Sleep Paralysis - Signs

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What is sleep paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure or a sense of choking. Sleep paralysis may accompany other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is an overpowering need to sleep caused by a problem with the brain's ability to regulate sleep.

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See what others are saying

Comment from: tgwsmw, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: May 03

I am under lots of emotional and financial stress with an aging parent who has Alzheimer's. I've been experiencing episodes of sleep paralysis whenever my husband is working out of town. Last night, I "woke" up and thought someone was in the house with me, but I couldn't move a muscle. In my dream, the intruder was watching me, but I couldn't see him. I was terrified. When I could finally move, I was up for the night too scared to go back to sleep. I've noticed that it tends to happen when I am flat on my back. I have been prescribed Ambien, which helps greatly for me to sleep normally, but I'm afraid to take it when I'm home alone in case I sleepwalk or don't wake up in case of a fire.

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Comment from: lynn, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: April 24

I have had sleep paralysis for over 30 years. I experience auditory, visual, hallucinations with it. I hear angry shouting, chaos, all of which imbibes a sense of evil. As well, I see people in the room, or feel animals jump on the bed, the bed covers lift as if something has crawled under the sheets. It is all quite terrifying. At times, I will seemingly wake up and for a few seconds everything is normal and quiet, but then I feel myself falling back into the paralysis and it all starts again. The time of wakefulness is often too short for me to recover enough to get out of bed and walk around which often helps. It gets much worse with stress.

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