, The Chroniclers
User avatar
Turin
Jedi Master
Posts: 1066
Joined: 2005-07-22 01:02pm
Location: Philadelphia, PA

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Turin »

General Schatten wrote:I wouldn't even know how to go about attempting to lucidly dream as all my dreams since I can remember are lucid.
There are a number of techniques that all have to do with messing around with sleeping and wakefulness around the edges of sleep -- at the beginning of the night. Another common method is to train yourself during your waking hours to do a quick self-assessment of consciousness ("reality checks"). If you can get to the point where this is reflexive, you can (allegedly) do it while asleep and "wake up" from a normal dream into a lucid dream. Do a quick google search and you'll run into a million woo-woo sites on the subject, and they all talk about the same stuff. But obviously lucid dreaming deliberately isn't a problem for you.
User avatar
FSTargetDrone
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 7878
Joined: 2004-04-10 06:10pm
Location: Drone HQ, Pennsylvania, USA

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by FSTargetDrone »

RedImperator wrote:
His Divine Shadow wrote:Sometimes when I am just about to fall to sleep I get the feeling of falling out of bed and I awake with a sudden jerk. I think that is a form of sleep paralysis.
That's called a hypnic jerk; it's unrelated.
"Hypnic jerk"? So there IS a term for that! Fascinating. This seems to happen to me now and then. It's the strangest feeling, quite hard to describe.

I swear, the stuff I learn on this board...

Anyway, I think I may have experienced the sleep paralysis, but thinking back, I'm not sure if it really was just a dream.
Image
User avatar
ArmorPierce
Rabid Monkey
Posts: 5904
Joined: 2002-07-04 09:54pm
Location: Born and raised in Brooklyn, unfornately presently in Jersey

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by ArmorPierce »

This thread pops up from time to time on this forums. I have experienced sleep paralysis several times, mostly when I am stressed out and not getting enough sleep. Key to me not having some kind of wild nightmare while it's happening is to stay calm and keep of your mind clear. When I let my mind wonder is when the tricks come like those moving shadows and feeling of being lifted off my, bed and hurled around the room (and those things feel amazingly real btw, you can literally feel the sensations).
Brotherhood of the Monkey @( !.! )@
To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift. ~Steve Prefontaine
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.
User avatar
Havok
Miscreant
Posts: 13016
Joined: 2005-07-02 10:41pm
Location: Oakland CA
Contact:

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Havok »

See, what is going on is alien abductions guys. :D

Sometimes I have this feeling as I lay in bed of the room getting further away, if that makes sense. I have always chalked it up to the brain transitioning from being awake to being asleep and not all my parts operating quite correctly as my eyes are still open.
Image
It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark... and we're wearing sunglasses.
Hit it.
Blank Yellow (NSFW)
"Mostly Harmless Nutcase"
User avatar
ArmorPierce
Rabid Monkey
Posts: 5904
Joined: 2002-07-04 09:54pm
Location: Born and raised in Brooklyn, unfornately presently in Jersey

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by ArmorPierce »

Turin wrote:
General Schatten wrote:I wouldn't even know how to go about attempting to lucidly dream as all my dreams since I can remember are lucid.
There are a number of techniques that all have to do with messing around with sleeping and wakefulness around the edges of sleep -- at the beginning of the night. Another common method is to train yourself during your waking hours to do a quick self-assessment of consciousness ("reality checks"). If you can get to the point where this is reflexive, you can (allegedly) do it while asleep and "wake up" from a normal dream into a lucid dream. Do a quick google search and you'll run into a million woo-woo sites on the subject, and they all talk about the same stuff. But obviously lucid dreaming deliberately isn't a problem for you.

Haha, I remember doing a 'reality check' in my dream and deciding that it was real and that I was not dreaming. Happened several times.
Brotherhood of the Monkey @( !.! )@
To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift. ~Steve Prefontaine
Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at an Elingsh uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht frist and lsat ltteer are in the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae we do not raed ervey lteter by it slef but the wrod as a wlohe.
User avatar
The Duchess of Zeon
Gözde
Posts: 14566
Joined: 2002-09-18 01:06am
Location: Exiled in the Pale of Settlement.

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by The Duchess of Zeon »

My brain seems to have a fail-safe where it cuts out dreams at scary moments sometimes, but over time I've started to be both more vivid and creative and also more assertive, I guess, in my dreams, so that it isn't as necessary. But what usually happens is that I'll wake up with a start when something bad was about to happen, think in an aware fashion (and quite able to move) about how it would be nice for the dream to go... And then fall back asleep and proceed to continue the dream along that course.

I get the hypnic jerk infrequently, more often before than these days, but I've never had sleep paralysis in my life. Instead, though, I'm hypersensitive to noise while sleeping, so even a toilet flushing can wake me up, and I wake up with incredible rapidity--I'll be fully alert and aware within a couple of seconds--which makes it damned difficult to go back to sleep. So loud roommates in the morning can easily ruin my day as it will take me an hour to get back to bed after being woken up like that, which sucks a lot.
The threshold for inclusion in Wikipedia is verifiability, not truth. -- Wikipedia's No Original Research policy page.

In 1966 the Soviets find something on the dark side of the Moon. In 2104 they come back. -- Red Banner / White Star, a nBSG continuation story. Updated to Chapter 4.0 -- 14 January 2013.
User avatar
Spin Echo
Jedi Master
Posts: 1490
Joined: 2006-05-16 05:00am
Location: Land of the Midnight Sun

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by Spin Echo »

I'll sometimes get dreams that I am alone somewhere remote and then someone else appears. I feel threatened and try to yell for help or scream but I can't. I guess it is the sleep paralysis, because I keep trying really hard to yell or scream until I manage to do so, at which point whoever else is sharing the room with me will end up shaking me awake to ask if I'm okay. Interestingly, I think I've only had these dreams when someone else is sleeping in the room.
Doom dOom doOM DOom doomity DooM doom Dooooom Doom DOOM!
User avatar
FSTargetDrone
Emperor's Hand
Posts: 7878
Joined: 2004-04-10 06:10pm
Location: Drone HQ, Pennsylvania, USA

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by FSTargetDrone »

Havok wrote:Sometimes I have this feeling as I lay in bed of the room getting further away, if that makes sense. I have always chalked it up to the brain transitioning from being awake to being asleep and not all my parts operating quite correctly as my eyes are still open.
You too, eh? Though I cannot recall it happening anytime over the two decades or so, when I was much younger, I had similar experiences. I'd be drifting off to sleep, or possibly dreaming, and it felt as if the room was getting larger and larger. Indeed, it "felt" as if I was in a vast space after awhile, where the walls and ceiling of the room seemed to be quite distant from me. I was probably around 8-10 or so, and I never remember feeling frightened. The room was dark, yet the shadowy details of the windows and other things in the room were visible. It was just like I was watching the room growing larger, almost imperceptibly. It wasn't as if the walls were "visibly" receding, they sort of just away from me. I'd sort of lose sight of things and when I "looked back" again in a particular direction, the wall or ceiling was just further and further away. At the same time, however, I knew that the space hadn't changed. It was the same-sized room, yet also different in scale, somehow. It's very hard to describe.
Image
User avatar
CaptainChewbacca
Browncoat Wookiee
Posts: 15746
Joined: 2003-05-06 02:36am
Location: Deep beneath Boatmurdered.

Re: Sleep Paralysis

Post by CaptainChewbacca »

I've had sleep paralysis often, like Kodiak. It used to terrify me, but now I generally just find it annoying. I have found that even with the large muscles paralyzed, I can slowly shake myself awake by flexing fingers or toes to rock myself. Then I stretch, re-position, and go back to sleep.

Only rarely have I been able to successfully do lucid dreaming, as almost always when I realize I am dreaming I will wake up.
Stuart: The only problem is, I'm losing track of which universe I'm in.
You kinda look like Jesus. With a lightsaber.- Peregrin Toker
ImageImage
Post Reply