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Weird things happen when I sleep
December 26, 2005 11:34 PM   Subscribe

Weird things happen when I sleep. I thought this happened to other people too. Then, tonight, when I mentioned it to my mother she said, "No, that's never happened to me." What is it? Is there an explanation?

I'm older, middle aged I guess. This started when I was 18 and went away to college. It actually was what started my lifelong insomnia. I would be asleep, but not. I saw people come in my room. In college, it was the cloaked death figure. He would stand at the end of my bed. I was paralyzed. I would try to scream but it could only come out as a whisper. I would fight to move, to wake up, but it was really hard. If I didn't fight this to the point of being awake and sitting up, it would recur all night long. That happened every night in college. Now, it happens much less frequently, (twice in the last week). Usually I am extremely fatigued, having missed a few nights of sleep. I feel I am awake. I feel a presence come into the room. I can never turn my head to see it as I'm paralyzed. My hair stands on end, my neck and arms gets all tingly with fear and I feel it's like, not a good presence. I feel like I have moved, or sat up, only to realize I have imagined it, that I am still half asleep/awake and I fight to waken. Then I have to sit up for a while, get my head in a different place, before I can safely fall asleep without any further sense that someone is around, watching me. I think there should be a scientific explanation for this. I know that the paralysis could very well be that I am still not awake, and whatever the brain does to prevent you from actually doing the things you are dreaming about has taken hold, paralyzing me. But, seriously, someone, I need science here. Even psychology. I don't want to get into the: It's a parallel universe, or you are communing with evil spirits. I already have insomnia! I don't need anything else that will keep me up nights!
posted by generic230 to Health & Fitness (46 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Sleep Paralysis. You're not the only one this happens to, and you saying you were paralyzed is a dead giveaway.
posted by wanderingmind at 11:37 PM on December 26, 2005


Night terrors, maybe?
posted by luftmensch at 11:37 PM on December 26, 2005


You are experiencing a condition called "Sleep Paralysis".

There is a lot of useful information available on the web. Some good ones to start with are:

http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/paralysis.html
http://watarts.uwaterloo.ca/~acheyne/S_P.html
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis
posted by RoseovSharon at 11:38 PM on December 26, 2005


IIRC, there have been a number of really good threads about sleep paralysis on MeFi. Unfortunately, I am rusticating at the ancestral manse for the holidays and using my parents' crappy dial-up. Someone with a zipper connection want to find them and link them?

I have suffered from sleep paralysis in the past, but a combination of clonazepam and a CPAP machine have completely vanquished it.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 11:59 PM on December 26, 2005


Er, that was "zippier" connection, not "zipper" connection.

But please, feel free to have zipper connections as well.
posted by ereshkigal45 at 12:00 AM on December 27, 2005


While everyone here is diagnosing you, I would like to add my two cents:

Please, please please see a sleep specialist. go to a sleep clinic and get studied.

Sleep disorders are not only something that regular doctors are vastly undereducated on, but they are also one of the leading causes and/or irritants of other complications like heart disease.

There is a high likelihood that you have a sleep disorder (and yes, Sleep Paralysis seems a distinct possibility), and a nearly equally high likelihood that it is treatable and correctable. Please get yourself checked out.
posted by twiggy at 12:02 AM on December 27, 2005


I have those too. No cogent explanationm though. Sorry.

It's hard to figure out what's "real" and what's "in one's head." I've had some defence by consistently challenging myself with something logical. Cause & effect. If I cause something and the effect doesn't happen, then I'm probably "just" deaming.
posted by PurplePorpoise at 12:04 AM on December 27, 2005


Hot damn, you people are good. I read the links suggested by Roseov, and my jaw just kept dropping. The most interesting was this from the waterloo site: One of the most commonly reported experiences associated with SP is that of the sensed presence.. Yeehaw, I ain't no crazy medium with an open portal to the underworld!

I will see a sleep specialist, twiggy. Garsh, why can't real life encounters with doctors ever be like this? No one made me feel like an ass, and someone even expressed genuine concern. I feel so relieved.
posted by generic230 at 12:07 AM on December 27, 2005


I used to often sense cloaked gargoyle-like figures around my bed and be unable to move. The experience tapered off as I reached my 20s. It's unsettling, but not, I think, dangerous. Next time it happens, try to use the opportunity to have a conscious dream adventure. You feel you can't physically move, but perhaps you can see through walls, or make the room glow, or cover the menacing figures with bubblegum?
posted by Scram at 12:08 AM on December 27, 2005


As twiggy says, go get yourself checked out. Sleep paralysis isn't that unusual, but it IS unusual to have it that frequently. (I think I've had it happen twice in my entire life.) The presence-thing is also a component, although I haven't had that happen myself.

Once a year I wouldn't worry about. Twice a week.... go see somebody.
posted by Malor at 12:14 AM on December 27, 2005


previous threads. it sounds terrifying. I wonder if children get this much?
posted by Rumple at 12:16 AM on December 27, 2005


Well, I wasn't exactly diagnosing, but based on the description, this is a textbook case of Sleep Paralysis. If you've ever experienced it, than you'd realize this is exactly what is his describing.

No, I'm not a doctor or sleep expert, just someone who has been experiencing SP all my life, who never knew what it was, who finally learned via the internet that it had a name, and who has gone on to research it further. Discovering what SP is, and that other people experience it, and that it cannot permanently harm you, is a huge relief. Many doctors have never heard of SP and frequently misdiagnose it as other sleep related disorders. Getting informed with the information provided on some of those sites I linked to will help this person know what they're dealing with, and perhaps lead them to a professional who knows what this is about, and who won't just prescribe sleeping pills or anti-depressants.

It is not a condition which can be treated or corrected like a disease, but there are techniques which can possibly help you control the intensity and frequency.

Please take a look at the link provided above, they will really help to explain whats happening to you, the different ways in which people are effected by SP, as well as the influences it has had on history and myth.
posted by RoseovSharon at 12:18 AM on December 27, 2005


I find that trying to move just one toe or one finger is usually enough to kick me out of a paralysis episode. Unfortunately, trying to move as soon as I drop into SP has become a learned reflex, so I rarely experience an episode of sleep paralysis before booting myself out of it.

SP can be a blast if you realize what's going on and are able to calm yourself down. It's really fascinating to see, hear, and feel things while positively, intuitively knowing they are being manufactured by your mind. I read somewhere that some people had been able to turn relapses of sleep paralysis into out of body experiences. I managed to pull this off once, and it was all kinds of crazy fun. I recall reading that the trick is to try to almost rotate out of your body without moving it.
posted by SemiSophos at 12:47 AM on December 27, 2005


Whoa, freaky. I've had sleep paralysis once, for about 3 or 4 seconds after waking up once. In my case I couldn't even open my eyes. I think I was ~11-13 years old or so? No visions, no sensed presence. nothing like that, and I immediately knew it had something to do with the way your brain turns off your bodies ability to move in REM sleep. It was certainly terrifying not to be able to move anyway.

I had a psych teacher who got that once, she didn't mention anything about hallucinations or whatever, but she did describe her roommate talking to a friend once saying "no, she's asleep." While she was sitting there, completely locked up and unable to move.
posted by delmoi at 1:20 AM on December 27, 2005


I've had this happen, but you sound truly to be suffering. A couple of times as a child, though it was was scary in the moment, I was comforted the next day because my "dream presence" was the Virgin Mary (which is wierd since as a child I was at best a very skeptical catholic), who would lay her hands on me. I guess I'm wondering if as you tackle this problem with professional help your anxiety will diminish, which will in turn lessen the horror factor, which will lessen the anxiety, etc. You're in a bad cycle now, but it can reverse.
posted by tula at 1:22 AM on December 27, 2005


I have it at least a few times a month, and sometimes a few times a week. It's gotten to be so common that I have fun with it now, and actively engage in the hallucinations. It's more an annoyance than the scary thing that it used to be, before I found out what it was (thanks to the linked to FPP on mefi)
posted by loquax at 2:24 AM on December 27, 2005


Funny, I just shuffled over to the computer, wrapped in duvet, after having a sleep paralysis that lasted about 5 minutes; managed to start twitching a foot, a hand then my jaw before feeling “free” enough brace myself and snap out of it. I’ve been getting it pretty much nightly for the last few weeks and relatively frequently for the last 5 years or so. My doctor says the increase in frequency sounds like it could be related to not being particularly into my work and the moment and as a consequence getting stressed about it.

It can be quite unpleasant, namely when my mind seems to be still partially dreaming and I think I am unsafe in the room for whatever reason, ie: an intruder or ghostly presence or on occasion I feel like I’m so heavy I can hardly breathe. Normally though I just have to find a part of me I can move and eventually I will be able to release myself.

As with loquax I try and roll with it as best I can now, it’s possibly to eek something fun out of it occasionally.
posted by ed\26h at 3:27 AM on December 27, 2005


Is SP actual paralysis? I am experiencing this strange thing, but I always had the feeling that paralysis was just a feeling only felt in the dream.... My SP crisis are associated with actual and clear speaking (such as "Who are you? Get out of here!"), as reported by my wife, which leads to believe that paralysis is "virtual"...?
posted by vieuxmaitres at 3:52 AM on December 27, 2005


vieuxmaitres: Most people are mostly paralyzed when they sleep, otherwise they would be walking around doing crazy stuff as they dream (this happens to some people!) In some cases, the paralysis doesn't wear off before the sleep part.

There was an ask me thread recently about a girl who woke up while she was walking around naked, locked out of her apartment. She had been taking a certain kind of sleep medication known to cause 'sleep disturbances'.

You personally might not be experiencing paralysis, but rather something different.
posted by delmoi at 3:59 AM on December 27, 2005


In answer to I wonder if children get this much? - I used to have something similar as a child. It felt more like the room was distorted, either everything was very far away (and small), or very close (and huge). This would include my own body as well (my hand would seem miles away).

As for SemiSophos, it would usually help to just force myself to move a finger to snap out of it, but I'd then have to read or do something distracting for a while to avoid falling straight back into it.

I have no idea when it stopped. I'd guess in my mid-teens.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 3:59 AM on December 27, 2005


I've had this periodically since childhood (I'm 32.) At least six times a year, sometimes as often as once or twice a month. It's worse when I'm under a lot of stress and already feeling a bit anxious.

My sensed presence is that of shadowy intruders in the room, so needless to say I typically find myself trying to scream my way out of the SP. Usually I manage to get out by wrenching my whole body in my dream (which translates to moving one limb in reality.)

generic230, as you can see, you are totally not alone.
posted by desuetude at 6:05 AM on December 27, 2005


I used to get this quite often as a child. I recall a terrifying ghostly presence standing before me, slowly taking one step toward me, then pausing, then stepping toward me again. When I was 7 or so I had this so often that I didn't want to sleep in my own bedroom because I didn't want to be alone, and my parents consulted a child psychologist. (He taught me how to play chess and asked me about my dreams.)
posted by agropyron at 6:06 AM on December 27, 2005


As a child, I would have night terrors 3-4 times per week. As an adult, any time I spent the night at someone's house, and vice versa, I would have to give this crazy little speech:

"look..there's these evil fairies that come and do things to me at night...they hold me down and do awful things and laugh maniacally" etc, etc

Two years ago, I learned it was Sleep Paralysis. It's nice to be not so crazy anymore! Just the knowledge seems to have diminished them. (It made me a bit sad, as well. No fairies, evil or other wise..blah)
posted by zerokey at 6:14 AM on December 27, 2005


Yep, I've had this before as well. Not every night, but maybe 2 or 3 times a year.
posted by bshort at 6:33 AM on December 27, 2005


Wow Clarissa - I sometimes get a very faint version of the size/distance dislocation feeling, just as I'm dropping off. It's always been sort of pleasantly interesting though.


Also,

Old Hag Syndrome.
posted by CunningLinguist at 6:34 AM on December 27, 2005


I occasionally experience this same thing - it's nothing to be too concerned about but if it happens consistently, as others have said, you should see a sleep specialist just so you can get a decent night's rest.

What you're experiencing are called hypnogogic hallucinations which sometimes happen concurrently with sleep paralysis. I've had both - it's not comfortable to say the least. Most of the time it happens to me when I'm really tired and take an afternoon nap and fall into deep sleep very quickly. I'll get to that dreaming stage of sleep in rapid fashion and then enter some sort of lucid dreaming state where I *know* I'm asleep and am dreaming. With that realization comes the realization that I'm paralyzed which freaks me out. Then it's an out and out battle to try to wake my body up from sleep. The first few times this happened it was terrifying; subsquent events have been more uncomfortable than scary.
posted by ryanhealy at 7:02 AM on December 27, 2005


I've had sleep paralysis (I guess that's what it's called) many times in the past -- for some seriously stressed out, underslept periods I've had them three or four times a week. I still have them when I'm tired, stressed, sleepy, worried, etc.

I grew up hearing Korean stories about getting 'pressed by scissors' (that's the folk name for it), and how being 'pressed' forewarned your imminent demise. I stopped being frightened about them when I found out that a) they were harmless, and b) I could most often break free not by trying to thrash my entire body around but instead by moving a small finger -- for example, the little finger on my left hand. Once that was 'free', so to speak, the sleep paralysis was broken.

I guess I'd advise to try to realize that it's harmless and to worry less about it -- the less you're afraid of what happens, the less it will happen (and the less it will be as terrifying of what described). That's what happened in my case. Good luck -- do see a sleep expert..!

Other 'explanations' along with old hag syndrome: Mara Experience, Incubus.
posted by provolot at 7:04 AM on December 27, 2005


Freaky deaky! I've experienced this a few times, always when I've over-exerted myself phsyically. The thing I find odd is the similarity of each past episode: I'm always rolled over to the right side of my bed (I sleep on the left and tend not to move around much) where I feel the presence pressing down on my chest so that I can't turn over to my side. I want to call out for help but no sound comes out. When I'm finally able to break free from whatever's holding me down I look at the time and it's about 2am. Always.

I've recounted these experiences to Chinese friends of mine who called it being literally "squashed by a ghost." The supernatural explanation wasn't exactly comforting, so I'm glad to see that there is a relatively more rational one out there.
posted by phoenixc at 7:46 AM on December 27, 2005


I sometimes get a very faint version of the size/distance dislocation feeling, just as I'm dropping off. It's always been sort of pleasantly interesting though.

Interesting. I never found it pleasant. Not necessarily frightening (esp. once I was used to it), but definitely disconcerting and.... well, unpleasant.
posted by ClarissaWAM at 7:58 AM on December 27, 2005


Listen, you're gonna look at me weird for this one, but, hell, I'd rather tell you and have you not need it, than not tell you and have you need it.

If you go in for a sleep study, and it's in a hotel (many hospitals do this)? You should check the seams of the mattress, look behind the headboard, check the bedframes. Make sure there aren't any black marks near the seams' edge, and that you don't see any tiny red or black bugs about the size of a sunflower seed. If you see any, don't stay in that hotel; cancel the test and have them put you somewhere else, or do it through a different provider.

I say this because a few months after going in for a sleep apnea test at a sleep center a hospital ran in a downtown hotel, I had a nasty bedbug infestation at my home. And they are most often found in hotel beds — it is very likely that I brought them home with me from the test. I'll never know for certain — they could have come from elsewhere — but it's a very possible source.

If the sleep test is done in an actual hospital, though, I imagine you're probably okay, due to the more prevalent sanitary conditions.

Also, so that this isn't an entirely stupid post, FYI, a recent ongoing subplot on Boston Legal involves one of the main characters, Alan Shore, suffering from night terrors.
posted by WCityMike at 8:24 AM on December 27, 2005


I used to have something similar as a child. It felt more like the room was distorted, either everything was very far away (and small), or very close (and huge). This would include my own body as well (my hand would seem miles away).

Cool! I’ve been waiting 50 years to hear somebody else describe this experience I used to have most nights as a kid; I was fascinated by it... and by how I was never able to describe it to anyone who recognized it. I experienced it as a series of shifts from apparently infinite emptiness to infinite packed denseness.
It seemed related to a waking sensation I’d sometimes have where time would seem to slow and everything in the room would get very...portentous?: As if objects as well as sounds and gestures all had exclamation points all over them.

I’ve had a few sleep paralysis/presence in the room experiences, too, of the demon pressing me down type; not fun! But there’s a vast and quite interesting literature suggesting that just beyond these sleep guardians, on the other side of these momentary glimpses of what we’re normally unconscious during, there’s an endlessly amazing world waiting for those able to develop full lucidity during sleep; Tibetan sleep yoga, shared lucid dreaming, OBEs, etc. Amazing, that is, only to those who feel that waking life gets far too much credit for being reality, I suppose.
posted by dpcoffin at 9:36 AM on December 27, 2005 [1 favorite]


Wild! This is why I love AskMeFi! I've had this 'paralysis dream' several times recently, usually when sleeping in. It's such a bizarre sensation, and I definitely get the sense of impending doom--sometimes even shadowy figures entering the bedroom. Never had the pressing sensation; that sounds truly scary.

I don't think I've ever gone straight from being paralyzed to being awake. Those of you who have been able to snap out of it, do you maintain the same "session" of consciousness and become a functioning now-awake person, or do you go through some sort of waking process entailing a shift in consciousness?
posted by CaptApollo at 9:47 AM on December 27, 2005


The SP with monsters used to happen to me a lot.

It's weird, though, now (I'm 22) I don't get the SP, really, so much as I'll thinking I'm awake, and I'll get up and brush my teeth and put on my shoes, and then suddenly realise I haven't done any of that at all, and I'm still in bed. Maybe the horror is just dulling with age. What could be more frightening than getting ready to go to work? Demons? Yeah, right.
posted by zerolives at 10:06 AM on December 27, 2005


I used to have something similar as a child. It felt more like the room was distorted, either everything was very far away (and small), or very close (and huge). This would include my own body as well (my hand would seem miles away)."
That used to happen to me every other night when I was a kid, too. It was weird fun. I miss it.
posted by zerolives at 10:08 AM on December 27, 2005


a series of shifts from apparently infinite emptiness to infinite packed denseness.


With me it's more of a distance/size thing: kind of like feeling a perspective shift from hanging in the sky way above a huge stadium and then suddenly zooming in to atomic particles.
I didn't know anyone else had this. I wonder what it is?
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:12 AM on December 27, 2005


Oh wow. Wow. This perspective-distorting thing.. I have it, too. Not with the sleep paralysis, though. I'll be lying there, trying to shut down my brain to sleep, and it'll shift into this weird screwy perspective where I'm convinced that the infinite universe looks like the creamsicle-pink inside of a sea shell. Or my mind will be percolating on grotesquely heavy, complicated textures made of rock and rusted metal and mold, and I know that it's made of microscopic things that are miles wide.

(Yeah, this stuff is really hard to describe.)

I'll also feel my hand is resting near the top of my head, but *know* it's really about five feet away.

It'll go away entirely if I wake up and do something else. Only happens when I'm trying to sleep and my body has no inclination of agreeing.
posted by cmyk at 10:25 AM on December 27, 2005


I found a few threads about sleep paralysis and hypnosis. This is a scientific study of a particular person. And this link describes an interesting perspective on it and something you can try.
posted by blueyellow at 10:45 AM on December 27, 2005


My 2 1/2 year old son has crazy night terrors. We have to shake him out of them because he just screams in his sleep and sounds like he's being tortured. I try to ask him about it but he doesn't really respond. Doctors tell me they will just eventually go away. Anything I can do to help him out in the meantime?
posted by any major dude at 10:58 AM on December 27, 2005


Some researchers have speculated that people who believe they've been abducted by aliens have actually had SP or hypnogogic hallucinations.

I always see intruders when having an SP experience, which seems very common. Any MeFites have alien visitations?
posted by shifafa at 11:07 AM on December 27, 2005


Sleep paralysis.

Simple.

Sometimes diagnostic of Narcolepsy if accompanied by daytime excessive sleepiness. Especially if you have cataplexy like symptoms.

Isolated sleep paralysis not so big a deal if it doesn't bother you. If it gets to be a problem, see a psychiatrist or neurologist. They can start you on a low dose of a tricyclic antidepressant or one of the newer SSRI antidepressents. Protryptaline is the recommended agent at around 10-20 mg before bedtime. However, Paxil and Prozac have both also showed efficacy.

SP is caused by being awake whilst the body is still paralyzed because of REM sleep. Ie, your brain thinks you're in REM, so you're paralyzed. Unfortunately, you're not! These antidepressents can fix the problem by surpressing REM sleep. Slightly less restorative sleep but handily does away with the SP.

Good luck!

BTW: There is a researcher at Harvard (can't remember the name) who published an interesting paper linking Narcoleptics to those with thoughts of alien abduction. Very interesting read!
posted by bhenry at 11:59 AM on December 27, 2005


vieuxmaitres: It's possible to be only partly paralyzed; you can both gain consciousness and a measure of movement (you can even do so without gaining consciousness, as in sleeptalking). My dad certainly talks when he gets it (ranging from moaning to articulated calls for help).

I've heard that sleep paralysis is categorized into Common Sleep Paralysis, which affects most adults several times in their lifetime, and Hallucinatory Sleep Paralysis, which is rarer, can last for minutes, etc. Obviously you have the latter, and you should see a sleep specialist.

A lot of myths (posession, alien abduction, etc.) over history have at least partly arisen as explanations for sleep paralysis.
posted by abcde at 12:22 PM on December 27, 2005


SemiSophos: Lucid dreaming (see my writeup on the topic on E2) is closely related to the lucid sleep paralysis you describe, perhaps even a superset thereof depending on how you define it. There's specific ways to achieve it, and that way of course you can have a full dream in that state. And yes, both types of state are related to and can lead to out-of-body experiences.
posted by abcde at 12:34 PM on December 27, 2005


About a year ago (stressful final semester of college) I started having little moments like these, and without fail they all involve me seeing shadowy figures and being unable to move for awhile. The figures I see always end up being articles of my clothing that I left in an orientation that make them appears as though someone is wearing them. Sometimes when I go to bed I'll neatly hang my clothes on my desk chair, or leave the closet door open with a full suit hanging in plain sight from my bed. I used to freak out a bit and ask "Who are you?" or "What do you want?" but now I know what is going on and chuckle.

It doesn't happen every time I leave clothing out, but I'd buy that it happens more often when I'm stressed out. Also, it only seems to happen if I go to bed sober.
posted by adamk at 1:35 PM on December 27, 2005


I've had it. When I was a kid through my twenties at least one or twie a week. In my thirties maybe once per month. Now a couple times per year.

I have insomnia as well and SP is a partner to it when I get very stressed out. Used to wake up with these incredible adrenal surges when I thought I saw looming figures, spiders, black fog, or a "burglar" in the room.

My wife loves to tell our friends about the times I've leaped out out of bed with a Karate shriek and tackled a coat rack, chair or bathrobe.

My wife also tells me (as did a sleep therapist) I sleep with my eyes open sometimes (I'd wager you do to). That helps trigger the visions. So I wear a little night mask over my eyes.

Also getting rid of anything in the room - like clothes draped over chairs, coat racks etc that may trigger shadows or forms to fuel the hallucination/dream.

I found switching heavy aerobic exercise from evening to the morning helps with the general insomnia.

And get a good stress/anxiety reduction strategy going. I started yoga, stopped eating late and quit caffeine. All that has helped a great deal. I sleep much much better.

I haven't had it happen in months. Though I miss it in a strange way. It was like a carnival ride or haunted house experience.
posted by tkchrist at 5:17 PM on December 27, 2005 [1 favorite]


in itself, sleep paralysis is like sleepwalking, or deja vu, or jamais vu or any number of other little weirdish neuro things - it is very normal to experience them, but it is not very normal to experience them all the time. They will often become classified as "disorders" if you pass a certain threshold of frequency, which does not mean that they can then pinpoint some particular cause. I've mentioned before that I have epilepsy (& hence quite commonly experience other little neuro events like the ones I mentioned above), and that even that is just classified according to the symptoms, not cause or biology (ie, if you have seizures more than a normal person, then you have a seizure disorder).

Which is to say, if you see a doc about it, they may prescribe something, and they may advise you on techniques to try, but they also may just shrug their shoulders. If it interferes with your life, there are plenty of neuro meds out there, which unfortunately neurologists generally don't understand any better than you - it's all a game of trial & error, until you try a med that seems to make your life better. But then, sometimes things just get better on their own and you attribute effects to the med that turn out to have been due to other things. Basically, it's a messy, messy science, in my experience.
posted by mdn at 8:55 AM on December 29, 2005


Just a nitpick: the original poster's describing sleep paralysis with hypnagogic hallucination, not night terrors. Night terrors commonly occur in children, arise from stage 3 and 4 slow wave sleep, and do not involve formed dreams or hallucinations, just an intense feeling of fear not related to a particular situation or idea.

The EEG during a hypnagogic hallucination, in contrast, is in a borderline state of mild slowing that some would call Stage I sleep or drowsiness (they're synonymous, and they look like the waking EEG but a little slower.)

Skepticism aside, hypnagogic hallucinations can be treated, but it's often not necessary. All treatments have side effects.

I had a hypnagogic hallucination once. I didn't recognize it for what it was at the time; I was paralyzed and sure that my apartment was inhabited by a monstrous demon that was approaching me from the right. I couldn't turn my head to look at it. Very terrifying. When the paralysis 'popped' the fear went away and I was able to realize what had occurred.
posted by ikkyu2 at 7:44 PM on December 29, 2005


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