Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis. One of the things I really hate getting in the middle of the night. Heavens, it’s horrible for anyone who’s ever gone through it before. For people who are not too sure what sleep paralysis is, the definition of it according to Google (Cause Google knows almost everything) is:

‘Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon in which a person either during falling asleep or awakening, temporarily experiences an inability to move, speak, or react. It is a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep, characterized by muscle weakness.’

Apparently, not everyone will face this in their life time, so it’s all good news for you guys out there who are not plagued with this curse of sorts. But if you’re in the small group (6.2% of people in the world according to Wikipedia) of people who have experienced sleep paralysis before, it can be a pretty horrifying event. Unfortunately, I am within this small percentage that gets to experience this rather disturbing trial.

I started noticing that I had sleep paralysis about 5 years or so ago when I woke up in the middle of the night for a cup of water. After the drink, as I lay down to sleep again, I felt a very odd sensation. Something was wrong.

I was awake mentally, but my body felt constrained for some odd reason. I couldn’t move my arms, my legs, my neck or even my head. I could only open my eyes and stare at the ceiling in fear. I panicked in my mind and I tried several times to speak or even shout, but I couldn’t even say a word let alone move my mouth. I thought for a moment I was going to be paralyzed for the rest of my life, something a young man shouldn’t ever need to contemplate on his free time.

What happened next really caught me off guard. For some odd reason, I started hearing voices in the background. It came in the form chaotic laughter and chatter like I was in a crowded market or square. I thought for a moment I was hearing ghosts and spirits talking to each other and that got me really riled up. Panicking further, I struggled to get a grip of my body again to move and at least stand up (To run out of the room like a mad man and tell the whole world of the secrets of the dead!). At some point, I felt like I was even being choked, unable to breathe, as if the muscles in my throat couldn’t even bring myself to suck in the all too important air around me. I was frightened but still managed to breathe in gasps.

After struggling for a few minutes, I still felt the weakness in my limbs and gave into it eventually. I closed my eyes and started to think happy thoughts to try and convince myself: this was all just in my head.

Just as fast as it had started, I jolted back up from the bed. Quickly, I ran out of the room and turned on the computer. Clicking furiously on my web browser I had reached the only saving grace I could think of at the moment: Youtube. In the end, the rest of my sleepless night was spent just watching comedians cracking jokes and stuff. That was my first experience.

It would go on to occur many more times in my life before I actually found out that the phenomenon was called ‘sleep paralysis’ (From the all wise and knowing Google). And although traumatic in nature, didn’t actually cause any physical or mental harm. It wasn’t also a sign of mental illness, mainly just mental fatigue or stress. This greatly put me at ease.

These days if I ever experience sleep paralysis again, I usually am very calm in the situation. I tell myself it is just a bodily phenomenon and I should not be intimidated by it. The trick I find to getting around sleep paralysis is to close your eyes, calm down, breathe deeply and think of any happy thoughts. After a short while, the curse will be broken and you can once again take your nap in peace.

Thank heavens it is but a short ordeal these days.

Written By HoiHoiSoi

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