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Did you ever wake up and found you were unable to move?

  1. That happened to me once, I was definetely awake but unable to move arms, legs, anything. It only lasted ever so briefly, but it was kind of scary. I've read that this happens to most people, but rarely.

    Can anyone explain to me why this happens? Does it have something to do with why you twich a little sometimes when falling asleep (sometimes waking yourself up - very annoying)?
  2. jcsd
  3. Math Is Hard

    Math Is Hard 4,915
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    sleep paralysis? Oh, yes, it's happened to me a few times in my life. We studied about it in psychology class and it seems to be pretty common. You might want to look at this link:

  4. Oh, I hate that painting (on the site you recommended) with the woman with the creature sitting on her, it seriously gives me the creeps!!

    Reading that site makes me realize that it's happened to me more than once, just the way it's being described, with the feeling that there's some sort of evil precens in the room, and I've known it wasn't real but haven't been able to "pull" myself up into proper awake state. Have been writing that off as nightmares, but I guess that's sleep paralysis then.

    Interesting and scary, don't want to go to sleep now!
  5. Math Is Hard

    Math Is Hard 4,915
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    It's a weird experience, I agree. The main ones I remember were from my mid-teen years - and there weren't very many. There was only one that involved a scary hallucination, but there was no visible "creature" associated with it, I just felt the pressure on my back (I was laying face down) and felt like I was being attacked.

    I think it probably came about because of stress and adolescent hormones and such.

    I was scared of sleeping so I started doing visualization before I went to sleep. I would envision four powerful angels with swords guarding the four posts of my bed. That seemed to prevent any further problems. Maybe you could use a visualization also - it doesn't have to be religious like mine.

    If these are bothering you a lot, you might want to talk to an MD, and just rule out there's nothing neurological going on, but it sounds like you have only had this happen occasionally like I did.
  6. i like math is hard's imagination : 4 powerful sword-armed angels : it boosts your security, doesn't it ? :biggrin:
  7. Math Is Hard

    Math Is Hard 4,915
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    Thanks, Leong. It did help a lot. I felt like my only defense to combat against my own brain's distortions was to create a counteractive visualization with the powers of my imagination. Sort of like fighting fire with fire.
    What I found particularly interesting about this phenomenon is that people have experienced it for many years, and the way it was interpreted depended on the cultural experiences of the person suffering through the episode.

    From some interesting stuff that I read at this site:

    It seems that different cultures throughout time have interpreted sleep paralysis hallucinations as different "spirits" or events according to their environment and experience. For instance:

    Ancestral ghosts - Southeast Asians
    Hag - Irish and Scottish
    Cats - Chinese
    Spectral foxes - Japanese
    Djinn - Arabs
    Guilt - Romans and the Egyptians
    Witchcraft - Mexicans
    Vampires - Europeans
    Demons - Medieval Europe

    At the root of this, it does appear to be some sort of fairly common brain disturbance. Several of the sources I have looked into reference a relationship to these episodes with narcolepsy. I am curious to find out more about what regions of the brain are associated with narcolepsy and what the connection is with sleep paralysis, night terrors, and other sleep disorders.
  8. My culture believes it has something to with the creatures from another realm; ghost and spirit. a friend of mine experienced the same thing. can't move for a moment and felt like being pressed from above by something. when we experience this, we say that we are pressed by a spirit.
  9. Math Is Hard

    Math Is Hard 4,915
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    That's interesting, Leong. Was there any specific image or "creature" that your friend saw when this was happening - like in the list from my previous post? Or was it just a feeling and then an assumption of what "it" was later on? That is so absolutely fascinating that you even have a term for this: "pressed by a spirit". I am pretty sure it is unknown in Western culture. I would be very interested to know where you (and your friend) come from if you don't mind sharing.
  10. I was wondering if anyone can confirm this. I’ve noticed that when twitching occurs it’s usually associated with an image in my mind. For example in my mind I saw myself kicking a ball, (which was only very briefly) and at the same time I saw that happening in my mind, one of my legs spontaneously moved. (I was on the edge of sleep and it woke me up a little)

    The impression I got was that my mind thought the scenario playing out in my mind was real which sent a signal to me leg causing it to move…
  11. Monique

    Monique 4,700
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    Your body is paralyzed during sleep, if it didn't you'd be walking around: sleep walking. So yes: the twitching is related to vivid dreaming :)

    Did anyone ever experience falling asleep while you're still concious? It's a really weird feeling like a cocoon is slowly shrinking around you and you get smaller and smaller.
  12. Been reading a little more about this now, didn't realize how much was written about it on the web!

    Anyway, in another forum I read a possible biological explination as to why sleep paralysis occurs... There's something similar going on with some animals, called Tonic Immobility, when they fake being dead as to avoid being attacked by predators. The animal will lie on its back and to avoid being killed it becomes paralyzed. As long as the predator is near, or even carrying the animal, it stays paralyzed.

    It does remind a lot of sleep paralysis, don't you think? Since most of the times the person experiensing sleep paralysis is lying on his/her back and there's a strong sense of danger or of "something" preying on you. Some people apparently also feel as if they're being moved or carried.

    Also, I read that trying your hardest, like I do, to kick and scream to wake yourself up might defeat the purpose. While sleeping hormones in your body make sure your muscles don't react to whatever's going on in your dreams, and the more you fight to get your muscles working the more at work the hormones are at preventing it. (Can't say for sure this is how it works... it's just what I read.) So best is to try and relax and wait for the rest of your body to wake up.
  13. Monique

    Monique 4,700
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    The purpose of sleep paralysis is to stop you from acting out your dreams. Faking to be dead has nothing to do with paralysis, or does the animal actually loose all control over their muscles?

  14. No, he didn't see anything. that was why he assumed that some spirit was playing some games. He didn't relate it to biology because he knew he did feel the pressure above. I think this answer your question : "Or was it just a feeling and then an assumption of what it was later on ? " Yes. He felt the pressure and assumed that there was something in the room. I see some documentary claiming that some people are gifted with the ability to see this kind of creatures. but as you see, it is just a claim. these gifted eyes, we call them "yin yang" eyes. like what you have got in "The sixth sense". and the term "pressed by spirit", i don't exprience it myself but i do hear a lot of cases like this. the persons experienced called this themselves, so whenever i hear this term, i know what it is all about. i am an asian.

    i know what vast is talking about. it is like you cry in your dream, and then you wake up realizing that there are some tears flowing down your cheek. but i am not sure if this is the case because they were awake and of course they didn't dream of getting paralysed.
  15. @monique

    You might be right there.
    I'm a known sleppwalker (end up in the strangest of places)
    I've found with myself it occurs when i'm going to bed still heavily pondering on some probelm or when i go to bed worrying about something.

    At times i've ended up as far away from my bed as under my parents appletree, thats around 60 meters away from my bed, 60 meters as the bird flies. Not even accounting for the two stairs in between.

    Btw, do sleepwalkers have open eyes or do they walk on memory of their location?
  16. Monique

    Monique 4,700
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    Interesting, the painting in the link hangs at the Detroit Institute of Art: I thought I had seen it for real :smile: Fuseli was a precursor of symbolism and surrealism.. The Nightmare was his most famous painting. Interesting to note is that there is a horse - a mare - in the background :)
  17. Yes, I think the animal does loose control of its muscles if it's experiencing tonic immobility. I also think animals more conciouly fake to be dead or injured, but then that isn't proper tonic immobility. Says a little about it on this site, under Limbic system and Tonic immobility:

    It doesn't refer to sleep paralysis though. I'm not saying the one has anything to do with the other, however, they are a bit similar.

    I don't see how the purpose of sleep paralysis is to stop you from acting out your dreams, because you are basically awake (not dreaming) in your mind, only your body hasn't followed. Rather, stopping you from acting out your dreams, is the purpose of the hormones and the parasympathetic nervous system, as they make your muscles not react to what's going on in your dreams. Sleep paralysis and its purpose, if it has one, is a phenomenon that I don't thind science has quite explained yet.
  18. i used to haf some of the sysptoms above....quite often in the past...but now seemed to grow out of it.....but in my case i get to hear some music while my body's frozen....so watcha supposed to do when it happens? relax?
  19. Thanks Monique! :)

    Yes I’ve had an experience of falling asleep conscious before, except it was very different. It was more like a slide show with hundreds of images being displayed very quickly. This happened in a few stages where the images turned into moving scenes, which then transformed into longer dream sequences…

    I used a breathing technique which seemed to help me stay conscious during the transition.

    An interesting sensation (in regards to paralysis) was felt when I regained normal consciousness though. Kind of like an electric sensation reawaking the body.
  20. Monique

    Monique 4,700
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    Yes, the electric shock awakening is really weird.. I wonder what causes that.
  21. russ_watters

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    I experience that quite a lot. Its literally like feeling your mind disconnect from your body. Then every now and then something snaps you back (that seems to be mainly when I experience it).
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