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Date of last update: 10/04/2017.

Forum Name: Neurology Topics

Question: why cant i move my limbs?

 nw1009 - Sun Nov 25, 2007 5:43 pm


I am a 24 year old male.
I have not had any major diagnoses or any disease and have not undergone any surgeries as well. My dad is a diabetic with High blood pressure and my mom has Low blood pressure. Im not undergoing any current medications.

here is my question.

Since i joined back work in June 2007 ive had this problem of not getting enough sleep as i work in night shifts, i usually come home at around 8 am and its too bright for me to sleep i barely get an average of 5 hours sleep. After about 2 months of work i started getting this problem.....
Usually when i try to sleep and im almost sleeping but yet awake my body fails to respond to any kind of movement that i want it to do, when i realise this is happeneing i get really tense, some times i cant even open my eyes or they are half open, i don't know know how long this lasts, i don't think it lasts more than a minute or so, but it feels for ever. For that one minute i try different things such as opening my eyes, calling some one, raising my arm, moving my leg, but im not able to do any of these and it finally ends when i really try hard and move something forcefully and everything seems normal. this happens only when im tryin to sleep.
please help
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sun Nov 25, 2007 10:19 pm

User avatar Hi Nw1009,

What you are describing is almost a textbook case of sleep paralysis. It can occur just as a person is falling asleep or waking up. During dream periods, the brain induces a paralysis of the body. In some people, for unknown reasons, this same paralysis can occur as one enters or emerges from sleep.

While the episodes are not physically dangerous, they can be quite frightening. Sometimes they are also associated with hallucinations. In susceptible people it can be induced by changes in sleep patterns, such as you are experiencing due to your work.

The episodes often only last for a half a minute or two. Seldom do they last longer than 3 minutes. They may end abruptly or slowly wear off. They often will be interrupted by a sound or touch that breaks the episode.

Formal diagnosis can be made by a sleep study. I'd suggest you talk with your doctor about this. Treatment often is first to try to improve your sleep habits-get plenty of sleep, etc. If this is unsuccessful medications may be needed.

Best wishes.

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