Medical Questions > Mental Health > Sleep Disorders Forum

dreaming i cant wake up or breathe

This problem has been going on for years.

Sometimes I fall asleep and i dream of myself sleeping at that exact same moment in time. It's like im looking at myself. My eyes are closed and I cant get them to open and it feels like theres something forcing me to stay asleep. I try really hard to open my eyes and wake myself up but I cant and then i start to panic and i force myself to wake up from the dream. When I manage to wake myself up I reposition myself and fall asleep again rather quickly and the dreams come again at least a couple times more that night. I have to get up and move around so they dont come back.

In other dreams when I fall asleep on my back I feel like I cant breathe and I feel like there's something laying on top of me. I cant breathe and I cant move and I start to panic so I have to force myself to wake up from the dream.

Is this like more than some sleep disorder? Im afraid to go back to sleep sometimes.
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First Helper neokrieger
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replied September 14th, 2009
I just had this happening to me this morning. This might explain the issue

http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/sleep -paralysis
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replied September 18th, 2009
I had it for the first time yesterday, its horrible, its been the first time I've actually lied on my back in ages and now this happens, LOL.
It didn't feel like a dream to me, something was telling me that if I didn;t fight it then I;d die.
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replied April 4th, 2011
omg thats what i feel like when it happens 2 me that something is pulling me away an i have 2 fight it or i will slip away into nothing... and while its happening the pull is so strong i want 2 just slip away but my mind is saying no wake up or this is it ....! sometimes i half let ,yself go an in my dream everything gets all dizzy like im uppside down ...an im liek omg this is 2 scary sometimes i see my self like lying ther s i wake my self back up ...an also it happens a few times in a row an i am afraid 2 go back 2 sleep
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replied August 28th, 2010
It's just sleep paralysis! It happens to many of us! Many people have all sorts of experiences - being crushed, not being able to breathe, electric shocks, vibrations all over the body, seeing intense flash lights or humanoid figures by the side of the bed. It can be quite scary, because we don't understand what's happening. We think it's real and we freak out. But it's ok! It's just that your mind is still sort of awake when your body already started to sleep. Or the other ay around if you're waking up.
Usually they are coordinated, but sometimes there's a gap between them. If you learn not be afraid at it, it will slowly subside or you will learn how to actually live with it and have meaningful experiences with it.
For example, this is a fantastic opportunity to enter dreams still awake, then having lucid dreams! If you don't stress and just let go when it happens, your body will fall alseep and your mind will watch calmly the whole process - darkness, then hypnagogic imagery, entering a dream and you'll be able to do whatever you want in your dream, because you're fully aware! Some people also use it to haven out of the body experiences. So it's quite a precious opportunity. See it as a blessing not as a curse! It may be upsetting, it may let you tired and afraid, but slowly you will start feeling ok with it and make it something special. Don't think you're sick. You have an ability to go deep into your mind and play with it! That's a gift few people have!
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replied May 1st, 2013
I'm glad you say it was a good opportunity because I took it. at first i did get frighten, but after the 3rd dream started to appear, i took hold of it. i realized i had the power to do what i wanted to do. i stopped anything that seemed bad from happening. i controlled the people i was dreaming about. i loved every bit of it and kinda hope it happens again soon now that i know the capabilities.
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replied February 18th, 2011
sleep paralysis
I had this thing, funny it was always when i had a sleep thru the day not at night, when i was really exhausted i suppose, i would try and wake up but couldnt and coudnt breathe, tried to shout for help but couldnt, it was hard to push myself to breath and wake up, then i would fall back again, sometimes 3 times, horrible, i would then just stay awake so it would go away but i did feel i was going to die in my sleep, what if i never had the energy to force myself to get up?? I had a really stressfull job and life and suffered from anxiety. It went away for years until after I had my daughter, so I defy think stress and anxiety could be what caused it, i dread to get it again, I have thought about just letting go to see what would happen and to be honest i think i would stop breathing...
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replied October 17th, 2013
Sleep paralysis
I also have many of these experiences, everything each of you have said has happened to me. Last night had to be the worst one, I experienced this for 2-3 hours last night and it was horrible. It first happened to me about 4 months ago, it just came from nowhere. I had never experienced anything like it before and it really terrified me, I cried for several nights when it would happen. I've became use to it, but it's still somewhat debilitating. I've heard people talk about just letting it go and play out but the fear of suffocating or not waking up stops me from pursuing that option. I'm at a stand still and I don't know what to do about it. Any suggestions?
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