Question: I have had night terrors all my life, many of the times they are your “normal night terrors”, but some of the times when I start waking up from an episode, I find I can’t move or breathe.
The worst of these I find myself waking up, not able to move or breathe and the images from the nightmare or night terror start forming around the bed, I think I am fully awake because I can see the room, my ceiling and know where I am. I can’t say anything nor move any part of my body, then all of a sudden I have full control and fully wake up.There have been many times where I think I am awake, get up and go to the kitchen, when I turn around whatever was in my nightmare will be standing in the kitchen and then I jolt awake. This will happen a few times in a row and soon I don’t know if I am awake or not. I wore a heart rate monitor for a while and one episode went as follows: I was dreaming that there were zombies chasing me, right as one grabbed me, I woke up shaking in my bed. Everything looked normal, I got up and got a glass of water and climbed back in bed. Then I heard a noise at my bedroom patio door. When I opened the curtains and got close to the window the face of the zombie appeared just outside. I screamed for my fiance to wake up but when I tried to run from the window I found myself laying in bed looking at the ceiling fan, so I sat up and woke
my fiance up. He went out onto the deck to check it out, then I looked over to bedroom door leading to the house hallway, there the zombie was standing. I screamed and once again was in bed looking at the ceiling, I told myself to wake up. Over and over again but couldn’t move or breath, I told myself to kick but couldn’t, to scream but couldn’t.Then finally I sat up, my fingers were numb and I was shaking. My fiance was sitting in bed next to me asking me if I was ok. He said I had been twitching in my sleep so he tried to wake me up, but I just looked at him and didn’t respond to him until I sat up. I looked at my HRM and my heart rate was 186, that’s just as high as when I’m running sprints.Is it possible to have night terrors followed by sleep paralysis?Kevin: Hey Blanca. Stunning stories; thanks for sharing them. I always find false awakenings like the ones you just described to be absolutely trippy and fascinating at the same time.To answer your question, we must distinguish night terrors from nightmares. Night terrors happen in NREM slow-wave sleep, so it’s not really possible from an intuitive standpoint for a sleep paralysis episode to occur right after, since sleep paralysis is preceded by REM sleep. Just judging from your description here, it sounds like what you are experiencing are instead nightmares, which occur during REM sleep, followed in some instances by the sleep paralysis with the nightmares carrying over.You may find this book by Ryan Hurd helpful with empowering yourself against these episodes.All the best!Kevin