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Tiggs

Waking up whilst asleep

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I had a strange experience last night.

I was having a disturbing dream and woke up while the rest of my body was still asleep. I know that sounds a little strange, but it's the best way that I can describe it.

The first thing I noticed was a sensation in the centre of my lower spine. It felt like intense heat coupled with mild pain. I then realised that the rest of my body "felt" strange - the best way I can describe it is like Pins and needles, all over. It slowly dawned on me that I was concious, but the sensations my conciousness was receiving wasn't the normal set of sensations it was used to.

It was decidely strange. I experimented a little, and managed to move a finger slowly, trying to adjust to the new set of sensations. It was a little like moving through treacle.

After a while experimenting, I noticed that something unusual was happening outside of my body. I distinctly remember trying to filter my senses to determine what it was, but was unable to. I decided to slowly will myself to full concious control over my body, which gave me the strange sensation of the Pins and needles slowly retreating and my "normal" sensations returning. It turned out to be a car alarm going off - not mine, as it happens.

In short, I think I got a taste of the inputs that my subconcious gets while I'm asleep. It's happened to me a few times before, but this is the first time I've been near a computer to type it up, directly after it happened. Just thought I'd share it and see if anyone else has had similar experiences.

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ahaha what get attacked?

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Was it like coming out of a case of Sleep paralysis?

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I had a strange experience last night.

I was having a disturbing dream and woke up while the rest of my body was still asleep. I know that sounds a little strange, but it's the best way that I can describe it.

The first thing I noticed was a sensation in the centre of my lower spine. It felt like intense heat coupled with mild pain. I then realised that the rest of my body "felt" strange - the best way I can describe it is like Pins and needles, all over. It slowly dawned on me that I was concious, but the sensations my conciousness was receiving wasn't the normal set of sensations it was used to.

It was decidely strange. I experimented a little, and managed to move a finger slowly, trying to adjust to the new set of sensations. It was a little like moving through treacle.

After a while experimenting, I noticed that something unusual was happening outside of my body. I distinctly remember trying to filter my senses to determine what it was, but was unable to. I decided to slowly will myself to full concious control over my body, which gave me the strange sensation of the Pins and needles slowly retreating and my "normal" sensations returning. It turned out to be a car alarm going off - not mine, as it happens.

In short, I think I got a taste of the inputs that my subconcious gets while I'm asleep. It's happened to me a few times before, but this is the first time I've been near a computer to type it up, directly after it happened. Just thought I'd share it and see if anyone else has had similar experiences.

It happened to me twice. But when it happened to me. When the my body was trying to wake up it was like walking through very sticky mud or molasis.

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Was it like coming out of a case of Sleep paralysis?

I don't think so. It's possibly related, I guess. I could move. It was slow at first, but when I tried to move my finger quickly, the sensation began to die away, so I made the decision to just move slowly and explore it a bit more. When I made the concious decision to wake up, I moved pretty quickly. I didn't, at any point, think that I was unable to move.

I've had a couple of bouts of sleep paralysis when I was a teenager. My experience with that is that I was concious and completely unable to move, even though I wanted to, but my senses were the familar ones - that's what made it so scary, I guess, when I feel a weight on my legs, slowly making it's way up the bed towards me. When I came out of those, it was a sudden snap back to movement, rather than a fuzzy drift, if that makes any sense.

This felt different. On the occassions that it has happened before, I've generally just mentally noted it and then drifted back off to sleep. I think that this is one of the few times that I've come back to full conciousness, and if it wasn't for the car alarm going off (and some heavy nicotine craving) I probably would have gone back to sleep.

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sounds like sleep paryalsis. pretty scary the frst time it happens to you.

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Posted (edited)

It does sound like sleep paralysis and you awoke before the brain was able to send signals to your muscles. This can happen when you awaken abruptly from REM sleep I believe.

Edited by Lottie

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Posted (edited)

Hey, Tiggs.

No worry. Dreams happen at a very light stage of sleep, and it's easy to wake up. Some people wake up at the end of every rapid eye movement phase, four or five times a night. Typically, they fall back into sleep promptly. If I understand you correctly, you would have done just that except for some accidental circumstances.

Everything about the "paralysis" part screams "sleep paralysis." It's hypnopompic, partial, what you can move readily is small-muscle, and the whole thing spontaneously resolves itself in seconds-to-minutes.

As to the pain part, that's trickier. Pain is very complex, involving a great deal of both low-level perceptual and high-level cognitive processing. Under the best of circumstances, pain is often misread as to location of problem, degree of pain (including failing to notice what should be painful), and "quality" (burning when it should be hyperextension, etc.).

Suddenly waking up in the middle of the night is not the best of circumstances. The quality of your pain was likely confused because your twilight consciousness, like everybody else's, is easily confused.

Comparison of sleep paralysis episodes is tricky. The "hallucinatory" or other sensory effects are a separate phenomenon from the paralysis itself, which is simply the lingering of the genuine, and fully adaptive, paralysis that accompanies rapid-eye-movement sleep.

You might want to check that your mattress is giving you proper support. But otherwise, just another nightshift in the dream factory.

Edited by eight bits

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Imagine that this is what life is like all the time for those people who are completely paralyzed but still conscious....

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It seems that the common consensus is that this was sleep paralysis. I'm not entirely convinced this is the case, so I've been investigating further.

As an update, I've been trying to replicate what happened. Last night, I had some limited success. I laid down and attempted to remain alert whilst falling asleep. Normally, I have no recollection of moving from conciousness to sleep. After a few minutes with no noticable gap in conciousness on my part, I managed to replicate the Pins and Needles feeling but only within my hands - within seconds of "noticing" this feeling disappeared. On my next attempt, I fell completely to sleep.

I'm aware that experimenting with things on the edge of sleep are tricky - it may well be my previous experience triggering a dream which I was unable to distinguish from conciousness, but I'm finding it fun to explore, nonetheless. If anything interesting happens, I'll post it on this thread.

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