This is probably the most frightening and mysterious sleep disorder and I can speak from personal experience having suffered with this for many years.
Many sufferers are reluctant to talk about the condition as certain aspects of it can appear to be at first glance – of a supernatural nature. Sufferers experience many things during an ‘episode’ of sleep paralysis which can often be very unpleasant.
Basically, Sleep Paralysis is when you awaken usually during the night (although it can occur at any time) to find that your whole body is paralyzed. Other symptoms can include:
Increased heart rate
Whooshing sound in the ears
A feeling that you are not alone in the room
A presence usually malevolent, sitting on your chest or touching parts of your body sometimes in an inappropriate or invasive manner. The presence can often take the form of a haggard old woman and the condition is sometimes referred to as ‘Old Hag Syndrome’
Struggling to breathe
Voices or whispering in your ear
A feeling of floating or being ‘out of your body’
These are just some of the symptoms sufferers experience and it is no wonder that they are reluctant to talk about them. Sufferers have often been dismissed by such ignorant comments as: “You’re just dreaming” or “You’ve had a nightmare and just thought you were awake”.
This is clearly not the case and if anyone is reading this that suffers from sleep paralysis and doesn’t recognize what it is or if you think you are alone or having some kind of mental breakdown then I can assure you THERE IS NOTHING TO FEAR.
Sleep Paralysis is more common than people think and although there is no final explanation of what it actually is, it is widely recognized among the medical profession and we are closer to understanding the causes of it. Although the subject is far too complex to go into in this article there are many and various publications, websites on the subject.
FACT: The singer Sheryl Crowe is a long time sufferer of Sleep Paralysis.