Happy Thursday my loves…
(Photo Credit: nile-can-too.deviantart.com )
I think stress is taking its toll on me. Ever since I became a mommy, I always experience sleep paralysis. I don’t know if lack of sleep is the reason but I am getting scared already because it happens more frequently nowadays. Sometimes I get paralysed at least twice in just one sleeping.
What exactly do I experience? Every time I experience sleep paralysis, the same thing happens. I sleep and then I wake up in a middle of something really scary and I can’t speak or move any part of my body. I see shadows and scary forces all around me and I try to shout or open my eyes but I just can’t. I know I am in a dream. What happens is that my mind is already conscious that I am in a dream world. It’s like my brain has already shifted to its conscious state but my body is still in subconscious state. The paralysis lasts from a few seconds to like a minute. I pray at the top of my voice – at least in my head because no actual voice is coming out of my mouth. When I start rebuking what I consider as dark forces, I get calm and I get to move. I convince myself that I should relax so that eventually my muscles will start to move.
Sleep paralysis would not be too scary if not for the shadows that I see every time I experience this phenomena.
So being the obsessive compulsive that I am, I spent nights researching about sleep paralysis. I even decided to watch the movie “Shadow People” so I can better understand my experiences. Don’t judge me my loves. I just want to understand what I am going through because honestly, there are times when I am already afraid to sleep because of this. And what’s really keep my thoughts going is that my sleep paralysis encounters only happen in certain places – when I sleep in our bedroom or in the couch. When I sleep in other people’s beds – I mean my sisters’ beds – I don’t really experience sleep paralysis. I don’t know why this happens but I am determined to get my head into it.
So what is sleep paralysis? It has been referred to in many different terms particularly in supernatural beliefs. Some people believe myths of the incubus and the succubus, which they say is evil force that pins down a sleeping person so that he can’t move. There are also the shadow people appearances. In my experience, I can really see shadow figures during my sleep paralysis experiences. But according to researchers, these are mere hallucinations because during sleep paralysis, we are literally awake in the dream world.
So in layman’s terms, sleep paralysis is simply being mentally awake while your body is still asleep. It is being mentally awake but physically asleep. In my case, it is being awake in the middle of my nightmares. I know it is scary but somehow I am getting used to it already.
According to David McCarty, a sleep researcher at the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center’s Sleep Medicine Program, there are different elements and stages of sleep. During REM (Rapid Eye Movement) stage, there are 3 components involved: 1. you are unconscious, 2. you experience a variety of sensory experiences, and 3. all the muscles are in a stage called ATONIA. This is the stage wherein the muscles are paralyzed. This way, we will not act out our dreams. Sounds reasonable; otherwise, I will be running relentlessly every night. So during sleep paralysis, only two of the REM components are present – the numbers 2 and 3. You are conscious! I know…scary, right?
SYMPTOMS OF SLEEP PARALYSIS
You might want to know the symptoms of sleep paralysis because you might be experiencing it already without even knowing it. The symptoms are:
* Inability to move or speak (check for me)
* Visual and auditory hallucinations (check for me)
* Breathlessness (Chest Pressure) (check for me)
* Confusion (check for me as I don’t know if I am awake or asleep)
* Helplessness (check for me)
* Fear (check for me – imagine seeing shadow figures while you are mentally awake)
WHAT TO DO DURING SLEEP PARALYSIS
I somehow manage to wake myself up every time I experience sleep paralysis. These are some of the techniques that I do:
* Opening my eyes as wide as possible. During sleep paralysis, this is just the hardest thing to do. Trust me, I’ve experienced this a hundred times already.
* Try to move your toes or fingers. If you can just move a bit, you will wake up.
* Relax your mind. I console myself by saying “this is just a dream” and I will wake up soon.
* PRAY. This is the most important thing to do. I rebuke any bad things in my mind. God is our God whether we are awake or asleep.
WHAT TO DO TO PREVENT SLEEP PARALYSIS
So I was looking for ways to prevent sleep paralysis and I found these:
* Exercise. This will help regulate your body and give you a good night’s rest at the end of the day.
* Sleep on your side. Aside from the fact that during sleep paralysis you will be able to move your body easily if you are on your side, research studies also show that people who lie flat on their backs are more prone to sleep paralysis.
* Eat healthy foods. You wouldn’t want too much caffeine, sweets, and alcohol just before bedtime.
* Pray before you sleep.
If you are experiencing sleep paralysis like me, I can relate to how fearful it is for you to sleep by yourself. I am scared to sleep alone because of this but thank God I have the assurance that He is with me even when I drift off to dreamland :)
If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.