The following is a visitor-submitted question or story. For more, you can submit your own sleep story here, or browse the collection of experiences and questions other visitors have shared here.

Freaked Out

by Paige
(Canada)

I believe I suffer from Sleep Paralysis. Every night right before I'm about to go to sleep everything slowly fades darker then it already is, it feels like I'm slowly falling sideways, then I can't move, talk or scream...the only way I can get out of it is if I move my jaw back and forth or if I try to move my fingers...


One weird thing is when I move my fingers I hear scraping but I wake up and my hand wasn't against anything to make that noise it was just in the air...? I go in and out of it repeatedly (feels like 20 times) before I actually fall asleep.

This has been happening for 10 years..I'm now 16. It's been really active lately so I decided to research about it..I came across this page and once I saw the painting "The Nightmare" that's posted here, I've never been so freaked out before for a few of my experiences I've seen a gremlin demon like creature crouching on my chest staring at me just like that painting. I don't know if this is normal but I've had a paralysis experience going down the stairs...


Kevin: Hey Paige, thanks for sharing your story. When you say you had a paralysis experience going down the stairs do you mean you were awake and just walking down the stairs when your body became paralyzed? If that more or less describes it, that sounds like it could have been what's called a cataplectic attack.

(Cataplexy is the sudden loss of muscle tone caused by strong emotions. A funny joke might cause weakness of the knees, or complete (but temporary) paralysis, wherein the person remains conscious. Attacks occur anytime during the waking period, but are usually present after several weeks or months of excessive daytime sleepiness.)

Cataplexy, in addition to sleep paralysis at the onset of sleep, are symptoms of a neurological condition called narcolepsy. You can read more about narcolepsy and see if you can relate to anything else on this page.

The gremlin imagery you describe being reminded of after seeing "The Nightmare" is known as hypnagogic hallucinations, and are actually experienced by quite a large number of people, despite the fact that we almost never hear about them.

Since your sleep paralysis is particularly active lately you may be interested in reading this book about taking control of it, written by a dream researcher who has dealt with it for almost two decades. Additionally, if you think cataplexy sounds like something you've experienced, you may want to consider talking with your doctor about it.

Warmly,
Kevin

Click here to post comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Sleep Paralysis Stories.




Enjoy this page? Please help us pay it forward to others who would find it valuable by Liking, Sharing, Tweeting, Stumbling, and/or Voting below.

About This Site

Welcome! This site is continuously being created by students of Dr. William C. Dement's Sleep And Dreams course at Stanford University.

We made this site as a call to action for people all over the world to live healthier, happier, safer, and more productive lives by learning about their own sleep. We have faith that reading the information provided on this site will motivate you to be smart about your sleep deprivation and strategic about your alertness in order to live life to your fullest, most energetic potential.

In fact, we challenge you to do so! What do you say, are you up for the challenge?


A Note On Visitor-Submitted Questions:

Publishing sleep stories and questions from our visitors is meant to create a forum for open and proactive dialogue about an extremely important portion of our lives (one that occupies 1/3 of it and affects the other 2/3) that isn't talked about enough. It is not meant to substitute a trip to the doctor or the advice of a specialist. It's good to talk; it is not good to avoid consulting someone who's profession it is to help you with this kind of stuff.

If you are in any way concerned about your sleep health, don't wait for an answer on here, and don't necessarily rely on them. See a sleep specialist in your area as soon as possible.

More Questions:

Ask | Answer

The Stanford Sleep Book

Stanford Sleep Book Picture

Dr. Dement's pioneering textbook has been the core text for Sleep and Dreams since 1980, but it has just recently been made available to the wider public for the first time.

In it you'll find a more detailed account of the most important things you need to know about sleep, alertness, dreams, and sleep disorders. Studies, statistics, plus plenty of Dr. Dement's classic anecdotes painting the history of sleep medicine.

Preface | Intro | Contents | Get A Copy

More Sleep Resources

The Zeo

A revolution in personal sleep tracking, the Zeo is a wireless headband that transmits your brainwaves in realtime to a dock (pictured here) or your smartphone. The result? You can wake up and see exactly what stages of sleep you were in during the night! Unprecedented personalized sleep knowledge.

Sleep Paralysis: A Dreamer's Guide

Sleep Paralysis Treatment Book

Ever woken up paralyzed? A surprising number of us have, believe it or not. But few know the actual causes of this phenomenon, and fewer still how to exert control over it. Dream researcher and sleep paralysis expert Ryan Hurd shares breakthrough insights into how to do just that.

Important Disclaimer

Please Note:

The information found on this page and throughout this site is intended for general information purposes only. While it may prove useful and empowering, it is NOT intended as a substitute for the expertise and judgments of healthcare practitioners.

For more info, see our
Terms of Use.