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I heard about a strange dream from my friend where she found her entire body (below neck) sort of tied, so that she cant move her limbs and trunk. And she feels really uneasy and screams but it is heard only as a little merely audible to the person sleeping next to her. She requests everybody to wake her up as soon as they sense this happening. It occurs repeatedly. And as I have observed, it occura mostly on days when she was sad or depressed by something!Anybody have any clue? Is this some disorder?

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Sounds like sleep paralysis or night terror. When you fall asleep your brain relaxes the muscles so you don't walk around. This occurs after you've fallen asleep and is restored just before you wake. In cases of stressful dreams/nightmares sometimes you wake up before the muscle tone is restored and you, of course, feel paralysed. The solution is to deal with the stress. Sometimes its caused by breathing problems (apnoea) which I think can be dealt with some devices that help keep the airway open.

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I agree with SJ and would add the following comments from a prior discussion regarding bad dreams:

 

"WebMD here offers a generally competent description of your experience and probable causes. Although some studies have linked sleep-paralysis to neurologically related causes, most have focused on its psychological implications. Of the two, I subscribe to the psychological context of sleep-paralysis. Generally, form the research I've reviewed, the predominant cause of most abnormal sleep conditions is stress. Either directly or indirectly, stress is likely a major factor in what causes sleep-paralysis. As with most perceptual experiences generated by the sleep process, I consider sleep-paralysis an effect of the brain stimuli that also causes dreaming. In my view, stressful stimuli cause bad dreams and sleep-paralysis is how our dreaming brain filters or identifies the mental or social effects of that stress. What could be key to our understanding of why some of us experience this condition is an understanding of what effects our brain is likely identifying through the experience of sleep-paralysis.

 

In my view, as I've posted previously, our understanding of the mental or social effects that dream imagery and scenarios interpret should be consist--from dreamer-to-dreamer--to be valid; therefore, sleep-paralysis likely interprets a type of mental or social paralysis, which could be identified by other elements of the experience. For example, a common sleep-paralysis scenario involves waking in bed and unable to move, in an eerily dark room, when a dark figure is suddenly observed in the room moving towards the dreamer and/or pressing-down on the dreamer's chests. In this scenario, sleep-paralysis conveys the mental effects of being paralyzed by fear, which relates to a mentally indecisive or immobile state. The dark bedroom describes the intimate mental environment of forebode that the dreamer's fear has constructed. Lastly, the dark intruder likely personifies the fear--the mental or social element--that the dreamer feels unable to defend against. I've found that these dreams often arise in anticipation of events or experiences that the dreamer believes he or she cannot escape or is unable to avoid. In another brief example, dream scenarios involving falling from high places isn't necessarily about the effects of falling asleep but most likely about the mental or social effects of failure and the fear of same. Similarly, being chased or running and hiding from someone or something in a dream suggesting an effort to mentally or socially escape or avoid some menacing mental or social consequence or influence. When we filter our conscious understanding of dreaming through the lens of how our dreaming brain universally interprets stimuli, I think what our dreams may convey becomes cogent and clearer".

Edited by DrmDoc
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One possible cause that cured it for me was resisting the habit of sleeping with covers completely over my head; this was in the days when blankets were the norm instead of duvets (Eiderdowns). If one does this, breathing in a confined space, the carbon dioxide levels go up and this can put the brain into panic mode because it thinks it's suffocating which possibly manifests as a night terror situation for the sufferer. I think it's less likely to happen with duvets but worth mentioning.

Edited by StringJunky
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Agree with all the above: sounds very much like isolated sleep paralysis and good sleep hygiene is a way reducing occurrence.

 

If it persists and is severe enough you can seek medical help, but depending on your healthcare set-up you may first need to convince your general physician about it and that you need a referral to a neurologist. General doctors may not be aware of it, but neurologists certainly should be.

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I suspect it has something to do with something she's avoiding while conscious, something that must be processed, but who knows? This is the Internet. She could equally be possessed by garden gnome.

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I suspect it has something to do with something she's avoiding while conscious, something that must be processed, but who knows? This is the Internet. She could equally be possessed by garden gnome.

Yes, that's a possibility. They may need to stop running, so to speak, and address the thing or theme they are avoiding. I had recurring dreams of running as fast as I could from something frightening. It would nearly catch me and I'd wake up, scared. I mentioned it to a friend and he said when it happened again stop and turn around. He also said "Do you dream in colour and can you see your feet?" One night, not long after, I had this recurring dream again going over a high, suspended wooden bridge but this time I stopped. I looked around and said to myself "Yes, I can see in colour". I looked down and said "Yes, I can see my feet". With fear in my mind I turned around and it was just me alone; I was running from myself. It's not happened since. The takeaway from this experience for me is that whatever you are unable to face in real life will show up in some way in your dreams. There was a problem with my mental and emotional equilibrium at the time and that was my brain's way of addressing it. I have no objective evidence though but I'm happy that it was solved.

 

What's that device you mentioned in another thread for helping the airway stay open?

Edited by StringJunky
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Yes, that's a possibility. They may need to stop running, so to speak, and address the thing or theme they are avoiding. I had recurring dreams of running as fast as I could from something frightening. It would nearly catch me and I'd wake up, scared. I mentioned it to a friend and he said when it happened again stop and turn around. He also said "Do you dream in colour and can you see your feet?" One night, not long after, I had this recurring dream again going over a high, suspended wooden bridge but this time I stopped. I looked around and said to myself "Yes, I can see in colour". I looked down and said "Yes, I can see my feet". With fear in my mind I turned around and it was just me alone; I was running from myself. It's not happened since. The takeaway from this experience for me is that whatever you are unable to face in real life will show up in some way in your dreams. There was a problem with my mental and emotional equilibrium at the time and that was my brain's way of addressing it. I have no objective evidence though but I'm happy that it was solved.

 

What's that device you mentioned in another thread for helping the airway stay open?

 

As much as I think I know about dreams doesn't prevent me from experiencing bad ones, which is reasonable since knowledge is not always a deterrent to the stresses that cause abnormal sleep. I've collected and recorded dream experiences for many years and welcome bad dreams for the psychological clarity they frequently provide. If I may, your dream is particularly insightful for the clarity of its imagery implications. For example, dream depictions of bridges, from my experience, primarily regard mental or social transitions and their height regards the potential for failure amid those transitions. Being chased onto a bridge regards the feeling of being compelled or forced into a transition and being chased without a pursuer acknowledges self and no real threat as a compelling force. I often find dreams convey what we already know consciously but with clarity our conscious circumstances frequently do not permit.

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Sounds like sleep paralysis or night terror. When you fall asleep your brain relaxes the muscles so you don't walk around. This occurs after you've fallen asleep and is restored just before you wake. In cases of stressful dreams/nightmares sometimes you wake up before the muscle tone is restored and you, of course, feel paralysed. The solution is to deal with the stress. Sometimes its caused by breathing problems (apnoea) which I think can be dealt with some devices that help keep the airway open.

If she wakes up before the muscle tone recovers, how is she able to scream? She usually screams "Mom!!" And supposedly she is able to move her neck and head.

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If she wakes up before the muscle tone recovers, how is she able to scream? She usually screams "Mom!!" And supposedly she is able to move her neck and head.

All the muscles don't necessarily gain tone simultaneously. It makes sense that you you can move your face and neck muscles first because that's critical to your airway, environmental awareness and raising the alarm ASAP.; evolutionarily, it makes sense from a survival POV.

Edited by StringJunky
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If I may, your dream is particularly insightful for the clarity of its imagery implications. For example, dream depictions of bridges, from my experience, primarily regard mental or social transitions and their height regards the potential for failure amid those transitions. Being chased onto a bridge regards the feeling of being compelled or forced into a transition and being chased without a pursuer acknowledges self and no real threat as a compelling force. I often find dreams convey what we already know consciously but with clarity our conscious circumstances frequently do not permit.

Yes, The fact I stopped halfway across the bridge seemed significant and the fact it happened on a bridge as though representing that I was trying to cross over to some 'other side'. Most of my memorable dreams seem to have an escapist narrative. It seems as though some part of myself will not allow me to avoid things that trouble me; I am often forced to face myself in my dreams.

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If she wakes up before the muscle tone recovers, how is she able to scream? She usually screams "Mom!!" And supposedly she is able to move her neck and head.

 

Although not impossible, some muscle movement during sleep atonia--which is that relaxed state of muscle-readiness that occurs at the onset of dream sleep--is entirely possible. Interestingly, eye movement can and does occur amid atonia and sleep-paralysis because of a neural distinction between the circuitry of eye movement and that associated with gross muscle movement. The circuitry for eye movement arises contiguously more recent in our CNS than those associated with sound detection and tactile sensory. It is likely that eye movement evolved concurrent with those brain structures associated with dreaming. I think sleep-paralysis is a misnomer because the body isn't paralyzed, it is the brain insufficiently generating the commands for movement. As I understand the process, during sleep-paralysis episodes the brain believes it is still dreaming because the visual arousal cues associated with these episodes doesn't provide the stimuli sufficient to cause arousal. The brain requires real tactile stimuli to initiate the arousal process. which is why sound and shaking a sleeper cause arousal more readily than visual or olfactory stimuli. However, the hierarchal nature of facial and jaw movement followed by neck and then body movement isn't that extraordinary. This mirrors the process of our brain's gradual perception that its visual experiences in bed are associated with real tactile experience, which may only require a few seconds but feel like an eternity.

 

Yes, The fact I stopped halfway across the bridge seemed significant and the fact it happened on a bridge as though representing that I was trying to cross over to some 'other side'. Most of my memorable dreams seem to have an escapist narrative. It seems as though some part of myself will not allow me to avoid things that trouble me; I am often forced to face myself in my dreams.

 

I agree; I find that this type of dream shows how certain non-existent concerns and influences often compel our behavior and actions.

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The truth is often unpalatable, but no less worth learning.

I see what you mean now, yes, that's true. I have no choice, my brain won't let me do anything else or it will bug me with disturbing dreams. :) I know that's a bit of Cartesian dualism in that sentence but that's what it feels like subjectively.

Wiggling my fingertips has helped me to rouse myself a couple of times now.

 

Do come up with some weird imaginings before recognizing the issue though :wacko:

As we said in that other thread, the sleeping brain appears to use a different mode of operation to express narratives which seem odd to our awake selves.

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Wiggling my fingertips has helped me to rouse myself a couple of times now.

 

Do come up with some weird imaginings before recognizing the issue though :wacko:

 

I'll try, although wiggling my fingertips to arouse myself is far more satisfying... :ph34r:

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