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  1. #11
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Sleep apnea is my first guess. Panic attacks would be another.

    Worth going to see a doctor about. If it's sleep apnea, you will want medical help to treat it.

  2. #12
    Paranoid Android Video's Avatar
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    I experience panic attacks in a very similar way, but don't let that feedback discourage you from seeing a doctor. Heart problems and panic attacks are both physical conditions, and knowledge is an essential treatment for the former.
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  3. #13
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    I originally posted in this thread that it could be panic attacks, but I deleted my post because aren't they supposed to make your heart beat faster not slower? In my experience anyways..

  4. #14
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    @lunareclipze, if it's not sleep apnea, it could be sleep paralysis. It's a sleep/wake cycle anomaly where your mental consciousness returns before your voluntary muscle use does, so you're left essentially paralyzed for a short period of time. Some people report chest pain/pressure along with it, and historically it has been depicted as a demon sitting on one's chest. There is typically an intense sense of panic that accompanies it. (Obviously, it sucks.)

  5. #15
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    if it's not sleep apnea, it could be sleep paralysis.
    Good catch. I'm leaning less towards panic attack and more towards sleep disorder of some sort.

    I just experienced this for the first time last week. Luckily, I shortly fell back to sleep and didn't experience panic or any of the severe symptoms, but it was pretty freaky.

  6. #16
    i love skylights's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Udog View Post
    Good catch. I'm leaning less towards panic attack and more towards sleep disorder of some sort.

    I just experienced this for the first time last week. Luckily, I shortly fell back to sleep and didn't experience panic or any of the severe symptoms, but it was pretty freaky.
    Thanks! Yeah, it's definitely unpleasant. When I first got it I thought I might be dying, which was why the OP made me think of it. I actually used to get it frequently as an older teen, when I had really bad sleep habits. Fortunately I've learned techniques for minimizing it - not sleeping on your back, having a regular sleep schedule (I have noticed it seems most important not to sleep at the same times, but just to make sure that you get adequate sleep), and making a clear "sleep environment" - eliminating lights, comfortable sleeping clothing, going into a different room, performing pre-sleep rituals like reading, etc. I used to get panic attacks, too, and I sort of wonder if the two don't have underlying anxiety connections, even though it seems like the dominant theory is that sleep paralysis is a sleep cycle regulation disorder, maybe something wrong in the pons. The shared similarities do make me wonder, though. Clearly there is often some connection to stimulation of the fight/flight fear response.

  7. #17
    Seriously Delirious Udog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skylights View Post
    Thanks! Yeah, it's definitely unpleasant. When I first got it I thought I might be dying, which was why the OP made me think of it. I actually used to get it frequently as an older teen, when I had really bad sleep habits. Fortunately I've learned techniques for minimizing it - not sleeping on your back, having a regular sleep schedule (I have noticed it seems most important not to sleep at the same times, but just to make sure that you get adequate sleep), and making a clear "sleep environment" - eliminating lights, comfortable sleeping clothing, going into a different room, performing pre-sleep rituals like reading, etc. I used to get panic attacks, too, and I sort of wonder if the two don't have underlying anxiety connections, even though it seems like the dominant theory is that sleep paralysis is a sleep cycle regulation disorder, maybe something wrong in the pons. The shared similarities do make me wonder, though. Clearly there is often some connection to stimulation of the fight/flight fear response.
    Yikes, that sounds incredibly stressful. I'm glad you were able to make it manageable.

    Yeah, my understanding is that it's a sleep cycle regulation disorder as well. The part where we are more or less paralyzed is normal, but we aren't supposed to be consciously awake during it. It's not hard to believe that anxiety can mess with that.

  8. #18
    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    Oh, yep. Sleep apnea sounds even more likely. Which you'd think I would have thought of since I sleep next to a guy using a CPAP. He usually don't wake completely up, though. Just enough to freak me out.
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  9. #19
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  10. #20
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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sleep_paralysis

    Physiologically, sleep paralysis is closely related to REM atonia, the paralysis that occurs as a natural part of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. Sleep paralysis occurs either when falling asleep, or when awakening. When it occurs upon falling asleep, the person remains aware while the body shuts down for REM sleep, and it is called hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. When it occurs upon awakening, the person becomes aware before the REM cycle is complete, and it is called hypnopompic or postdormital.[10] The paralysis can last from several seconds to several minutes, with some rare cases being hours, "by which the individual may experience panic symptoms"[11] (described below). As the correlation with REM sleep suggests, the paralysis is not entirely complete; use of EOG traces shows that eye movement is still possible during such episodes; however, the individual experiencing sleep paralysis is unable to speak.[12]
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