Coping With Sleep Paralysis?

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Hi everyone, I was diagnosed last week and this is my first post. I went to the sleep doctor because my sleep paralysis was out of control and I became anxious throughout the entire day from it. So I have a question:

How in the world do you cope with sleep paralysis? Do y'all have any tips? I get sleep paralysis as I'm trying to fall asleep, and I often hallucinate situations that are occurring around me while I can't move. When I wake up from it, I've been trying, physically struggling to come out of it. These episodes make me so anxious, I wake up struggling for breath with my heart racing, and I'm simply terrified! Do y'all have any tips for dealing with sleep paralysis in the moment? I've tried a few times to not come out of it and just breathe steadily, but it only works for a few seconds before I start struggling again to wake up.

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The right medication (antidepressant) should help reduce SP. Essentially, it is what it is. If you get worked up about it, it is likely to become longer and more unpleasant.


You are safe in your bed. You can breathe. It will eventually pass. Anything you see or hear is not real.


So, in addition to medication, soothe yourself. Repeat a prayer or a verse or a line from a song. Focus on your breathing. Picture an image in your mind. Whatever does the trick for you.


For me, it is not an unpleasant experience. I don't try to move until I can. My body feels like it has melted into the mattress. Then it passes.


Your brain has woken up before your body. Just give your body a chance to catch up.

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I've had SP all my life. This is what I know:


Even as an adult who knows what SP is (and what it isn't) doesn't mean you can control it. (This is NOT a simple mind-over-matter thing.) When I was younger (child/preteen) and didn't know what SP was, my SP terrified me with monsters and zombies and crap like that. After I learned was SP was (teenage years), I could ignore the monsters/werewolves/whatever because I knew SP was SP. Unfortunately, the SP 'dreams' changed in content -- into bears, robots, and very human burgalers, not to mention falling objects/earthquake scenarios.


New dream research shows that a possible reason for REM sleep (during which your brain is very active and your body is paralyzed) is for your brain/body to 'workout' or 'tune' basic survival functions, such as flight-or-fight response, stalking prey (exhibited in felines), etc. One of the most basic needs for us to survive is the ability to handle high-stress danger (just enough to run away from them, at least). Basically, it's possible that everynight during REM sleep we all are terrified and running from bears, the bogeyman, or fireballs. Whatever. Since SP is about waking up in that state (being paralyzed while deep in REM), the reason it's terrifying is that, well... it's SUPPOSED to be terrifying. That's how our body is able to handle that kind of high-stress, super-dangerous scenario well enough to escape from danger OR to defend from said danger.


I've done extensive research on this because my SP has been bad all my life. By 'bad', I mean that the episodes are actually physically painful for me -- I sleep on my stomach, so my back tends to be the primary area of pain. Some people say they've got pain in their chest (they can't breathe/they're beign crushed) but I feel that pain in my lower back. Sometimes it's bad enough that it's sore later or persists after I wake up.


The only thing that I have that has thwarted SP has been a rigorous exercise routine. If not rigorous, then continuous -- i.e. in college I rarely had more than 30 minutes on the elipses a day, but that was generally enough. Now I try to do more like 1 hr of karate (combination of aerobic and strength training). Also, areomatherapy did help me, even though I was immensely skeptical about it -- Sandelwood, in particular, helped me. Just a few minutes of it helped me get to sleep.


Prayer also helps me with SP episodes.


That being said, while there are times when I can relax and say 'this is SP, it will pass' ... most of the time, even when I know it's SP, that doesn't change the fact that I'm paralyzed and in a great deal of pain (like I said usually lower back pain, but also sometimes head pain, ear pain, leg pain, etc.) -- so if you find that you cannot 'zen thought' your way out of it, I just wanted to say, it can happen.


I know it sucks to have something like SP and find out that the treatment options are lame... hope you're doing better,


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What i do. and this might just work for me, is right before im about to close my eyes and go to sleep i set an alarm for five to six minutes. i usually fall asleep before the alarm goes off and then it wakes me up before i get SP. then (usually) i dont get SP that night....not sure if it actually works or if i just dont get it that night. also most of the time when i get SP i can move my left leg (not if i accidently fall asleep on my back, then i cant move at all) sp ive been training my dog to come up and lick my face when i bang my leg on the ground. When she does that it usally brings me right out of it....kinda gross i know but hey it works haha

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