Patient Comments: Sleep Paralysis - Signs

Please share your signs or symptoms of sleep paralysis.

Comment from: teddy bear, 65-74 (Patient) Published: August 17

I did not know what was happening. All I know is that when the sleep paralysis happens, the only way I can wake up is to try and reach my husband. After a period of fear, I can slowly walk my fingers to my husband and try to wake him. Other times I can whisper 'help me' and for some reason my husband always wakes up to help me. During a sleep paralysis episode, I feel like if I don't wake up, I will die. If I try to go back to sleep, it will happen again. Finally I will get up and read so I don't disturb his sleep. I try to nap every afternoon so I'm not so tired at bedtime. This seems to help.

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Comment from: Nicky, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: July 08

Sleep paralysis more likely happens when I take nap in day time or early morning before waking up. I cannot move my body, sometimes I can see the surroundings; my room, the place I was at but cannot move my body and I have difficulty in breathing. I then try so hard to get off that situation and wake up. It's like if I would not try by myself I will die or remain in that position forever.

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Comment from: Jenny42, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: March 03

Although I have had sporadic experiences with sleep paralysis since my teens, it was only about 6 months ago that I began experiencing it on a more regular basis. Having increased in frequency, I am now having these spells a few times each week, sometimes more than once a night. They are especially bad if I nap. However, contrary to others, I do not experience any sense of a presence in the room. Rather, I simply cannot move, speak, or even open my eyes. It is most alarming for me as I have young children. Once my son was trying to wake me up and I could not force myself to. My paralysis typically lasts a few minutes. It is rather alarming to feel such a lack of control over my own body.

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Comment from: s4rest, 25-34 Female (Patient) Published: February 04

I have been suffering with sleep paralysis since I was around 8 years old. It has never been a pleasant experience and I have never been able to cope with the episodes when they happen. I would say they happen 0 to 6 times a month. Sometimes I can go a month or two without having one and then like last night for instance, it happened to me 8 times in a row. I will fall asleep normal, then awaken around 3 am, stuck in paralysis feeling that someone or something is in the bed with me either floating above me or sitting on/beside me. I feel as if my body is twisting around in different directions and can often hear myself trying to scream but it is muttered and growl like noises instead. I'll then snap out of it often out of breath, awake and scared. I'll try and stay awake and then often I'll doze off again and it will happen again. Sometimes I can see my room and my body. I must say it is nothing pleasant. I find if I exercise regularly they happen less often. Glad others share this same situation and I am not alone.

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Comment from: jewely, 25-34 Female (Caregiver) Published: January 16

I have had several experiences with sleep paralysis (thanks to this site now I know what it is). It happened mostly during a nap in the afternoons when laying on my back. I wake up, I can see my surroundings but I can't move or scream, so I used to get scared and tried convincing my will on the ability to move again. After a minute and much efforts on being able to move and say something, I finally could! I became somehow scared of sleeping in this position as it usually happens then.

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Comment from: Joanne M, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: November 07

I am suffering from sleep paralysis for about 2 years now. I do get the Old Hag syndrome. Last night was the worst one; it had to have lasted for about 30 minutes. I feel myself screaming for my husband and trying to wake myself up. It got so bad last night I actually woke my 86 year old mom up with my moaning. She has no clue I have this condition. Sometimes they play out with different scenarios; from extremely scary to almost sexual. But I can't move. Today my body is so sore from tensing up so bad. I take sleep aids but am now having breakthrough episodes. I don't want to be on medication like this. I am so tired I am scared to sleep, I sometimes stay awake until 2 or 3 in the morning. I just had cancer surgery so yes, I am a little stressed but these started well before this diagnosis. I feel like I am going out of my mind. I am scared this condition will lead to something more serious.

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Sleep Paralysis - Causes Question: Do you know what causes your sleep paralysis?
Sleep Paralysis - Treatment Question: What treatments have been helpful for your sleep paralysis?
Sleep Paralysis - Management Question: Discuss any tips or ways you've learned to manage sleep paralysis.

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