Medical Questions > Mental Health > Sleep Disorders Forum

My Experience With Sleep Paralysis

Hello people :)

first of all it's nice to be here. Please excuse my bad english since i'm from greece.

I know there's already one topic about sp, but i'd like to offer my experience with it, cause as far as i've seen (and please correct me if i'm wrong), rarely two cases of sp are alike, and most of the times the symptoms are different.

I'm 22 years old, and it all started way back. First time I remember myserf paralyzed and unsuccessfully trying to scream is when I was around 7-8 years old. It happened a couple of times back then, and it was possibly the scariest experience I had...Until eight years ago.

When I was in 10th grade, it started happening again, this time more often, sometimes occuring once per week, and other days even five or six times per night! At that time, my sleep was problematic (still is) and I usually slept early in the morning and woke up in the afternoon. After eight years I still experience it, but i'm used to it now and I don't give it much credit. My reaction usually is "oh damn, here we go again".

I will give examples of the symptoms, and also comments of people who were right beside me when sp occured.

My usual sp experience: many times I can -feel- it coming, sometime minutes before... It's like feeling dizzy or "dizzyness in small but strong amounts". Other times I can also "provoke" it by closing my eyes hard and doing something with my ears which makes me "hear" a similar low-ringing sound to what you hear in sp... There are no exact words to describe it.

Then, the party begins. Total paralysis, always accompanied by the strange ringing sound in my ears, and a mild or moderate tremble (shaking) of my body. The ringing itself (someone actually mentioned hz) either starts low and gradually increases, or starts high and strong. Same thing happens with the trembling.

It has happened to me in any way I sleep, on my back, on my side, or on my chest, but around 90% of the times it occured when I was lying on my back. It usually happens before I fall asleep, though sometimes i've experience it when waking up. I can partially open my eyes and look around, however my vision is blurred. Sometimes I can even make sounds, small murmurs which can be heard. I haven't experienced any hallucinations yet, no chest pain or lack of breath, and it usually ends withing 5-20 seconds. Since i'm almost awake when it happens, I suppose it has to do with the first stages of sleep.

Now, it has also happened some times when I sleep with my girlfriend. The first time it happened when we were together, around two months ago, she told me she felt my body shaking. That time I did not try to notify her of my condition, so no more observations could be made.

Last week I went to stay with her for a while. I explained to her what she should do if she felt me trembling or heard me murmuring noises. I asked her to observe the symptoms and my behavior during the sp, and also to wake me up by 1) shaking me and 2) just shout at me (to find out whether I am in fact sleeping during the episode). When it happened, I immediately tried to make a sound, but the only thing heard was a mild "hmmm". I kept on hmmm-ing until she heard me and shaked me. It stopped. Minutes after the first time, it happened again, but it came stronger, and it took me a while before I managed to call for her help. Although I told her to not shake me the second time, but to just shout at me to wake me, she panicked (can't really blame her) and shook me. Again, it stopped and everything went back to normal. The strange thing is, though I experienced body trembling the second time, she did not feel it.

I'm no doctor and you shouldn't take what I write for granted, those are just what I personally make of sleep paralysis:

sp in general (my experience):
- allegedly has similar symptoms to the first stage of astral projection
(if there's such a thing)
- most of the times, no two experiences are alike
- can occur any time from before falling asleep to shortly after waking up
- can occur in any way you sleep

symptoms (my experience):
- total or partial (can open eyes, mouth) body paralysis
- high-pitched ringing sound in ears
- mild or moderate body tremble
- dizzyness or strong feeling of anticipation before the episode

observations by others (my experience):
- body trembling may be felt by others
- sounds you manage to make will be heard
- having someone shake you (and possibly shout at you) stops the episode

i'd like to hear your commens and additional observations :)
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replied March 5th, 2006
Last Night...
Ok, it happened again last night once...But it was different. I felt it coming when I was awake but possibly I just dreamt about it.

First of all the sound was different...It started weird, I could distinguish some kind of voice when I first heard it, and it was different than the high-pitched noise you usually hear... It sounded like electricity, a loud buzz...

Second, and this is why I believe I just dreamt about it, when it happened I could move parts of my body, like my fingers and toes, and my hands very slowly. So, during the episode I tried to move my hands down on to my legs, and even tried to pinch me. When it stopped my hands rested on my stomach as before the episode...

What i'd like to know is if anyone has experienced something like that... Did I actually dream it happened? And if I just dreamt about it, how come it felt so real? I could partially open my eyes and look at the tv during the episode... :roll:
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replied March 5th, 2006
Ok I think this is the same thing that I have but im not sure..I will tell you what happens to me... This usually hapens 3 times a week or once a moth...It varies... Ill be laying down asleep...Then everything goes dark...Then I start to hear a buzzing sound n it feels as if my whole body is numb...Then it seems as if my eyes are open but its to blury to determine where I am....I try to talk but cant get anything out...Then one night this was happening n I was trying to move slowly I felt my fingers moving but it was as if it was in slow motion.Then I woke up...But soon again I fell asleep n was back in this condition...I slowly moved my hand from my waist to my face.....This happend every so often n I want to no y and what this is??? Can you help me please ive never talked to anyone about this
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replied March 5th, 2006
Experienced User
Aleeping Pills
Take sleeping pills
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replied March 5th, 2006
But it feels like im half awake cuz I can think inside my head but cant see and my whole body feels numb..But sumtimes I can move my fingers.........

How is sleeping pills going to help
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replied March 5th, 2006
Extremely eHealthy
Have you had sleep studies done? Are you under a lot of stress? I am not a dr,. But this could part of your problem!
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replied March 6th, 2006
Hey people!

Well, nothing important happened last night :)

sandyallen: no I haven't done any sleep studies, just read some ebooks on sleeping in general (sleep cycles etc, i've read "how to sleep less and have more energy than you ever had before", it gives some interesting points of view on sleeping and insomnia).

A long time ago, when it first happened I also did some research on astral projection (since a.P. Is said to have similar symptoms in early stages) but nothing extreme. I've also done some research (=read stuff) on parapsychology and the paranormal but i've had episodes of paralysis long before that.

Hmm now that I think about it someone -could- say that the part when I moved and felt my arms were in fact an astal projection experience. I've read somewhere that we all experience astral projection in our sleep, even at an early stage, so I can't dismiss thai option... Yet.

I'll get back to you. I finally found a forum with people who experience the same problems, and i'd like to keep updating this post with any observations I make so you can offer your views and experiences(if that is allowed of course) :)
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replied March 9th, 2006
I just talked with a doctor who said that those episodes may be the results of low magnesium on my body. I will take some medication as suggested, and if it continues I will arrange a meeting with a neurologist :roll:

does anyone know if sleep paralysis could be considered an early symptom, or can be associated with narcolepsy?
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replied October 17th, 2009
Its got to the stage now where i am scared to go to sleep.
About a week ago i went to bed as normal and awoke around 7am- as normal.
When i woke it seemed like i was squeezing my eyes shut I could NOT open my eyes even though i was telling myself to- it was like the signal wasn not getting through.
Nothing happened until today.
I went to bed very early after work- i left the light on.
I awoke around 3.00am and sat up in shock- again my eyes seemed to be squeezed tight shut and took several seconds for them to open.
When they finally did open- after a few seconds, i became aware that my vision was all over the place- the room was twisted and distorted.
I went into a state of panic and within what seemed like minutes my vision returned to normal.

Please i hope someone has had similar problems and might be able to help me- im terrified to go to sleep now in case i lose my sight permanently.

Please help.

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replied November 15th, 2009
If you have sleep paralysis, you most likely have narcolepsy. I am a Registered Nurse and also have narcolepsy. My paralysis started when I was 11 years old. It always happens when going to sleep or upon awakening. Although it is scary, I am now 33 years old and is still dealing with it. When you lay there and everyone else around thinks your sleeping, however inside your head you are screaming I'm hear, I'm hear. Along with the feeling of full body trembles that makes you wonder if you are having a seizure. Now that I have more knowledge, If you do not fight it, the sensation doesn't last as long. Almost all cases of sleep paralysis signal Narcolepsy. The best advice is to make an appointment with a Neurologist, go through a sleep study. Since then I am on a daytime stimulant medication. I have put my life on a schedule routine and I am feeling better. However I must tell you STRESS and sleep depravation is the main cause.
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replied July 8th, 2013
I experienced sp a lot when I was in college due to irregular sleep pattern. First time I experienced it I freaked out. I thought I was dying so did a research about it. One positive side of sp is that you can switch it to lucid dreaming though it's pretty challenging to do. I've tried doing it a couple of times but only successful few times. If you successfully manage to move during sp, you are already dreaming. If you're aware that you are sleeping/ dreaming then you can basically control your dreams. This is lucid dreaming. For me though, as soon as I realize I am on this stage I immediately lose control of it and just slid into regular dreaming.
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