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Sleep Paralysis Misdiagnosed As Sleep Apnea

by Rowena

I've been living with sleep paralysis since I was a little girl. But of course at the time I didn't know what was wrong with me -- all I knew was that at night I couldn't move or call out to my mommy.

In high school, I had 12 back-to-back episodes of sleep paralysis in one night, where I would break from it just to become paralyzed again. The doctor at the time diagnosed me as having "stress-induced sleep apnea" after a home sleep test and an EKG.

I lived with that diagnosis for almost 20 years, but it never sat right with me. I was (and still am!) a young, fit, healthy, quiet sleeper -- completely the opposite of the typical person with sleep apnea. So a few weeks ago, at the urging of my significant other, I went to NYU Sleep Center for another consultation. Within 10 mins, the nice doctor diagnosed me with sleep paralysis. Benign, non-threatening sleep paralysis. I am relieved, happy and no longer freaking out that I would be harmed from lack of breathing at night.

The best way for me to get out of a sleep paralysis episode is to try and make noise to wake up my boyfriend, who will in turn wake me up. It works like a charm every time. In instances when he's away, I find that trying to relax and move my fingers is the best way to cope. I still get sleep paralysis about once a week, but I now see it as just the way my body is, and something that I can live with for the rest of my life.

Thanks for letting me share my story.

Comments for Sleep Paralysis Misdiagnosed As Sleep Apnea

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Dec 05, 2010
by: Anonymous


Thanks for sharing your story. Who knows how many will read it and realize they are not crazy and alone.


Dec 15, 2010
misdiagnosed as panic disorder
by: Robert

I have been suffering from sp for the past 3 years since I was 26 years old. I had no idea what was happening to me, I thought I had a serious medical condition. After seeing a number of different doctors and many different trips to the er I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic disorder. I felt so alone and I also was starting to think that maybe I was going crazy, untill I discovered this page. Thank you for sharing your story it gives me hope.

Oct 15, 2014
A hand choking me. NEW
by: Mary

I am 67 years old and have suffered with sp since I was 5 years old. My first incident,I woke up in the middle of the night with a large hand on my neck choking me. Not able to breath, I finally got hold of the hand and threw it to the floor and cried out for my parents. They searched the room, told me it was a nightmare and I would be fine. After several other experiences over the years, I watched a medical program on tv explaining sp. I realized it hasn't killed me yet. When it happens I just go with it and relax.

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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.

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