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Wednesday 18 June 2003

Wide a Sleep [floyd]

I think this is my second blog on Electric Death! The first being about Brit Eckland getting starkers in The Wickerman!
For quite a few years I have suffered from Sleep Paralysis and while it can be quite literally terrifying and worrying, it is isn't actually a disorder. Some of the commonest symptoms of SP (sleep paralysis) are a feeling pressure on your chest whilst a sleep or a feeling that your being held down, fear and not being able to move any of your limbs. Not so common symptoms but still very apparent are hallucinations and outer body experiences.
Its only been with in the last year or so that I have realised, with advice from my Doc, that I suffer from SP. Most people have had the feeling of their eyes waking before their body, lying in bed for what seems like hours staring at their eyelids waiting for their brain to kick in. I kinda thought what I had was a more intense version of that. But like last nights attack it can be a very frightening experience.
Feeling very tired and lying in bed listening to the better half talking about something or other I gradually passed out. I heard the T.V go off and the room being dark and then the next thing I remember is struggling to move my arms. I'm dreaming, about what I cant remember, but what ever it was required me to have my arms free maybe to protect myself. It felt like I had been trying for hours to move my body in any direction. I could hear myself shouting and whimpering but Jadey (the miss's) wasn't waking me up. Eventually I woke suddenly, short of breath and grabbed Jadey's arm rambling on about her not waking me. She said she had been awake and I had only been asleep for about 40 minutes and had not said anything in that time (strange for me, I usually snore like a horse!). Its hard to explain the fear involved when you get an attack. Imagine being stuck in a drain pipe with your arms at your side, your wedged in so tight that your breathing becomes laboured which along with the anxiety and fear make it near impossible to relax and calm yourself down. You cant see any way out and you can almost feel your joints millimetres away from the point where they would pop out of their sockets from all the struggling.
Its kinda worrying that one of the causes of SP is so that we don't hurt ourselves or others while dreaming (I can see me clearing the spare room out!). Other reasons include Stress and anxiety, narcolepsy, sleeping on the back, depression.
Alleviating stress, exercising, avoiding sleep deprivation and of course talking to your Doc are ways of making attacks occur less. I've spoken to the Doc and for now I'll go a different route. But I was wondering if anyone who reads this page has experienced Sleep Paralysis, on what level and how they deal/dealt with it.


  1. Personally I'd just cut back on the drugs? :) Heh, seriously - I rabbit on like a bastard when I'm asleep. The missus just given up on telling me about it unless it's really weird. I reckon sleep walking would be the coolest disorder though. The trick would be looking like you've just woken up when you get busted in another woman's bed ;)

  2. Sleep paralysis is extremely common - most people experience it at some point in their lives. Some people it seems to happen to quite often, others rarely. It's happened to me once.The thing about sleep paralysis is that you enter a state somewhere between awake and asleep; you are basically awake and still dreaming. As in a dreaming state our minds fill in the gaps in sensory data, sleep paralysis usually results in a semi-hallucinatory dream reaction to the sense of being unable to move. Before being called sleep paralysis the condition was called 'the night hag', and was believe to be caused by a witch or incubus sitting on your chest. Unsurprisingly people who had heard of the concept would be prone to dream the actual witch. It has been noted that the modern form of this is the alien abduction myth - most 'abductions' occur when people awake to find themselves unable to move...My experience of sleep paralysis was rather different from this, because as soon as I realised I couldn't move I knew it was sleep paralysis and therefore had a curiosity reaction rather than a fear reaction. Instead I tried to figure out what to do to wake up properly; I had a false start where I 'woke' into a dream and had to figure out if I was still dreaming by noticing inconsistencies in the world around me. This allowed me to wake up properly. Bizarre, and actually quite fun. I guess as you've had this for some time and since before you knew what it was you've probably got a fear response pretty well ingrained, which will be what makes it so unpleasant. If you can lodge the notion in your mind that you know what it is and it's nothing bad you'll probably find it a whole lot less worrying when it happens.

  3. Mat: The drugs are your fault!
    AndyK: Thanks for that. Someone mentioned the incubus story to me although its never been apparent in my attacks. They say sleeping on your back is a cause but thats the one place I never sleep. I nearly always sleep on my right hand side facing a wall and occasionally on my front and my breathlessness comes from fighting so hard to 'get free'. Great comment though, cheers!

  4. You generally sleep on your right side which means KV got the full force of your snoring whilst in the IOM. SP sounds awful, as far as I know I haven't experienced anything like that and you are the first person I know to suffer. It might sound a bit stupid but I always sleep better when my bed faces a certain direction in the room, I have to try out a few before finding the one but its worth it.