Last night the weirdest thing happened to me… I had been sleeping for a few hours, and at about 2AM I had a bad dream. I dreamt that I was in bed, but there was a ghost in my room. It scared me, and so I began to wake myself up.
Instead of being able to wake up, my mind woke up, however my body remained motionless. I was literally paralyzed in my bed, and seriously struggle to breath. It was as if someone was sitting on top of my chest. It was the most horrible sensation, and I was very scared. The only thing I could compare it to is what I imagine it to be like if you are paraplegic, or if you’re possessed. I know this sounds really weird, but it’s the only thing I could think to compare it to. I felt like I was about to be ripped out of bed and thrown against a wall, and was really overwhelming.
Although this only lasted for a few seconds, when I did snap out of it I sat straight up in bed, and was sweating from head to toe. I felt like I’d been fighting for my life, and was totally terrified.
When I woke up this morning, I went onto Google and checked articles… What I found was that this is a really common problem that many people face. It’s called Sleep Paralysis. I discovered that when you are in REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the state in which we have most of our dreams that generally last 60 seconds each or so, that our brain releases a hormone to keep us still/paralyses, in order to prevent us from acting out our dreams. It’s this connection/hormone that sleepwalkers have a problem with.
However I discovered that sometimes your mind can awaken from a dream, however your body remains paralyzed because the receptors in your brain are lagging and have not yet stopped producing the paralysis hormone. This leaves you literally paralyzed in your body. The worst part about this, is that often your sub-conscience allows your previous dream to continue to a certain extent – this can often lead to slight hallucinations, many people see figures or hear sounds near them, and can do nothing to stop them.
Unfortunately sleep paralysis can be hereditary, and it turns out that my mother has experienced this exact feeling numerous times. I found all my info about this from this site. It was really interesting and incredibly enlightening to read all about this, as well as other sleep disorders. Something else I picked up is that you generally only go into REM sleep after a couple of hours, where as I often fall asleep dreaming. Sometimes I wake up from a night’s sleep and feel exhausted, because I know I’ve been dreaming all night, yet I mostly can’t remember my dreams.
Has anyone else experienced this, or felt something similar? Or do you struggle with other sleep related disorders? I’d love to hear your stories! I had no idea how scary this could be until it happened to me!