Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Night Terror

Robert Ingpen
Illustration for Encyclopaedia Of The Things That Never Were (1985)

I had a night terror last night. It's been so long since I've had one that I forgot how awful they are. I woke up feeling like someone (or something) was in the room. Actually, I had the feeling that multiple somethings were in the room. One of the things had a tight grip on my arm and was pulling at me. I tried to struggle in a Beowulf-vs-Grendel kind of way, but, alas, the muscle paralysis caused by my slumber had not worn off yet. I finally managed to open my eyes and swore I heard one of the things say, "she struggles...we must leave".

The last time this happened, I thought there was a man lifting up my sheet. I thought I heard him say, "Is she awake, do you think?" That last time, I jumped out of bed as soon as I thought the coast was clear, barricaded myself in my room, and started to call 911. I hung up before it rang, with the subconscious inkling that there weren't really people in my house. Needless to say, however, I stayed up all night clinging the phone.

Last night, when I finally came to my senses, I ran through my house with a baseball bat. I know it sounds stupid, but it was the only thing I could think of doing. My dog, the useless little runt, stayed in bed. Apparently, the intruders had cast some sort of lazy-ass sleeping spell on him. I clocked about 3 hours of sleep last night because of this little escapade.

I would love to study the neurobiology of sleep terrors. One wonders if the concept of demon/ evil spirit/alien intruders could be explained solely by this phenomenon.

I hope I wasn't probed.

Here's a webpage dedicated to this type of sleep paralysis/terror/hallucinations. I couldn't find any good articles on hypnagogic hallucinations and sleep paralysis that everyone would have access to, but if I do, I'll post them. Posted by Picasa


At 11:26 AM, Blogger Pink Cupcake said...

How horrible. I hope you have a peaceful sleep tonight.

At 11:39 AM, Blogger sue said...

I've always been facinated about that, too. ... I also wonder if it can be related to the "near death" experiences. It always amazes me when my ESP-stuff (or my daughters') kicks in. I'm as surprised as everyone else around me that are effected. I know we only use a small percentage of our brains - I've often wondered what would be possible with more. I think our brains hold great secrets - even from ourselves.

Sleep better tonight, hon...

At 2:20 PM, Blogger Murky Thoughts said...

Sorry. That was me. Won't happen again.

At 5:42 PM, Blogger BrightStar said...

!!! Scary !!!

At 5:43 PM, Blogger shrinkykitten said...

ugh. those are the worst.. sorry for bad typing. kitten being needy.

At 5:43 PM, Blogger trisha said...

My husband has sleep paralysis...more in a sec. R is stealing the computer out from under me.

At 5:45 PM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

I DARE you to try it again, Murky...I've set up traps this time and let's just say they aren't humane.

At 10:19 PM, Blogger Edie said...

It was so vivid that you actually had a prolonged, physical response... It sounds worrisome to me, no offense. It is really very common?

At 8:51 AM, Blogger she falters to rise said...

Edie: sleep paralysis and hypnagogic hallucinations are historically well documented so it doesn't seem to be a reflection of modern society, eating growth hormone, or dental fillings, at least. Some researchers believe that "alien abduction" and "haunted house" reports stem from these episodes.

The sleep paralysis happens when your cognitive state is activated before your muscle control is restored (our bodies shut down our movement during some stages of sleep, apparently so that we don't act out everything happening in our dreams). Sleep paraylsis is a fairly common experience within and among all cultures. The hypnagogic hallucinations are a bit more mysterious--they do tend to occur more frequently in people with sleep disorders, but anyone can have them. The "experiences" people have while meditating may be akin to the types of hallucinations that occur during this type of awake sleeping. Researchers have proposed that they are caused in part by a change in serotonin (serotonin-based drugs, such as the serotonin reuptake inhibitor, Prozac, are often used to treat these types of sleep disturbances).

No offense taken:)

At 12:40 AM, Blogger Psycho Kitty said...

I'm you typically have very vivid dreams, or lucid dreams? And do you ever get the feeling that you're falling when you begin to dream?
I'm a dream freak, what can I say? You're my brain expert, y'know. :)


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