Thursday, June 14, 2012

Sleep: The Final Frontier

Yesterday morning I woke up with a pins and needles feeling in my arms and legs.  I figured I must have just been sleeping in a funny position, so I tried to roll over.  But I couldn't.  I couldn't move at all, which scared the hell out of me.  After what seemed like several minutes, I was finally able to move.  When I told my dad about it, he explained that it was sleep paralysis.  I consulted Google, and after reading a riveting Wikipedia article on the subject, I fancy myself educated enough to discuss this phenomenon with the general public.

Stop me if you know this already, but sleep paralysis is when a person becomes aware before their REM sleep cycle is complete, so they are unable to move anything (with the exception of their eyes).

In many countries this phenomenon is attributed to a ghost
sitting on your chest.  Devon Sawa, is that you?

picture source
Sleep paralysis can also be accompanied by hallucinations.  Many scientists think this is what is actually happening when people think they are being abducted by aliens.  I have only had a couple sleep paralysis episodes that I can recall, none of which involved alien probing.

When I was in elementary school, I was paid a visit by Slimer from Ghostbusters, only he had sharp fangs and a poor attitude.  He hung out above my bookcase, and looked something like this:

"I'm an asshole who doesn't have any friends because I like to
terrify small children with anxiety disorders."

picture source
During another hallucination, I watched as bats flew down from the ceiling and tangled themselves in my hair.  Once I could finally move, I placed a blanket over my head (unsure why), walked into my parents' room, and politely asked them to remove the vermin I had trapped underneath.

Sleep disorders freak me out.  My brother has had night terrors as far back as I can remember, and has been known to leave the house in his sleep.  I guess I should be thankful that I can't leave my bed during my hallucinations.  I'm also thankful that I don't have trouble falling asleep.  I recently discovered online message boards devoted to Ambien stories.  They are highly entertaining, and involve people doing tons of crazy stuff in the middle of the night with no memory of it in the morning.  It's like giving yourself a roofy.

My favorite story on the message board involved a woman who woke up in the middle of the night, shaved her arms, and spelled the word "bath" in her bathtub with duct tape.  Also, I found some lovely Ambien comics drawn by a guy named Drew that I want to share.

comic source (Toothpaste for Dinner)
So, does anyone else have any fun sleep paralysis, night terror, or Ambien stories?  If so, you should share, especially if you are currently on Ambien.  Just give me a second to go make some popcorn.


  1. I have sleep paralysis! I can't fall asleep on my stomach, because every time I do I wake up unable to rotate my neck from one side to the other. It is absolutely terrifying so I make sure not to EVER fall asleep on my stomach.

    1. It is terrifying! Glad to know I'm not alone.

  2. I sleepwalk. I used to do it several times a week as a kid but now it's maybe once a month or so. My freshman year in college I was caught playing with the lights in my dorm and campus safety tried to bust me for being drunk and/or high. I also once walked down to my friend's fraternity house, let myself in through an unlocked fire escape, and curled up in their lounge. At least I had enough sense to take my shoes off.

    I also took Ambien for a short while, but really don't have any funny stories about it. Tripped-out me loves to online shop, though, and had great taste in shoes.

    1. Haha! A lot of the funny Ambien message board stories involved tripped-out online shopping.

  3. I don't need no stinkin' Ambien to get crazy in the middle of the night!