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Story time: My sleep paralysis

December 12, 2017
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I can’t really remember the first time having sleep paralysis, I do remember one time when I was really really scared. But first I will tell you some ins and outs about sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis happens when your mind is awake but your body is asleep and you are unable to move. It’s not harmful and should pass in a few seconds or minutes, but can be very frightening. Many people have sleep paralysis once or twice in their life, while others experience it a few times a month or more regularly. It affects people of all ages but it happens mostly around the age of 20-35. Unlike the visuals in nightmares or lucid dreams, which occur when the eyes are closed in REM sleep, these hallucinations occur in the state between sleeping and waking when the mind is alert and the eyes are open. True visual and auditory hallucinations during sleep paralysis are relatively rare, but many people report feeling an undeniably strange or scary presence in the room.

First experience:
It happened to me when I was really young once, I just assumed I had a bad dream. I got it again in 2015, I do remember this one really well. I was laying on my bed and fell asleep on my back. This was just on a normal day, nothing weird happened before this. Suddenly I heard something standing in my room. It all went by really vague and quick so I can’t exactly tell you what I’ve heard. I tried to keep my eyes closed but felt something like a hand holding my neck. It was literally sliding between my neck and pillow. I couldn’t move so I tried to scream which obviously didn’t work. Before I knew I woke up all sweaty and panicking. This was the first time I experienced something negative. (Sleep paralysis is never positive but I have worse days and better).

My sleep paralysis recently:
I also struggle with anemia because barely I eat meat which means I’m always tired. I do have 3 jobs so my sleeping schedule is really fucked. (sorry for the cursing). I know that I’m the only person that can do something about this schedule but due my 3 jobs its almost impossible to sleep at the same times every night. Imagine having a nightshift from 23:00 until 07:00 during the weekends and wanting to sleep but sleep paralysis keeps u awake until 14:00 and then you have to work at 18:00 again and fall asleep at 02:00 and wake up at 08:00 for the next job. It’s exhausting yes! BUT. I try to stay positive in every way. So lately I have been experiencing this twice a week, sometimes once a week, and sometimes I don’t have it for a whole week. It’s not as bad as the story above, but its still scary. It mostly happens when I’m falling asleep instead of being asleep. I can feel myself falling asleep, but my mind is thinking that there’s someone in my room or I keep on seeing scary faces or seeing scary images in my mind. I know this may sound super super weird and Its not that I’m crazy or what so ever lol. Its almost like my mind is hallucinating scary images while my body is asleep and my mind is awake. Sometimes I hear noises, like people talking or sometimes I hear my name, but its so vague that I can’t remember anything. Its kind of fascinating how the human body and mind works, but also really weird and scary especially when you have no idea whats going on.

Not the only one:
So obviously I’m not the only one having this. Its something loads of people struggle with. I often get DM’s with tips or with stories from my followers having the same problem. I came across this really cool article about an artist that re created his sleep paralysis with pictures –> [read here]

Tips/how to handle sleep paralysis:
– get a good night’s sleep, most adults need six to eight hours of good quality sleep a night
– create a sleeping environment that’s comfortable and quiet.
– It helps me to sleep with a little light on, I haven’t slept with lights off for 3 months now.
– I never have sleep paralysis when I’m sleeping next to someone.
– Drink some tea before going to bed or meditate to keep your mind in peace.
– go to bed at roughly the same time each night and get up at the same time each morning.
– don’t sleep on your back (this is very important).
– make sure your closet is closed and that there aren’t any jackets hanging in your room or any objects that can be mistaken for a person/thing.
– download the app sleeptime, it tells you exactly at what times you move and what times you are in a deep sleep.
– try to wiggle your toes, your body will notice it and you will get out of it sooner.

There is not much more you can do, the internet will give you more tips on seeing a doctor if you are really having troubles while sleeping. In many cases, sleep paralysis is a one-off and won’t happen again. It’s not harmful and isn’t usually a sign of an underlying problem. For me its not necessary to see a doctor because I feel like this is something I need to live with/overcome. And I do know that there are people who have worse sleep paralysis than I do. Its just better then to accept the fact that its there. It makes it less scarier for me to talk about it with people and to keep on reading other peoples stories.

If you are struggling with this, and you feel like you want to share your story or talk about it, please do not hesitate and send me a email or slide in my DM on instagram 🙂

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