I'm so tired my tired is tired

Sleep paralysis: A tired mum’s experience

I’m finding it really hard to hit publish on this poem. Given how little sleep I’ve had it’s probably full of mistakes and doesn’t make any sense. But, those of you who have been reading for a while will know that writing is my therapy and getting it out on paper is how I process things. So maybe writing this will help me sleep better tonight. Here it goes…

Sleep paralysis: A poem

Have you ever heard of or experienced sleep paralysis?
When I was told to prepare for parenting-related sleep deprivation I was never prepared for this.

Now it doesn’t happen to many, but unfortunately for me,
When I’m functioning on little sleep I have to deal with it occasionally.

So to help you understand and to give you a little insight,
Let me tell you a story about how it happened last night.

First of all its important for me to set the scene,
Of seven consecutive nights where barely any sleep was seen.

I have a teething toddler so she often wakes up in pain,
And sometimes needs a lot of help to get back to sleep again.

Last night was no different, she kept waking from her slumber,
And needed someone to go in just to comfort her.

It was almost 2am when I finally got her settled and back in bed,
And the thought of her waking again soon filled me with dread.

I don’t remember falling asleep just that I was suddenly aware,
That we were not alone in the house. Someone else was there.

I instantly started to panic. So scared that I felt sick.
No idea what to do. Just panic. Panic. Panic.

I tried to get out of bed but my body was too heavy.
I was stuck. Unable to move. No idea what was happening to me.

All the while frightened about the person in my home.
But I couldn’t do anything. Not even reach my phone.

I tried to scream for help but no noise was coming out.
No matter how hard I tried, not one single shout.

I could feel my husband sleeping in the bed next to me.
But try as I might I couldn’t move one single part of my body.

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My chest felt heavy – I couldn’t control my breathing.
I knew I needed to take deep breaths but I couldn’t stop the panicking.

I’m not sure how long had passed but soon the paralysis went away.
But that didn’t mean that I was suddenly ok.

After an inspection I discovered that it was all in my head.
There was no one in the house, but the thought still filled me with dread.

Every little noise started the panic again.
I wish I was able to just switch off my brain.

Unsettled and anxious I couldn’t sleep no matter how hard I tried.
The thought of it happening again kept me wide eyed.

My alarm was due to go off soon – that feeling is the worst.
And that’s if the toddler didn’t wake needing my attention first.

Now if you don’t know what I’m taking about this won’t sound like much to you,
But those of you that have experienced it will know that it’s horrible to suffer through.

It doesn’t happen often so it always takes me by surprise,
And the panic has already set in before I begin to realise,

That it’s just a weird dream messing with my head,
And soon I’ll be able to safely get out of bed.

I’m not sure that I believe those that say it’s a paranormal experience.
I feel much more comfortable (and will sleep better) putting it down to science.

Apparently to get rid of it, all I need is a better sleeping routine.
But with an unsettled teething toddler that seems like a distant dream.

How am I meant to get 8 hours sleep at the same time each day?
When I’m constantly on edge to make sure that my daughter is ok?

So I’ll just continue to struggle on, scared to sleep in my own bed.
Because that awful sleep paralysis occasionally messes with my head.

Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis? Or do you know someone that has? Please share your experiences in the comments below.

For more information about sleep paralysis please visit the NHS website.

35 thoughts on “Sleep paralysis: A tired mum’s experience

  1. I haven’t experienced sleep paralysis, but had a really weird experience one night. I’d had several nights of rubbish sleep, and on this night the 18m old would wake up, I’d settle him then the 6m old would wake up and it went on and on and on.

    My youngest started crying again so I went downstairs to prepare a bottle. I got halfway down the stairs, and woke up in bed. Weird. So I got up again, flinging back the covers and muttering to myself and I went down the stairs again. Except I didn’t, because I woke up in bed again. This happened about five times! It was so vivid too. Poor little mite was howling by the time I could actually get out of bed and feed him.

  2. Yes, yes and yes. I have suffered with his on and off since my teens but it is always worse when my babies aren’t sleeping and my sleep pattern is broken. I know exactly how you feel, it’s like you’re awake in your mind but your body is still asleep. I always felt like there was someone crushing my chest and o couldn’t breathe and whenever I tried to scream for help I couldn’t even open my mouth. I used to wake up crying after as it was so horrible and I totally know what you mean about not wanting to go back to sleep for the fear of it happening again. It hasn’t happened to me in a long time now but the best advice I can give is that when you notice it happening just say to yourself ‘this is just sleep paralysis, nothing bad is happening and I’m fine’. This really helped me to calm down and to try and breathe normally until I managed to wake myself up. Sorry if not much help but just wanted you to know you’re not the only one, hope little one stops teething soon and you get some proper rest xx #dreamteam

    • Thank you. Sorry you’ve had to experience it too. Weirdly once I realised what was happening I managed to use the breathing techniques I learned for labour! I knew they’d come in handy again one day. x

  3. Goodness me hon this must have been terrifying! I’ve only experienced anything like it once and that was years ago. Just the paralysis though – not the fear at the same time. That must have been awful! There definitely is a science behind it (or so it was explained to me anyway). Apparently when we’re dreaming our bodies are paralysed to stop us “acting out” what we’re doing in our dreams. As I understand it there can be instances where we aren’t fully dreaming but still paralysed? It made me feel better to understand but it’s still a very scary experience. Sending hugs and I hope you get some rest soon. Excellent poem as always xx

    • Thank you. It really does help to understand the reasons behind it. It’s just trying to remember that when you’re in the middle of an episode. I actually find the science behind it fascinating I just wish it wasn’t so scary! x

  4. Girl..
    First of all, love the poem. It gave me anxiety because I have experienced this very thing. Only twice, but very scary both times! The first was many years ago. I don’t remember being scared, just felt awake and could not move or speak to get my boyfriends attention. I remember being confused as to what on earth was going on. The second was very recently, like, a couple weeks ago. This one was terrifying! I felt something around my arm and was sure any minute it was going to drag me off the bed. I tried to move and make any possible noise I could to wake up my fiance. I was terrified! I was able to wake him up somehow. He said I was touching him saying “help me”. He said it scared the s*** out of him LOL..
    I was soooooo scared to go back to sleep.. for like, days!
    I’m so happy to know I’m not alone. I have not heard of this before or even researched it.

  5. I have had sleep paralysis and it’s scary and weird. The last time I had it there was someone unknown coming into my room and I was trying to move but couldn’t, but then at the last minute the person in the dream became someone I wanted to see so it wasn’t so bad in the end. I hope you get some rest! #thesatsesh

  6. That sounds like such a terrifying experience. It’s horrible what the lack of sleep can do to you – I’m right in the thick of it at the moment and things are definitely a bit delusional in the middle of the night (last Sunday my son woke up every 15 minutes all night long!!), but thankfully I’ve never had anything like this. I hope it doesn’t happen again, and I hope you get some better sleep soon. Thanks for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

  7. God – yes I have – on a very few occasions in my life – I didn’t realise it had a name – I thought it was just me!!!! You have vividly brought back to me how it feels – it’s usually that I think I need to rescue a loved one from an unsafe situation but can’t move….. you have brought it all back to me…. so sorry you had this and hope the teething and sleep is better this week. #thesatsesh xx

  8. Yes! It was when I had a year of really bad sleep deprivation and it would happen at least once a week. I definitely think there is a link to sleep deprivation as I’ve not had it since we turned a corner with sleep. It’s the most terrifying thing ever! Thank you for joining us at #SharingtheBlogLove

    • Oh no. That’s horrible. I’m glad it’s stopped for you now. I find it’s usually at its worst when she has a different sleep pattern each night. My body clearly can’t handle the change. I’d be a rubbish shift worker.

  9. I’m not sure, I did have a strange experience many years ago where I just froze in bed. Awake but unable to move and inner panic at the unusual feeling! I hear you on the lack of sleep though 😦 x

  10. #thesatsesh this seems to divide the nations – much like marmite, and no I haven’t heard of it, but am totally glad I now know should I ever experience it…sounds like hell? Im totes blessed – little dude slept through since he was 6 weeks old (the reason he is an only child) 🙂

  11. Lack of sleep is the scariest thing what it can do to your brain and body isn’t it? i have had similar experiences and it made me really appreciate that sleep was what I needed and had to make a way to get it. #Sharingthebloglove

  12. Omg. I have literally just published my post on the very same thing. Isn’t it just awful?! Total sympathies from me. I haven’t had it since and I hope it stays that way, but you’re right, it stays with you. #sharingthebloglove

  13. Great post! I have suffered with sleep paralysis for since i can remember. Its AWFUL. I hate it. I often shout out during the feeling of ‘being between wake and asleep’ as i am desperate to wake! I can often drift back into the paralysis soon after I’ve woke so i have to stay awake for a good 15 minutes before dropping off again. I feel you pain with lack of sleep due to a baby – its tough! Keep up the good work!

  14. It’s the most awful thing to experience. No matter what you do you can’t move it is like your really are paralysed. in the early days i. had it alot. I use to fall asleep holding the monitor, a couple of times I woke and couldn’t move. It’s like my body said no more. I also had times where my body just shut down. I was told that it is because I was that exhausted due to the Trauma mentally and physically that my body shut down for me because it physically couldn’t take anymore. it was a scary few months. Like you don’t have control of your own body x

  15. This is such a scary thing when it happens! I know the advice is a settled sleeping pattern but oddly the kids just don’t get the memo!! #honeybeelinky

  16. Bless you! This sounds absolutely terrifying! Hopefully, once sleep settles into a good pattern you will notice a huge improvement. Sooner rather than later I hope though my lovely. Thank you for joining in with the #honeybeelinky again, see you next time I hope! xxx

  17. Wonderful poem but in a scary way, to be honest I do not wish this type of thing on my worst enemy. Maybe just a couple of people lol.

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