I have never had a great relationship with sleep. It would take me at least half an hour (in some cases many hours) just to fall asleep when I was a kid. To this day I am unable to take naps during daytime and I have somehow gotten used to sleeping around six hours per night. But let us dive right into sleeping disorders, shall we? I have been having some trouble with exploding head syndrome and sleep paralysis. I only recently found out about the first one being a disorder. You see, I googled it. Always google your symptoms. Always.
Exploding head syndrome
Exploding head syndrome is a parasomnia. A parasomnia involves undesired events that come along with sleep. Exploding head consists of a loud noise that you suddenly imagine just before you fall asleep. It can seem like a violent explosion has gone off in your head. (Source)
In my case, I have experienced hearing people (usually my mother) talking in the other end of the house. I have heard my mom screaming because of anger. I have heard her calling out for our cat (that had been missing for weeks). I have also heard other people’s screams, footsteps, threats and very loud whistling or explosion-like sounds. They are generally unpleasant sounds that wake me up feeling anxious and very scared. I always try to get out of bed when I hear something because it feels very realistic, but that is when sleep paralysis, the sneaky little devil, comes in.
It is something that I have heard many people have tried triggering. My only question is…WHY?! It is a horrifying experience.
Recurrent isolated sleep paralysis is a parasomnia. A parasomnia involves undesired events that come along with sleep. Sleep paralysis causes you to be unable to move your body at either of the two following times:
When falling asleep (hypnagogic or predormital form)
When waking up from sleep (hypnopompic or postdormital form)
Some people also hallucinate during an episode. They may see, hear or feel things that are not there. They may even think that another person is in the room with them. (Source)
My experience is usually rather classical – waking up, not being able to move, being very aware of my surroundings, lying on my back, hearing someone enter the room, feeling their presence and trying with all my strength to push the blanket off, but failing. The last time it happened was a bit different though. It started with screams in the other room, specifically, someone threatening to cut my legs off (ayy, exploding head, sup?). I was lying on my side with my back to the door. I then heard footsteps and someone entering my room and realized I could not move. I thought to myself that there is no point in struggling and just surrendered to the moment, closed my eyes as tight as I could and waited. About a minute passed without anyone attacking me (because I was hallucinating, duh) and finally I was able to move again. The entire house was quiet and everyone was asleep. I stayed up for another hour because I am a huge whimp. 🙂
I have noticed that these events only occur when I am at home, in my own bed. My father suggested me to change things up in my room, but I disagreed and started camping in our backyard. It has been a week now. No hallucinations, just straight up darkness, forest and wild animals. Been attacked twice now. Okay-okay, of course I rearranged all of the furniture in my room and now the door is a bit further from my bed and hopefully, I will get a bit more peace at nights.
Oh! And another thing I do quite often is twitch right before falling asleep, making me wide awake again. I am not sure if this is classified as a disease or not. People next to me have found it amusing, but it is not so comfortable to experience I must say.
I finished writing this around 2am last night, decided to read it through in the morning and then post it…and then came sleep paralysis. I am not sure if thinking about it before sleeping triggered it, but I was hearing voices and instantly realized “Shit. Cannot move.”. But it was not scary at all this time. I started thinking about everything I had read before going to bed and remembered that some people can break through by making an effort to move, so I put all my strength into it, the pressure in my ears was horrible (felt like being deep underwater) and then it was over. I got up, walked around the house, crawled back into bed and slept peacefully until the morning.