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Sleep Apnea/Sleep Paralysis

This area is for Sleep Apnea questions and general Sleep Apnea Discussions.

Sleep Apnea/Sleep Paralysis

Postby Mr B » Sun Feb 05, 2012 3:54 pm

I am a 25 year old man with a case of Mild OSA, i will also be using a cpap whenever it gets delivered to me. However, along with the OSA i also have a very scary sleep problem that I have had for years. I have always had sleep paralysis. When I was a kid, I would sometimes wake up, not be able to move, and have trouble breathing. I felt like I was being suffocated in my pillow or something strange like that. Every instance was very scary.

Then at 18, I would begin to have a few episodes of sleep paralysis again, but this time, when I was paralyzed, my heart would race up to like 180 bpm (a guess) and it would pound so hard, but as soon as I woke up, it would stop....almost like it never happened at all.

Sleep paralysis went away for a few years. Now fast forward to the present. At 25, I get really bad episodes again. I always seem to get paralysis when I take a nap during the day, or if I wake up at night too early, and then go back to bed. Or if I sleep in to late. But ALWAYS during naps or if I go to bed too early.

And now its downright terrifying. I drift off to sleep, then after 5 minutes, I all of a sudden become conscious, but I am completely paralyzed, I can't move. And it feels like I can't breath. But the most distressing symptom is my heart literally races out of my chest and thuds so hard. Sometimes it goes so fast it feels more like a vibrating rather than beating. This terrifies me. Will I die from this? The crazy thing is, when I try to calm down, and just go with the paralysis, my heart slows down, But again, this is very important. As soon as I wake up, it all STOPS. Completely. No palpitations, no racing, nothing. But I always wake up gasping for air and moaning from fright. Its the most dreadful sensation in the world. The paralysis, the shortness of breath, the sensation of having an arrhythmia of some sort as i'm concious but paralyzed, then as soon as i wake up, BAM, its over. Of course, during my sleep study none of this happened. Can Sleep Apnea be related to my Sleep Paralysis episodes?
Mr B
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Re: Sleep Apnea/Sleep Paralysis

Postby Sleepster » Sun Feb 05, 2012 9:50 pm

This sounds like the effects of sleep apnea to me. When you stop breathing, due to an obstructed airway, your blood oxygen level drops, your heart rate increases, and your body has to wake you up. It sounds to me like you are semi-conscious while you're trying to wake up, and even though you were asleep just before you awoke, you have a memory of it.

I wouldn't be overly concerned about. Your body will wake you up before you suffocate.

Of course, I'm not a doctor. I would recommend you call your doctor and explain your symptoms. He may do a stat order for your CPAP machine so you can get it sooner. I was so worried that I went to my doctor's office, explained things to the receptionist, she had me come back in later that morning to see the doctor, who then put in a stat order for my CPAP machine. The DME came to my house that afternoon with the machine.

I don't thing I was in any danger. It's just that I was so disgusted with myself because I wasn't getting enough sleep to be able to function properly. I was anxious, and I think the doctor saw that and wanted to help me out.

Make sure you get a fully data-capable machine. Ask your doctor if he will prescibe a APAP for you rather than a CPAP. It's the same billing code to the insurance company, costs just a bit more, and will help your doctor diagnose your treatment and make adjustments to your prescription, if necessary.
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Re: Sleep Apnea/Sleep Paralysis

Postby erinprime » Mon Feb 06, 2012 9:09 pm

Same experience with sleep paralysis as I have had. It has come and gone in waves since I was a child (I am 30 now). It seems every decade or so I have a few bad years. Some periods of my life it happens nearly every time I fall asleep.... sometimes it goes away for months, sometimes it goes away for years. I find the only thing I can control while it is happening is my breathing so if my husband is around I will usually start breathing really strange on purpose and then he knows what is happening and can at least comfort me. I thought I was over being scared of it until last month when it lasted close to 10 min one day. My doc says it is nothing to worry about. You should definitely bring it up with your doctor. I was recently diagnosed with narcolepsy in addition to OSA and sleep paralysis was one of the red flags. The two don't always go hand in hand... but it might be a clue that there is something else going on. Or it could mean absolutely nothing... some people just get it for no reason. My sleep paralysis did not go away with effective apnea treatment. It does help knowing what it is at least. I remember being so scared and confused as a kid and no one really believed me when I tried to describe it.


I just remembered something my doctor told me that might help you out. She said that most people experience sleep paralysis when they are laying on their back. If this is the case for you, you can reduce the chances of it happening just by making an effort to lay in a different position. I would say 95% of my sleep paralysis experiences happen when I am on my back. I can remember a few times of it happening face down, but never when laying on my side. I hope t his helps!
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Re: Sleep Apnea/Sleep Paralysis

Postby sleepygirl_YL » Fri Feb 24, 2012 7:51 pm

I, too, have had sleep paralysis, though luckily only maybe 6 times, and I'm almost 60. I'm so glad for me they are so rare. I didn't start getting them until I was in my 40's. Sometimes it's while sleeping on my stomach, sometimes on my back. Thus far never on my side. That feeling that if you could just will yourself to move a finger you'd be able to wake up from it. Seems like minutes when you're going through it but possibly it's only seconds. Someone explained it once that you're actually awake, but your brain hasn't kicked in enough for you to be able to move. They weren't concerned that it was anything to worry about. It must be more common than I thought though because it was a question on the questionnaire for the sleep study for sleep apnea. You two aren't alone.
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Re: Sleep Apnea/Sleep Paralysis

Postby saycheese » Sat Feb 25, 2012 5:28 am

Brother, you have basically written the story of my life. I have had the exact experiences as you described to the letter. Mine started when I was around 5 and happened almost every day when I woke up. They also occured in my teens and 20s while taking naps as well. I felt as if every experience was fighting for my life to get a breath - they are indeed extremely frightening. I am 60 now and I can safely say that I have had thousands of these episodes.

From what my sleep disorders doctors have told me, your body is paralyzed during REM (dream) sleep to prevent you from literally acting out your dreams in your sleep. Sleep paralysis is the same paralysis that occurs during REM sleep, but it occurs at innapropriate stages during the sleep cycle. I also found out through the sleep studies that my most severe apneas occured during REM!

I also remember there were hundreds of times (at least) during these paralysis episodes that I also experienced very frightening auditory, visual and tactile sensations. It all makes sense to me now since my diagnosis of mixed apneas four months ago. Well, better late than never is my attitude.

I haven't had another sleep paralysis episode since I went on BiPap about four months ago, but if I do, I am confident that a burst of air from the machine will prompt me to start breathing again.

I am assuming that you have seen sleep disorders doctors who are also familiar with Narcolepsy. Sleep paralysis with hypnagogic or hypnapompic hallucinations are also auxilliary symptoms of Narcolepsy. My sleep disorders doctors ruled that disorder out.

Good luck.
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Re: Sleep Apnea/Sleep Paralysis

Postby givemesome_zzz » Thu Mar 15, 2012 3:44 pm

Newbie here. I have had Sleep Apnea since i was in the 10th grade (so around 16 years old), back then the term Sleep Apnea was NOT even around. I remember trying to figure out what the heck I had. I was extremely fit, and lean and I remember falling asleep after school in the afternoons and taking a nap before football/basketball practice and this (your definition of Sleep Paralysis) is EXACTLY what happened to me. Later on in life i finally heard about sleep apnea, but everyone that I knew that had it couldn't relate to what i was telling them about my symptoms (this is how i described it: my mind would wake up while my body was still asleep and I could tell I stopped breathing and I would TRY to make myself to wake up, but my body wouldn't listen???) It was the scariest thing in the world!!

I was sooo tired and sleepy, but was actually AFRAID to fall asleep!! Only lately when I found this site, did I finally realize there was a name for it, and I was NOT the only one that had this problem (which is an INCREDIBLE RELIEF). I just had my 4 sleep study last Saturday (10March, 2012), and for once i got a real cool Sleep technician that explained it ALL to me, including the Sleep Paralysis - which is CAUSED by sleep apnea, but only certain people actually get it or remember it. Basically it's your body is in a different stage of sleep than ur mind (for a few seconds or in my case a lot of seconds). Your body is in the deeper stage and "still asleep", but your mind has already "sorta woke up".

Let me just say this...I know millions of people have sleep apnea, but the ones (like myself and the people on this thread, that have the sleep paralysis) we get the worst of BOTH WORLDS...we still suffer from SA like everyone else, but unlike everyone else that didn't even kno they had SA, until someone told them they snored real loud or stopped breathing in their sleep, WE KNEW something was wrong with US, and had to go through the Sleep Paralysis torture.

Thank God for this site!
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