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Forum Name: Psychiatric Topics

Question: Aware within my dream that I was dreaming! Sleep Disorder?


 CCCCC - Tue Sep 02, 2008 7:48 pm

I'm a male 24 year old. Since about 16, maybe younger I started having these episodes where
I would be dreaming and all of sudden become aware within my dream that I was dreaming. My dream would still continue and I would try to wake up but could not. It felt like I couldn't push my body up and I would panic and usually wake up sweating. When I did get up I would jump up. This has happened on and off with no apparent pattern.

Now, about a week ago I had a few beers, not even close to as much as I usually have. I had to get up early so I drank 4 glasses of water to be sure of 0 hang over. I went to sleep. Then I woke up remembering myself peeing on the floor beside the bed, so I went to check. The carpet was wet and the edge of the bed was wet and the wall where I remembered to doing it.

So my question is... are these related ?. What is the cause of these ?. What are these ?. Anything else you may know. Thanks.
 Dr. E. Seigle - Thu Oct 02, 2008 9:06 am

Hi CCCC,

The episodes that you have had since age 16 are likely to be what is called "sleep paralysis". When you are dreaming, your body muscles (below the neck) are paralyzed normally. In part, this prevents you from hurting yourself by thrashing around during the dream phase of sleep. In sleep paralysis, you attain a partial awakening, marked by the fact that you are somewhat conscious that you are dreaming, but your body retains the dream phase paralysis. Eventually, you wake completely. It's usually frightening for people, but the condition is fairly common and is not dangerous nor progress to any diseases.

I can't be sure of the significance of the episode of peeing next to the bed recently. It is not sleep paralysis. It may be simply a state of being somewhat intoxicated and not being fully awake at the time. It is unlikely, but possible, that it was an episode of what is called a "confusional arousal", or less likely sleepwalking, triggered partially by the alcohol.

There is a condition called narcolepsy, which is marked primarily by severe, excessive need to sleep during the day, and it is also associated with sleep paralysis, but I assume that you don't have this since you didn't mention daytime sleepiness that is persistent and severe.

Bottom line- no need to worry, and I might suggest that you cut down on your alcohol use at night, as it sounds like you use a quantity that might pose some risks to you at some point. Good luck! -E. Seigle MD

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