The Consulting Writer

aka The Frazzled Mom

Paralysis and Can’t I Just Sleep Normally??

Sleep Paralysis is something I’ve suffered from for many years. For someone who’s claustrophobic, the inability to move is frightening. If you aren’t aware of the term, I’ll give you something brief:

It’s went I’m conscious, but my body is still asleep. It can happen as I’m falling asleep or waking up. It often happens when I’ve been working a lot and exhausted. Sometimes I need a quick cat nap to feel refreshed. But then that little cat nap (supposed to have been 15 minutes) ends up being two hours. When I wake, I think my eyes are open because I’m “seeing” the bed, the blankets and the window of the room, just as I’d seen them before I’d fallen asleep. My brain will even alter the image to make it look like the sun has changed from afternoon to setting. So now I’m awake, it’s time to get up, but…

I can’t move. At all.

The first time this happened, I panicked, nearly hyperventilating. Did I have some disease that caused paralysis? What was the cause? Was there a cure? Would I be able to move again? It felt like an eternity, but really was probably no more than a minute or two.

It wasn’t until I was watching one of those CSI shows one night that I heard the term “sleep paralysis”. It didn’t have much to do with the plot, but the term seemed to strike a chord in me. I wonder…

So I searched, and I read… article after article, blog after blog. So many suffer from this that it is almost a common occurrence. Here’s how I deal with it, in the moment…

  1. Don’t panic. To do so means to hyperventilate, which does no good. Focus on taking deep, slow breaths.
  2. Begin at the fingertips. Focus on the finger that feels like it is responding to your brain’s commands: move. As you gain one finger, move on to the next. For me, by the time all fingers are moving to curl into my palm, the paralysis breaks and I’m free.

This doesn’t happen often, but it does happen. It isn’t pleasant, but I can deal with it more rationally now. I know when I’m super tired, it could happen, so I might avoid a nap. Also, I can feel the sensation of my body going to sleep before I’m ready to. When that happens, I snap myself out of it. I wake up, I move or roll over. And then I try to go to sleep again.


I’d actually written a short story that was loosely based on my experiences with sleep paralysis….though I took it in a different direction. If you’re interested, click on the link below. The short story, entitled Sleep, is part of a writer’s anthology that is available for free on Smashwords. The authors encourage donations in support of Water Aid.


For the donation site, please visit Just Giving.



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This entry was posted on April 22, 2016 by in Daily Ramblings, Health, Writing and tagged , , , .
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