Waking from a nightmare into sleep paralysis

bellbird

Sponsor
Thank you all who replied.
Definitely one of those situations where it meant a lot to not feel alone, as I found myself crossing paths with another sleep-related symptom (sigh).

I've had periods where I would wake up from a nightmare and have a psychogenic seizure (I've seen a neurologist and ruled out epilepsy there). In some ways they are quite similar to the sleep paralysis; a total loss of control, just one that manifests as movement and the other a complete lack of.

Both got to me quite a lot. Feeling out of control is not a sensation I take easily to.
I learned (for myself) along the way to focus on moving only the top digit of my little finger. I needed to really focus on calming my racing head down and put all I had into that baby finger and once it was released and able to move the rest of my body instantly freed up.
In my mind, my first time words to myself were "Hello sleep paralysis!" - not to minimise the experience, but to dump a boatload of reality on the experience. I know what this is and it's short-lived and I reminded myself of that in the moment. There is no giant black cat in my room - this is sleep paralysis.
I just realize when I can’t move that it’ll go away soon.
When I'd noticed it happening to me, I could pull myself out of it during its weakest point.
The trick? Is a swift assessment of my environment.
So, I really appreciate these suggestions for helping to regain at least some control until it passes.
Seems like with many things, calm thought and a dose of reality is key.
Especially important given the nighttime pre-sleep stress has increased a lot since that night (though last night we had no sleep paralysis episodes so fingers crossed it was just a one-time thing).
Do you know what could have triggered it?
I'm not sure.
That particular night was really rough, nightmare-wise.
Slept 7-8pm, nightmare, slept till 9.30pm, nightmare, slept till 11.30pm, nightmare, awake for four hours till 3.30-4am, slept till 4.30am, nightmare and sleep paralysis episode.

So I guess I was pretty stressed by the time the episode happened.
I’m wondering if there’s something to it (i.e., if certain sleep positions are more conducive—higher risk—than others). Not to say I have much control over what I do with my body while sleeping, but still, I’m curious now
Hmm. In that instance, I was on my right side in a foetal position when it happened, facing away from the person who I was in bed with. Not that I could have alerted them even if we were both facing each other, but somehow facing away from them while that was all happening was especially difficult. I felt so alone.
 

joeylittle

Administrator
Has anyone else experienced this?
Late to the thread, but yeah. Definitely no fun. I always have the "shadowy figure in the corner of the room" variety, which used to be extremely upsetting. Blurred the line between whatever the nightmare was and the paralysis hallucination. Now, I'm a little better at telling myself what it is; but if I'm extremely exhausted, it takes me a minute to remember what's happening.
So I guess I was pretty stressed by the time the episode happened.
Stress is considered to be a major contributing factor in sleep paralysis.
 
Has anyone else experienced this?

I can recall my brief, frightening sleep-paralysis hallucination of the 'black cat pounding on my chest' yet I hadn't perceived any tingling throughout my body during that experience. So, I'm wondering if this intense tingling sensation is common during these experiences. I'd only noticed my paralysis when I realized I couldn't lift my arms to push this imaginary cat off my chest.

If sleep-paralysis is not always accompanied with an intensely unpleasant tingling sensation throughout the body then I may have experienced sleep-paralysis at other times as well without realizing it. And due to the very weird, unrealistic nature of the hallucination I'd often felt no need to move my body during that time -- but only to repeatedly and fearfully ask myself, 'could this (hallucination) possibly be real?' That being said, not every sleep-paralysis episode was accompanied with an hallucination, as most were not. And with no attempted effort to move my body I wouldn't have noticed any paralysis.

I don't recall myself as ever fully waking directly from sleep-paralysis -- I'd always quickly fall back to sleep in perhaps 5 to 10 or 20 seconds. There were also times when I tried to fully awaken myself out of sleep-paralysis only to realize that I couldn't.

Willful thought seemed to have no effect on ending my paralysis. When I'd once witnessing my mother's episode, she became fully conscious and awake immediately after I'd touched her arm. She later told me that the touch of my hand had suddenly broken her paralysis. So perhaps an exterior stimulus might be required to disrupt the sleep-paralysis cycle prematurely.
 

ninja

Sponsor
Yes, more than a couple of times, and my experiences of this seem to mirror yours: guy breaking in. It’s very scary.

I don’t think I’ve ever been aware enough to think to myself, “Ninja, you are presently experiencing an episode of sleep paralysis,” but nonetheless, I have seemed to get less freaked out by them as time has gone on. 🫂
 

Toren

Learning
Used to have this pretty frequently. Worst was the death apparition with the long bony finger that I knew would kill me when it touched my face. I eventually threw myself off the couch. A neurologist diagnosed me with narcolepsy a few years ago as this was happening all the time with other sleep issues
 
Yes, more than a couple of times, and my experiences of this seem to mirror yours: guy breaking in. It’s very scary.

I don’t think I’ve ever been aware enough to think to myself, “Ninja, you are presently experiencing an episode of sleep paralysis,” but nonetheless, I have seemed to get less freaked out by them as time has gone on. 🫂
Sleep-paralysis runs in my family. Fortunately I seemed to grow out of it by my early 20s. And yes, it always begins with an intense thought of dread and always when drifting off to sleep. Then immediately the awful electricial tingling sensation begins in my head then slowly engulf my entire body. as if in a wave. If I couldn't pull myself out of it will happen a second time. Yet it never lasted more a minute or so. Yet this sensation was awful -- like bumping your elbow and experiencing the resulting tingling sensation -- try timagining this sensation spreading across your entire body. It's very unpleasant! But if it is possible to have sleep-paralysis without the tingling, I could see how it might not be noticeable.
 
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