Sunday, 8 March 2015

Let's Talk: Sleep Paralysis

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Ever since I was diagnosed with depression back in 2010, I have also suffered continuously with sleep paralysis. Now many of you are probably wondering, hey? what is sleep paralysis...
What is it?
Sleep paralysis, is when the body goes into a temporary paralysed state, but the mind is awake. In other words your mind is no longer in sleep mode, you can see, you can hear but your body cannot make any movements. This is due to the muscles in your body being so relaxed during sleep, that when you are awakening from your REM sleep there is a delay, in which your body is still in a temporary paralysed mode, whilst trying to catch up with the mind.
My Experiences
The first time I had ever experienced my sleep paralysis, it was the most frightening thing ever, I knew I was awake as my eyes where open and I could look around the room, but I couldn't move my body nor speak any words to call out for help. It was one of the most terrifying experiences of my life. It is scary to think that when you go to have a nap, and you wake up and you see a friend or family in the room, you cant talk to them. Or sometimes you feel as if you are but in fact it is just what the brain is thinking and not speaking.

Now moving on four and a half years, it is still and always will be a terrifying experience, but I have now learnt it is a temporary thing. With the help of counselling and the GP I have been able to understand the science behind Sleep paralysis and I am working round having less paralysis states, 

Sleep paralysis can last from a few seconds to several minutes and never any longer. But when you are experiencing it, it can feel like ages. It is a condition that can happen to anyone but is more prone to teens and young adults and also those who may be going through insomnia or having sleeping difficulties.

 I had a serious case of insomnia for over six months in which I was unable to sleep, and whenever I did I would either fall into sleep paralysis, suffer with night terrors or wake up into sleep paralysis. This is when I experienced having sleep paralysis everyday and night. During this time of my insomnia I was going through a serious case of hallucinations, in which it maximised my sleep paralysis, during my paralysed state  I would see my hallucinations without being able to call out for help or run with fear.  

If you are going through sleep paralysis the main thing to remember is that it is only temporary, and will soon pass, try to keep calm and breathe. Many of you know that I suffer with an anxiety disorder and this condition has been able to trigger off my anxiety but remember also to use techniques to keep you away from that state of panic and to avoid blackouts and panic or anxiety attacks.
Symptoms
As discussed previously symptoms would be feeling that you are awake you can see hear and smell but cannot move the body. In some cases such as mine you may feel as though someone is in the room with you (hallucination) but this is very rare.  After the episode is over you may feel very anxious. 
Tips
There are a few tips that can help aid sleep paralysis, although sleep paralysis isn't something that can be cured simple steps can be taken to ensure it doesn't happen as often.

1. Try not to nap during the day
2. Find a solid bed time routine and stick to a bed time
3. Have 7/8 hours sleep per night
4. Try not to sleep with distractions that can affect sleep ie TV or Radio
5. Try to unwind before bed with a bath to relax the mind nothing to stimulated.

See your GP
These are just tips and tricks I have used before with the help of counsellors and the GP, but if you are finding that you think you may be suffering quite frequently with sleep paralysis, you should contact your GP and discuss this further with a professional.

I hope this was an informative post, and I will be doing more Lets Talk series on Sundays during my lifestyle posts, discussing things I have personally been through and much more. If you have suffered or do suffer with Sleep paralysis I hope this post helps. 

xx

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4 comments

  1. Such a great post! Thanks for sharing! I have/had/do suffer from sleep paralysis. I used to think I was crazy and that it was only me that it happened to. It was after getting them on and off for 3 or 4 years I decided to google it and discovered it was a real thing and happened to other people. Weirdly enough I had one last night which is why your post caught my attention :) I always find that they seem to happen to me when I'm too hot, or feeling constricted just before falling asleep (it might have nothing to do with this but I've just noticed it happens when those conditions are like that).

    John | Shout John

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    1. Thank you so much for your comment, im so glad this post has reached out to you and others and people can relate. xxx

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  2. I've suffered from sleep paralysis in the past. I visited my GP who was hugely supportive as he'd also suffered from it and we worked out it was stress-related.

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    1. Thanks for the comment hun, it can be the worse thing ever if you dont know what it is. xx

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