Uncomfortably Numb? (Sleep Paralysis)

Have you ever woken up and then suddenly realized you couldn't move? Not a blink, a twitch, a wriggle of a toe even?  Don't worry, you're not alone, sleep paralysis as it's known is very common and even though it's extremely frightening to experience, thankfully most occurrences only last a few seconds. I say "most" because on very rare occasions they can last for much longer. The reason I know this is because many years ago courtesy of a sleep paralysis episode I was unfortunately trapped within this body for nine hours or more,I was in hospital at the time and had been left unfed for 4 days, I was terrified I was going to be pronounced dead or something. Despite having my reflexes whacked with some implement, and prodded with needles which i was really hoping would kick start my body back to life, and me with it, nothing happened, absolutely nothing, I didn't even flinch, I couldn't. 


The weird thing was, before they started with their prodding and poking i'd been yelling for  help  and then I became aware this person inside was yelling but the words weren't actually leaving the mouth, it was like there were two of me, the one trapped inside and this outer shell  that was broken and had stopped working. The  full story is far too long to go into here, but needless to say I regained all feeling eventually, but it really altered my mind-set on severe disability and those in a vegetative state, because regardless of what the doctors say, i can't help thinking that  maybe the inner person is fine but just trapped inside a broken body that refuses to co-operate?

But back to  the  most common sleep paralysis, it can happen just as you're going off to sleep , on waking and even during a Dream.  Your mind is conscious ( your awake) but your body is unable to move, and you can't speak, some people hallucinate , others may feel a restriction around their throat like they are unable to breathe properly,  It's thought the reason for this strange sensation is down to  REM (Rapid Eye Movement). Understanding anything is the key to lessen the fear, so let's get started, When you're asleep your body is switched off so that you don't literally act out your Dreams, if you wake up (Your mind regains consciousness)  before the REM has finished, you get that sleep paralysis sensation


So to put it simply, the brain and the body go out of sync, your body has nodded off to sleep but your brain is still just awake enough to realise it can no longer control the body. What causes it?  there are many things,  but the most common cause is poor sleep  patterns, and mental health issues, so shift workers and those who repetitively burn the candle both ends, also those who suffer with things  like Depression, Anxiety, Panic Disorders & Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Although in some cases anti-depressants are used to help regulate sleep, it's always best to try and see if you can alter your own life style first . If you are someone that suffers with sleep paralysis on a regular basis, the most important thing is to try and stick to a bedtime routine and be as relaxed as possible, you could look at things such as a lavender bubble bath or meditation, or something  else that makes you feel relaxed and calm, what you don't want to be doing is staying on your laptop or phone until bedtime, the bright white screen fools your brain into thinking it's daylight/daytime,  if you can stop at least an hour before going to bed, that will help. 
If there are  stressful issues in your Life that are impacting , then try and resolve them the best you can or get some professional help, but remember sleep paralysis while extremely frightening isn't dangerous or anything to worry about., other than alerting you to make some life style changes.


 Stay Blessed x

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