Friday, August 8, 2014

Sleep Paralysis

Sleep Paralysis is a frightening form of paralysis that occurs when a person finds himself or herself unable to move for a few minutes, most often upon falling asleep or waking up. Symptoms of SP include sensations of noises, smells, levitation, paralysis, terror, and images of frightening intruders. During SP, victims have the terrible feeling of being held down, they cannot move or scream, and even sometimes experience the certainty that someone is in the room with them.

I personally have had two different encounters with sleep paralysis, both times I was sleeping in my bed (Once at home and the other at school). I will admit it was a pretty frightening experience, I could not move any part of my body, besides a very restricted movement of my shoulders, it honestly felt like someone had their arms wrapped around me. Along with not being able to move, I could not scream or even talk for that matter, I would open my mouth and nothing would come out. What I thought was the most interesting part though was what I was actually able to see. Both times I was like down on the right side of my body with my head sideways on the pillow and both times I could see my room out of my right eye crystal clear. Besides the what felt like rapid blinking, I seemed to have full control of my right eye, my left eye however was stuck in whatever dream situation I was in. From what I can remember all I could see was darkness, did not really see or remember much. Like usual, within a few minutes I was fully awake and fully functional, however, I was still extremely creeped out.

After the first situation I realized that once I relaxed myself and calmed down, it was easier to wake myself up. So, in the second situation I was luckily able to do the same thing, making my experience much shorter then the first. After realizing I was able to sort of free myself from SP, I became curious if there were any possible ways to actually wake yourself from SP.

I actually stumbled across 10 steps that are supposed to help you escape from the terrible experience of sleep paralysis.

  1. Don't Fight: When you fell like you are being held down, fighting back actually only intensifies the experience.
  2. Surrender and Go with the Flow: Try to relax yourself and prepare yourself for what is about to happen.
  3. Wiggle Your Toe: Most of the time the tension is focused on your chest, belly, and throat, so focusing your movement on something smaller, like a finger or toe, may help to calm you down.
  4. Clench Your Fist: Very similar to wiggling your toe, this allows you to focus on something that is usually possible to move.
  5. Focus on Your Breathing: Focusing on your breathing and trying to control can help easy your mind and body, making the experience much more bearable.
  6. Lean into Love to find Courage: Think of a comforting or loving situation, whether if it is of a favorite memory or someone you love, this will help to relax your mind and body.
  7. Getting Help from your Sleep Partner: If you share a bed with someone, let them know that you suffer from SP attacks and to wake you if you seem like you are having a nightmare.
  8. Coughing For Help: You may not be able to talk or scream, but coughing is always an option. This allows you to send out a signal for help and can lead to relaxation.
  9. Scrunch Up Your Face: Imagine you just smelt something really bad or tasted something extremely sour, scrunching up your face for some reason helps you break from SP.
  10. Make a Plan: These previous solutions may or may not work for you, if they do then great, but if not find something that does work and stick to it.

I thought these steps were pretty cool and just wanted to share them with you all. I thankfully haven't had to try any of these strategies out yet since I haven't suffer from SP in a while, but hopefully these may work out for you.

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