Sunday, December 30, 2007

Sleeping Beauty

I've just been skimming this article on sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is a horrible phenomenon during which your brain wakes up enough to know you're not asleep anymore, but you still can't move any part of your body. All you can do is struggle internally and moan like a zombie.

I woke Ken this morning by lying next to him with no muscle control, mooing "Mnuuuuuuhhhhhh! Mnuuuuuuhhhhhh!" I've taught him that this is his cue to gently shake me until my neurological breaker switch clicks and I regain control of my body. If he's not there to save me, I have to struggle through it by myself.

I HATE dealing with sleep paralysis alone. Waking up should be simple enough. Your eyes blink open, and you're awake. A newborn baby can do it. But I can end up lying there for what seems like an eternity, saying to myself "OK, I'm going to move my right arm now. I'm going to push back the blankets, roll over, and sit up. 1, 2, 3, GO!" My brain sends the signal. My dream-arm pushes at imaginary blankets. But I'm also aware that my real arm is still lying by my side like a dead snake. So I try again. "Alright, this time I'm really going to do it. I'm going to move... NOW!" Still nothing. And so on. Until finally something snaps and I break through to movement. Then I know I'd better get myself right up and walking around, or I could doze and slip back into limbo again.

Once I finally managed to get on my feet today, I went out with a girlfriend on a bun-seeking mission. We found what we were looking for here:

Everyone knows the best bun is a Ding Dong bun!


jameil1922 said...

OMG!! I totally have this and i hate it. i never knew it had a name. its horrendous. i've never been with anyone who knew the cue and am currently very single. lucky you. its so frustrating. nice to know i'm not alone b/c no one else ever knows what i'm talking about.

jameil1922 said...

so i read the tips and some of them are very stupid but i really like the breathing deeply and not sleeping on your back. i love sleeping on my back but now that i think about it, it definitely happens when i'm on my back.

Jen said...

I didn't know what this was until earlier this year and finally realized what was happening to me when I read up on it. I don't make any noise that I'm aware of though. Just feels like I'm dying because it's usually accompanied by the sensation of being smothered. And hallucinations. Like there's someone in the room or on the bed with me or the worst was someone touching me but I couldn't move or wake up or do anything. Turns out I probably have narcolepsy. Hurrah. The only good part is that I know what's happening now and it doesn't scare me quite as much and I know, somewhere in my brain, that I'm not actually dying. I also try not to sleep on my back anymore.

R.E.H. said...

Hmmm... I lay in bed for about an hour most every morning before I can get out of bed. I can move my arms, and roll over to my side, but there is no way on earth I can sit my ass up... does that qualify for a diagnosis?

Seriously though, that's got to be very frustrating.

Nothing a Ding Dong bun wouldn't cure however ;)

Sparkling Red said...

Jameil: Good luck with the tips. I'd be interested to know if they help. I find I can usually avoid it as long as I stick to a regular sleep-wake schedule. Naps and sleeping in are what set me off.

Jen: Yeeesh! Those are scary hallucinations. I have had some hallucinations, but they are usually neutral, like seeing shapes floating over the bed. It's so weird.

R.E.H.: It sounds like you are suffering from Ass Paralysis. Ding Dong buns would definitely help. It stands to reason that good buns would help any problem related to your ass. ;-)

Jen said...

It was more scary when I had no idea what was going on. I really thought I was dying sometimes because I couldn't breathe. Now I'm going for a sleep study sometime in 2008 and the specialist pretty much said I have narcolepsy but isn't writing anything on paper before the sleep study. Knowing that other people are experiencing it is really helpful on some level. I don't feel so alone with it anymore.