Sleep Paralysis: Can’t Scream or Move Nightmare

Cope with Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a condition where people are paralyzed at the onset of sleep or upon waking. It is a disorienting condition that may also proffer vivid and terrifying hallucinations. Here are some steps to help you identify and cope with sleep paralysis.

Recognize the Symptoms

  1.  

    Learn to recognize the symptoms. Sleep paralysis can affect you in many different ways. There are, however, some commonalities that people experience, including[1]:

      
     
     
    An inability to move the trunk or limbs at the beginning of sleep or upon awakening 
    • Brief episodes of partial or complete skeletal muscleparalysis
       
    • Visual and auditory hallucinations(people often sense an evil presence, or feel a phantom touch, or hear an unidentifiable noise in the room)
       
    • A sense of breathlessness (or chest pressure)
       
    • Confusion
       
    • Helplessness
       
    • Fear
       
     

What to Do During Sleep Paralysis

  1.  

    Focus on body movement. You may find that you are able to move a part of your body (often your toes, fingers, or tongue) to force yourself to a fully waking state. [2]

      
     
  2.  

    Focus on eye movement. Your ability to open your eyes and look around is generally not hindered by sleep paralysis. Some people recommend rapidly moving their eyes back and forth to break the paralyzed state.[2]

     
      
     
  3.  

    Focus on breathing. Controlled breathing can be an excellent relaxation technique. Knowing some breathing techniques in advance may help you regain control during a sleep paralysis episode.

     

     
     
  4.  

    Imagine yourself moving. Some people intentionally induce a sleep-paralysis state to induce what they believe to be out-of-body experiences. Imagining oneself moving effortlessly from the body may be a pleasant alternative to sleep paralysis.[2]

     
     
     
     
     

Treating the Symptoms

  1.  

    Sleep regularly. Sleep paralysis is thought to happen when the sleeper enters the REM-sleep state prematurely.[2] Since this is more likely to occur when a person is sleep-deprived, maintaining a regular healthy sleep pattern and getting enough sleep can significantly reduce the likelihood of sleep paralysis episodes.[3] If you suffer from insomnia, train yourself to fall asleep more easily.

     
     
     
     
     
     
  2. “Sleeping on my side worked for me.” -Maria

    Sleep on your side. About 60% of sleep paralysis episodes reportedly occur when the sleeper lies on his or her back; to break this habit, sew a pocket or pin a sock to the back of your nightshirt and insert a tennis ball or two.[2]

     

     
     
  3.  

    Exercise regularly.[3] You don’t have to go to the gym. Simply introduce a low-impact exercise regimen to your day. Taking a walk in the morning, for example, is a good idea.

     
     
      
     
  4.  

    Eat healthy. Nothing is more important than what you put inside your body. Cut out the things that will affect your sleep, such as caffeine, alcohol, and sweets.

     
     
     
  5.  

    Relax. Stress interrupts normal sleep cycles, which can greatly contribute to the likelihood of sleep paralysis.[2] There are many things you can do to help you calm down, such as meditating, listening to music, and playing with a pet. Decide what works best for you.

     
     
     
     
  6.  

    See a doctor. When episodes occur once a week for 6 months, it’s time to consult with your personal health care provider.

     
     
     

Further Preemptive Treatments

  1.  

    Talk about it with your friends. It’s much easier to deal with a medical condition when you know you’re not the only one. You might be surprised to learn that someone you know has gone through something similar.

     
     
     
     
     
     
  2.  

    Keep a log. Track the details of the experience, the time, your sleep pattern, sleeping position, mental/emotional state before and after you were paralyzed, and if you were paralyzed while falling asleep or upon waking up. This can all be useful information, especially if you decide to a see a doctor about the condition.

     
     
     
     
     
     
  3.  

    Identify the triggers. Sleep paralysis can be triggered by a variety of situations. For example, some researchers have found that it can be caused by the position you fall asleep in. These researchers recommend sleeping in any position other than your back. It can also be caused by certain sedatives or pain medication. Switching medications can eliminate the problem.

     

     
     
  4.  

    Avoid the triggers. After identifying your personal triggers, do your best to avoid them. This will significantly reduce the chances of experiencing sleep paralysis.

     
     

    Tips

  • Avoid caffeine 5 hours before sleep.
  • Sleep paralysis can be terrifying but it isn’t dangerous or harmful.
  • Consider having your doctor administer a sleep study diagnosis. With proper treatment of a diagnosed sleep apnea condition, the sleep paralysis may subside and/or disappear.
  • If you feel an episode coming on at night, try sitting up and staring at a bright light for a minute or two.
  • If you experience disassociation (“out of body” feelings), try to “feel” the texture of your sheets, clothes, or furniture around you. It’s easier to wake up if you focus on one of your senses. Alternately, ignore the sense of paralysis, and allow yourself to follow the “out of body” feelings; you can turn an unpleasant surprise into an enjoyable lucid dream, which you may be able to control. Try visiting friends or pleasant spots you have visited. No harm can come to you, so don’t be afraid.
  • Sleep paralysis is a very common medical phenomenon. Do not worry about the supernatural or spiritual implications of such an episode.
  • You might find yourself still dreaming while experiencing paralysis. This is the time when sleep paralysis is most confusing. For example, you might awaken to see the outlines of your bedroom, but at the same time you might see an intruder in your dream. These sorts of dreams are common in conjunction with sleep paralysis, and they are known to be exceptionally frightening.
  • You might feel the urge to break free of the paralysis by trying to sit up or moving a lot. Doing this can often cause you to be paralyzed further and the pressure to increase. The best way is to simply relax and recognize that you are in no danger and the feeling will soon pass.

Sources and Citations

  1. Guardian article on sleep paralysis
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 University of Waterloo resources on sleep paralysis – this site also has an ongoing study on sleep paralysis where you can contribute your experiences
  3. 3.0 3.1 Sleep Paralysis Information Service
 

Brian Cuban Interviews Larry North about 11 Healthy Eating Myths

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A FEW TAKEAWAYS in case you missed it.  Brian Cuban asked Larry what it takes to be lean and some of his answers may surprise you.  
SHINE ON:  Foods for Healthy, Glowing Skin
If you think what you eat doesn’t matter, as long as you “work it off” –that’s a myth.  
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According to Larry North, eating healthy makes MORE of a difference than exercise.  Here are 11 Tips from Larry:
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1. You CAN get food, flavor & satisfaction in healthy meals.  Brian mentioned he doesn’t cook and eats out a lot.  Larry said he actually will call the local grocery store where they prepare take-out meals and have them cook/prepare healthy meals for him. Good suggestion.  He orders carefully when at a restaurant. He said  pieces of a cut roll & sashimi is enough.  He believes in eating a lot of good food. He says it’s all about eating. More about the food choices than exercise.
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2. #1 cause of obesity is sugary drinks. Best thing you can do is cut out sodas & sugary coffees out completely.  I’ve been saying this forever. I did so inn 2005 and feel such a difference.  I can personally tell you that your body starts to reject sugar and junk food.
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3. Genetics play a huge role, but HABITS play an even larger role.  Larry stressed that even if you have a lot of family members that are obese, you CAN make a difference by making behavioral changes.
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4. Cardio is overrated.  See #9.
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5. You CAN’T work it off. You have to eat it off (meaning WHAT you eat is more important)
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6. There’s ONE key to a good meal & fitness program. It’s SUSTAINABILITY. You have to ask yourself if you can stick with it long-term. If you can’t sustain it –it will be short-lived.
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7. Behavioral change is the key to fitness.
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8. Work out less; eat better. Larry kept stressing the importance of your food choices. I’m glad about this because I post a lot about healthy foods. I believe a lot of good health (feeling AND looking your best) is nutritional.
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9. 4 to 5 hours of exercise is enough a week.  Larry says if you’re doing more than that –it’s too much.  Brian mentioned that he loves running, but had a problem with his knee and really hates that he can’t run.  Larry said he could get the same benefits from walking –that he doesn’t need to run.
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10. It’s all about what you eat. Plan meals in advance. Larry has two books you can check out. One is “Get Fit” and the most recent is “Living Lean“.
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11.  I missed one.  It’s probably in the book!!  🙂  Wait. I recall another one.   I suppose I should write things down.  Lifting weights. He says you don’t have to spend a great deal of time lifting weights to have it make a difference.  Again, he stresses what you eat as being the most important behavior change you can make.  30 to 40 minutes of even walking 4 days a week keeps you fit when you are eating right.
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The bottom line is you do not need to be a gym rat.
CHECK OUT LARRY NORTH’S BOOK FOR MORE:
THANK YOU, BRIAN. GREAT INTERVIEW.
Link to Revolution Rant with Brian Cuban Show here:   http://tobtr.com/s/3052629.
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Stay healthy, everyone!

Thank you Vickie Rosenberger


I received a comment from Maria at MEDCRUNCH…

Posted on January 18, 2012

I received a comment from Maria at MEDCRUNCH…So I went to her site. It is wonderful. Not only is it a beautiful site but the information she has on the brain is great along with the graphics. Please visit, it is worth a see.

-Vickie Rosenberger https://mariadorfner.wordpress.com/2012/01/13/this-is-your-brain-by-maria-dorfner/

About Vickie

My son was called a real estate savant in Federal Court. I am the mother of Marcus Rosenberger, a brain injured/damaged son, whom I am totally committed to bringing justice to his life. He was vulnerable and taken advantage of by two unscrupulous men. Each day I work to free my son and to tell his story. My heart is broken and so is his. So I write to let the world know about the injustices of the world, about head injuries, prison, aphasia, and all the things my son has had to deal with besides the devastating brain injury he suffered. I want people who suffer the same things and or injustices to know they are not alone and not to give up hope as our loved ones need our strength and support. People need knowledge and my goal is to give them that along with humor, stories, photos, and art.
Hope, Health, and Happiness,
Vickie