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Sleep Disorders Message Board

Sleep Disorders Board Index

I'm a 41 year old female nursing student. for several years now I have experienced something peculiar whenever I take an afternoon nap, and am not sure if it could be sleep paralysis...

I try hard to get a good 8 hours sleep a night, do not suffer from insomnia and generally sleep very well, with NO unusual happenings. However, I do get very sleepy during the day with an uncontrollable urge to sleep. This only happens if I am relatively 'inactive' i.e. sitting studying. I try fighting the urge to sleep, but usually fall asleep over my work anyway - even while I'm writing. I find it helps to just give in and take a short nap, so I set a small kitchen timer for 15 minutes and lay on the couch to nap....which is fine, I nap, wake up when the timer goes off and am then ready to resume studying. The problems happen if I don't set the timer, or I feel so tired that I decide to nap for a longer period of time....I will regain a sort of dream-like mental consciousness but not be able to prise open my eyes or move my body. I know I need to wake up, but can't physically move. I do not feel scared, I do not feel any pressure on my body - I just can't move. Occasionally I can manage to prise my eyes open for a brief second. The thing that worries me is that I will stay in this state for very long periods of time - up to a couple of hours, and not be able to move. I don't find it scary, I feel very relaxed, but it's annoying when I know I have to get back to studying, or pick up the kids from school and I just can't wake up. Occasionally I will have vivid dreams during this time, which are often emotionally upsetting (I can 'hear' myself sobbing, but am not really sobbing in real life). It takes every bit of effort I can muster to try and prise my eyes open and start to move, and I keep 'relapsing' into the paralytic state. When I finally do manage to wake up I feel very groggy, somewhat nauseous, and confused for an hour or so afterwards. The curious thing is that this NEVER happens when I sleep at night - only when I take a nap.

I've done some reading on sleep paralysis, and while some of my symptoms are similar, others are different (I take much longer to come out of it than normal, it never happens at night etc.,)

Any insights? I'm not particularly worried about it, because I can prevent it happening if I only nap for 15 minutes or less - and I don't find it frightening as such.

Interested for any input,
Best wishes, Paint.

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