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Why Now?

 

Someone else's story actually sparked my interest and I decided to submit my own instead of taking up comment space. Anyway, I think I have been experiencing a very mild form of sleep paralysis over the last two to three months. I have never really experienced anything like this before, but because of this site, I understood what was happening when I did experience it so wasn't really worried or concerned about it. The first two times it happened were about a month apart and I was at home both times. They both happened in the morning on days when I didn't have to be up for work, so I think most likely a weekend or holiday.

During my first experience, I was laying in bed and had woken up, maybe around 8 or so. I had my back to the bedroom door, which was closed. I know I was sort of still in that just waking up/still sleepy mode, when I suddenly felt the covers being tucked in around me. I thought at first it was my husband, and I remember thinking, "What in the world is he doing?" So I laid there for a few seconds, aware that I couldn't really move, but then it was like I was suddenly able to so I rolled over to speak to him. Obviously he wasn't there. In fact, he was in the living room laying on the couch asleep. I just thought it was weird and chalked it up to "this must be what everyone means by sleep paralysis."

The second time I was again in my bed with my back to the door. I had again just woken up, probably about 8 or so again, but felt I was more awake during this second episode than the first. I heard what I thought was the door opening and once again I thought it was my husband walking into the bedroom. I laid there a few seconds, waiting on him to come to the bed. I started to roll over and felt that stiff feeling again, like the first experience, but it didn't linger, again like the first. I was able to roll over pretty quickly and easily. Once again, the door was closed and I was just a little aggravated that it had happened a second time. But I decided to come up with a reason and thought it was probably the apartment popping and my sleepy state causing me to think the door opened.

The third and final experience I had with this was this past Sunday night/Monday morning. My husband and I had taken a short vacation to New Hampshire and were staying in a small resort. Our room had a living area and kitchen (which were connected/open to each other), a bedroom right off the living area, and bathroom right off the bedroom. Just to clear things up, my husband has trouble with insomnia a lot of nights and sometimes will stay up later with the tv on. The sound helps him get to sleep easier so sometimes he will just sleep on the couch instead of coming to bed early in the morning and waking me up. This particular night, he was having trouble falling asleep so he stayed in the living area and I went to bed (I know, it sounds so "unromantic" for our vacation! Haha). I was not really sleeping well that night either and kept waking up every couple of hours. Early in the morning, around 3:30 am (I looked at the clock when I finally woke up), I had a really creepy dream. It was one of those dreams that felt very real and made me feel confused when I really did wake up because I felt like I had already been awake. Anyway, in the dream, I "wake up" and notice that the lights in the living area were turned off, so I thought my husband had decided to come to bed. I laid there waiting for him to open the door, but nothing happened. I raised my head and saw a little girl sitting at the end of the bed. She was wearing a hood, and I noticed it was getting very dark in the room and I had an overall feeling of dread. I became vaguely aware that I couldn't move very much at all, yet the whole time I kept my eyes on this girl. She suddenly started moving up the middle of the bed towards my face. I tried to scream and couldn't, tried to move out of the way and couldn't. I suddenly wake up for real, but I'm gasping for breath, I guess from trying to scream in my dream. I could move, and almost jumped out of bed and ran out of the bedroom, but instead I used some breathing techniques to calm my breath and calm myself down. I was still really scared and was almost in tears, but I was able to go back to sleep.

I'm not really sure why I'm experiencing this now? I have never experienced anything like this before, at least not that I remember. I didn't have night terrors as a kid or nightmares that were out of the ordinary for a kid. It seems that in this past year though, I have been having really terrifying dreams. I was diagnosed with mitral valve prolapse about three years ago, and for whatever reason, I will have bouts of anxiety, but not very frequently and usually I can feel when this is happening and know what to do to sort of lessen the effects or even prevent a full-on anxiety attack. I'm not on any medication for either the MVP or the anxiety because I have learned different ways to sort of control it, and my doctor is sort of hesitant to start me on anything because of some of the side effects. I know that probably a lot of this and the recent nightmares can probably be linked to that, but I'm just not really sure why suddenly this year I'm experiencing these new and unusual occurrences. I never ask for medication because it seems that all this lasts for a short period of time then stops for several months, so I don't really feel like I need to take anything yet since it's not that frequent. But when all of this does occur, it can be very intense. Any ideas or insight?

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The following comments are submitted by users of this site and are not official positions by yourghoststories.com. Please read our guidelines and the previous posts before posting. The author, ms_st0308, has the following expectation about your feedback: I will participate in the discussion and I need help with what I have experienced.

ms_st0308 (6 stories) (59 posts)
+2
3 years ago (2015-03-29)
Ok I promised an update to everyone. Sorry it has been a while. There has been a lot going on at work, been battling upper respiratory sickness...But, I did make it to my doctor appointment and had bloodwork done, which all came back normal. Needless to say, he seems to think it's most likely anxiety related to the mitral valve prolapse. I'm glad to have a confirmed answer, which I think is what most of us were thinking anyway. I'm just glad I got it checked out and don't have to feel like I'm going crazy. 😊
ifihadyoux (6 stories) (607 posts)
 
3 years ago (2015-01-20)
Well I hope everything goes well for you and I wish you nothing but the absolute best.
ms_st0308 (6 stories) (59 posts)
+2
3 years ago (2015-01-20)
I will keep everyone updated. I did make an appointment just to have a complete physical and have all of my levels checked, but the first opening is not until next month, so I will have to wait a little while to have everything checked out.
Triskaideka (2 stories) (363 posts)
 
3 years ago (2015-01-18)
I'm so glad you're taking these things into account, ms_st0308. Sounds to me as though sleep apnea may be a genetic issue in your family. It can be due to the shape of your airway, or it can be due to the brain not sending proper signals. Either way, I think it would be a wise idea to look into this possibility. Take care! And please keep us updated. 😊
ms_st0308 (6 stories) (59 posts)
 
3 years ago (2015-01-14)
Wow! I have missed a lot! Just got back on here today. Thank you for that very detailed and informative explanation Triskaideka! I had never thought about the electrolytes, but that is a huge possibility. This is really making me more intent on having a complete physical sooner rather than later, just to make sure everything is within normal levels.

I know there are probably a lot of physical changes I could make or start doing (drink more water, paying attention to diet...) that would help with the MVP, plus just make me feel better overall. The sleep apnea theory is interesting too. My grandmother and great uncle (mom's side) and uncle (dad's side) have all been diagnosed with this. Grandmother and great uncle actually use a CPAP. That could also be an explanation for the lack of oxygen to the brain during sleep.

Hmmm...and I'm beginning to see the major benefits for meditation/relaxation as stress reducers. I'm burning several candles at both ends most of the time. Although it's good stress, like you said, it's still stress and does have physical consequences which can worsen other issues already present.

This is all really encouraging! Thank you everyone!
elnoraemily (11 stories) (1051 posts)
 
3 years ago (2015-01-12)
What Trisk said. All of that. Especially this part:

"you may want to consider having your electrolyte levels tested. Don't take a million supplements or alter your diet to the extreme. Just try to meet regular daily protein, mineral, and water needs."
Triskaideka (2 stories) (363 posts)
+3
3 years ago (2015-01-12)
Thanks, Rook and Ari. 😊 One of my favorite things about this site is that members are very keen on considering all possible explanations, including the more scientific ones. I don't know much about the spiritual, so I'm happy to offer what help I can.
Sceptic-Ari (2 stories) (604 posts)
 
3 years ago (2015-01-11)
Dear Triskaideka,
I bow down to the master in obeisance 😐

The nutritionist mode is a good mode. Keeps things in perspective.

And it is reassuring to see one veteran (Hi Rook! Long time,eh!) acknowledging and appreciating another😁

Respects
rookdygin (24 stories) (4325 posts)
 
3 years ago (2015-01-11)
Tris,

I am not even going to try the Karma thing... But you get 2 thumbs up from me. I love the break down to the chemical level of what may be the cause of these experiences.

Respectfully,

Rook
Triskaideka (2 stories) (363 posts)
+2
3 years ago (2015-01-11)
Oh, and it occurs to me, if you are waking up constantly while on your back and experiencing shortness of breath, you may also be experiencing something called sleep apnea. And that's a whole nother can of worms. Ask your husband if ever you start to snore then wake up gasping in the middle of the night. (People with sleep apnea tend to make sleeping even worse for insomniacs, and if you breathe funny or snore, that may also be why he often sleeps separately. My parents sleep separately more often than not for the same reason!)
Triskaideka (2 stories) (363 posts)
+5
3 years ago (2015-01-11)
Oh nooooooo I wrote a long response and then accidentally closed the tab. *cries*

Okay, so, mitral valve prolapse can be cause or exacerbated by electrolyte imbalance, and electrolyte imbalance is experienced more severely during dehydration.

Personally, I only ever experience sleep paralysis when I'm dehydrated.

If you are often sick with flu-like symptoms or are very underweight, you may even have a high potassium:sodium ratio, and dehydration absolutely would cause mitral valve prolapse in that sort of situation. Otherwise, one may experience heart palpitations, wooziness, etc.

The others are correct about oxygen, as well. With depleted oxygen, you will experience cardiac side-effects, again often heart palpitations. Plus the oxygen deprivation affects brain function just as much.

The brain functions with the exchange of electrolytes as well, so it only makes sense that dehydration would contribute to greater symptoms of an already existent imbalance.

When traveling, people often sweat more. It's due to stress, whether that stress is positive or negative. Stress is still stress. Stress is dehydration-inducing, which is part of why people often become constipated or the opposite when traveling, moving, attending important events, etc.

So anyway, where I'm going with this is that if you are having any heart palpitations, dizziness, etc., you should definitely see a doctor and have your electrolyte balance checked. In fact, I'd suggest it anyway. You may also want to check your urinary nitrogen output (measures how well you're absorbing protein, and protein is necessary for managing the electrolyte imbalance).

Try to consume enough protein, get a balanced amount of calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium, chlorine and phosphate. The most common culprits for electrolyte imbalance are sodium, potassium, or calcium deficiencies or toxicities. As I said, a high potassium:sodium ratio is particularly risky. And make sure you drink plenty of water.

Perhaps when you travel, you may consider making your own sports beverage. One ounce of pomegranate (or your favorite kind) of juice, 16 oz water, and 1/4 tsp of salt. The carbohydrates and the salt will help you to retain the water, and the potassium in unadulturated (read: not overly processed concentrated and reconstituted) fruit juice will also help fluid retention and balance the sodium a bit.

If you don't get much sunlight or consume fish regularly, you may also want to start Vitamin D supplements, as they will help you to retain any calcium you consume or supplement your diet with. Most Americans are calcium-deficient.

But as I said, you may want to consider having your electrolyte levels tested. Don't take a million supplements or alter your diet to the extreme. Just try to meet regular daily protein, mineral, and water needs.

I uhm, studied dietetics and psychiatry at university. So I'm a little bit of a nerd when it comes to health stuffs.

*turns off nutritionist mode*

That is a really scary experience, though. Incredible, the things our minds can invent.
elnoraemily (11 stories) (1051 posts)
 
3 years ago (2015-01-10)
Exhaustion can interfere with your brains sleep cycles as can insomnia and such. Pain medication gives me horrific sleep paralysis: (
Darkangel73 (4 stories) (102 posts)
 
3 years ago (2015-01-10)
I really hate the sleep paralysis, I have a question concerning my experiences. I have noticed when I am really tired the sleep paralysis is worse.
Swimsinfire (11 stories) (556 posts)
+1
3 years ago (2015-01-09)
This is so refreshingly helpfull. Remember when we had people posting all sorts on here? That sleep paralysis caused everything, from pregnancy to Armagedon? So good that people can post real questions and get real researched answers.
ms_st0308 (6 stories) (59 posts)
+2
3 years ago (2015-01-09)
Yes! The shortness of breath is a big part of it! But I hadn't connected that with laying on my back. I have recently starting sleeping a little more elevated, mainly to help my neck and head feel more comfortable, but maybe that will help with the breathing too. When this last episode happened, I was laying flat on my back, so that does make sense. I was just sort of confused as to why all this has just started happening in the last couple of months or so. Of course, my doctor appointment was in November and all this started after, so I reported no problems then! That's how it usually goes isn't it?

As for the meditation, I know I need to start that or any type of relaxation techniques. I think that would help me learn to relax more and control stress and breathing somewhat. Thank you both for your comments! It helps knowing that someone else can validate something instead of feeling scared or worried about it. Plus now I have some other things to think about as far as causes and possible solutions!
elnoraemily (11 stories) (1051 posts)
+1
3 years ago (2015-01-09)
Also, to go slightly more in-depth, what you are experiencing with the sleep paralysis is probably tied with the oxygen needs and your anxiety issues that you mentioned.

Sleep paralysis is normal and natural. Your mind and body essentially miss-communicate and you hallucinate while awake. Since your brain is still in a dream state, you have no control over your body. What you see and feel while experiencing sleep paralysis is your subconscious dreaming.

Sleep paralysis can be triggered by laying on your back, as can your shortness of breath. Try to train yourself to only stay on one side while sleeping. Try to meditate before before and keep a nightlight on. It may be helpful to ask for oxygen to keep by the bed in order to more quickly restore your mind to a clear state and get oxygen to where to needs to be.
elnoraemily (11 stories) (1051 posts)
+1
3 years ago (2015-01-09)
I agree wholeheartedly with BadJuuJuu. I suggest a doctor.
BadJuuJuu (13 stories) (1034 posts)
+2
3 years ago (2015-01-09)
I looked up mitral valve prolapse (cause I know nothing about it lol) and saw that it can cause shortness of breath during physical activity or while lying flat. If enough oxygen isn't getting to the brain, it can trigger a sleep paralysis event. Your situation is probably more medical than paranormal, so my suggestion would be to discuss the sleep paralysis with your doctor. In the meantime, try sleeping with your upper body elevated. That might help you breathe a bit easier and pull in more oxygen.

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