My husband had a frightening dream last night. He dreamed that he was awake and he felt that someone was choking him. He couldn’t move. He could see me asleep beside him but he couldn’t reach me. He couldn’t call out for help. He was so relieved when he actually woke up and realized that it was a dream. It was the first time he experienced such a thing, and it scared the both of us.
After some online research, I learned that my husband’s scary experience is called isolated sleep paralysis. “Episodes of isolated sleep paralysis last from a few seconds to 1 or 2 minutes in which the person is unable to move or speak. These spells end on their own or when the person is touched or moved. In rare cases, the person may have dream-like sensations or hallucinations, which may be scary to them.” (www.medlineplus.gov)
My husband and I were so relieved to be able to put a name to his experience and to understand it a little bit. It wasn’t caused by something supernatural like a malevolent spirit. (I found this interesting read in LiveScience.com, “What Makes Sleep Paralysis Scary.”) Since my husband doesn’t have symptoms of any other sleep disorder, he doesn’t need any medical treatment. What may help prevent another episode of sleep paralysis is getting better sleep.
While it was very frightening, my husband’s experience of sleep paralysis is a good reminder for us to put more importance in getting a good night’s sleep.