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    Thread: Meditation as Sleep Paralysis Treatment

    1. #1
      Member SuperOhm's Avatar
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      Meditation as Sleep Paralysis Treatment

      I have begun to notice that many people on this site are concerned about Sleep Paralysis (hereto after SP). Considering this, it seems like a condition worth exploring. I have anecdotal evidence that becoming lucid and meditating within SP can cause the episode to almost instantly and spontaneously terminate. This makes meditation a possible treatment for SP.

      My hypothesis is that the struggle against SP anchors us within it. When we cease to struggle, as in through meditation, there is little else to anchor us in the SP. In support of this hypothesis, I have successfully been pulled out of SP by loud noises like alarms, or the sound of a door slamming. Any external stimuli of sufficient strength seems to allow me to anchor to the waking world and out of the SP. If this anchoring hypothesis is correct, I should expect to see similar results in others afflicted by SP.

      Participant requirements:
      History of SP.

      General Procedure:
      0) Attempt to cause SP. Sleep on your back, drink caffeinated beverages, observe the common triggers for SP in an attempt to increase their chances of occurring during the experimental period. For those with very frequent SP events, this may not be necessary.
      1) Record instances of SP. How frequent are they? What was going on in these episodes? How did it feel? What were the external stimuli, as best as you could tell?
      2) Take note of what caused the resolution of the event. Was it external stimuli? Did it simply end naturally? Did you get into a normal dream first?
      3) Practice meditation during the day to seed your mind with the concept. Ten minutes is probably enough. You only need to get your mind used to the idea of meditation so that you can recall it when you're in SP.
      4) In SP attempt to become lucid and meditate. Cease your struggle, close your eyes, relax your breathing, clear your mind. Record the results.

      If you are not as confident in your lucid dreaming abilities, and do not believe you can become lucid during an SP event, yet you still want to participate, I could still use your data. Simply flip a coin. If it lands heads, then perform the general procedure without numbers 3 and 4. If it lands tails, then perform the general procedure without 4. That is, if it lands tails, then meditate ten minutes a day, but do not attempt to become lucid and meditate within SP. If you already practice daily meditation, go ahead and consider yourself a member of the tails group. These two groups will act as a control for the rest of the study.

      Before we get started, does anyone have any criticisms and/or suggestions for the procedure?

    2. #2
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      This is aimed at people who suffer from chronic sleep paralysis disorders right? Most people won't experience SP more than once or twice in there life so you might have some trouble finding people for the experiment.

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      Member SuperOhm's Avatar
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      That's a good point. It's chronic for me, so I didn't even think about that. We'll see. I'll dig through some of the posts on the forum and point those who may be potential chronic sufferers towards this post. I'm sure I could dig up a few. It won't be a big study, but it'll give me a few more data points towards determining the viability of the hypothesis.

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      I got rid of SP by stopping to lucid dream, that's how scared I was. My SP episodes didn't even last so long, it never went over than 20 seconds, but I believe there are worse cases. I did have hallucinations of every kind, though. As I've started lucid dreaming again chances are very likely for it to reappear, in that case I'll try this up, but I don't know if I'll be in time to contribute to the study.

      Did it successfully work for you or your still working on it? You mention that external stimuli takes you out of it, but not if your hypothesis (meditation, not the noises) comes right from your own experiences.
      Last edited by Leichen; 07-26-2013 at 05:45 PM.

    5. #5
      gab
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      Just an observation - maybe you could specify, that you mean SP as in sleep paralysis, and not any other sensations or hallucinations you may experience while falling asleep/WILDing.

      Because alhough it's true, that many are concerned with SP, that stems from years of mislabeling HH and falling asleep sensations as SP.

      Basically, SP - which is a 1-2 in lifetime event for most of the population was put in the same bag as HH and other sensations, which are fairly common for WILDers.

      SP - disorder
      HH and sensations - common event

      http://www.dreamviews.com/wake-initi...mystified.html

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      Leichen, because the number of participants and the likelihood of experiencing SP amongst said participants is going to be low. I'm thinking I'll run this particular study for several months.

      Also, yes, I successfully use lucid meditation to get out of SP on a regular basis. At this point I'm trying to figure out if this method of SP mitigation works for others. I would also like to test my hypothesis that it is due to what I refer to as being anchored. The hypothesis is that the sensation of struggle anchors us in the SP so if we can stop those sensations and/or experience sufficient external sensations, that we can anchor into the waking world and break free of SP. Most treatments for SP are recommendations for prevention, which is awesome. But nothing will prevent every instance, so techniques for mitigation during an event would be extremely helpful to sufferers. The implications of this hypothesis being accurate also speaks to a broad range of issues, from dreams in general, to wide swaths of psychology.

      gab, that's a very good point. I do mean SP and not either HH. I'm speaking entirely about what I describe to laypersons as "waking up with your brain still in nightmare mode, fully paralyzed."

      I would also like to say that I'm sure my chronic SP experiences are indeed SP and not HH. They happen almost every time I take a nap in the middle of the day, and almost exclusively when I'm laying on my back. They're also associated with an almost frantic state of mind and occasionally hallucinations.
      melanieb likes this.

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      Sleeping Dragon juroara's Avatar
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      I would advice against trying to pay attention to real life surroundings. A lot of people who experience SP for the first time believe they are fully awake but unable to move. But thats...not..really..the case. They are far more likely to be in a HH or FA.

      Here's a common scenario. They're stuck on their bed and hear so-and-so in the hallway. They shout out to so-and-so for help! But so-and-so was never in the hallway, and they never shouted, that was just a 'dream'.

      Its SP. You're still in a dream like state, definitely in a quasi-weird state of mind. Even if you are HALF awake, the other half of you isn't! How can you distinguish whats a real sound and whats not?



      But I would agree that meditation works!

      The other day I was caught in a FA where I couldn't wake up. I felt my limp body, lifeless and heavy. I kept telling myself that on the count of three I'd wake up. But no matter how many times I tried nothing happened. I tried again, this time even harder. Since my body felt so incredibly heavy, I thought I needed to take a deep breath. Kind of like if you're weight lifting? On the count of three I took a deeeeeeep breath - and finally I woke up. (my body was still pretty damn limp and mostly asleep).

      It seems like to me, that when you control your breathing in the dream state you are also controlling it in the physical body. Breathing is probably the only physical activity that is the same for both dreams and waking. So you can use it as a hook, a connection to wake up, and also to fall asleep, lol.

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      Member SuperOhm's Avatar
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      Thanks for the clarification juroara. I have sometimes found myself begging for someone in the waking world to make a loud enough noise to wake me up. Sure, there are instances where I am indeed inventing the "external" sounds, but then a door slams or the kid yells, and this jolts me awake.

      As for breathing connecting the two, I don't think we could call it a rule as one of us is going to be the exception. For me, instances of SP leave me unable to control anything. I have suffered from anxiety and panic attacks for a while, so I tend to focus on my internal states. My most vivid SP experience was most disconcerting precisely because despite the fact that I was terrified, my heart rate and breathing were relaxed and even. When I broke free of the SP, I immediately sat up, heart pounding, gasping for breath, and broke out in a cold sweat. All of those things happened immediately upon breaking free as if I had just been startled. SP seems almost defined by the disconnect between the internal and external worlds.

      Now, that leaves a few possibilities (unrelated to this research). The first is that there may be some for whom breathing is the same between the dream world and the waking world. The second is that there are different types of sleep within which breathing is the same or different. The third is a combination of the two, different sleep states for different people might have connected breathing while others do not.

      All of that being said, your experience is still another data point worth considering.
      I'm not always lucid, but whether I'm awake or asleep I'm always dreaming.

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      Member ScarlettHayden's Avatar
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      I suffer from SP. Not as chronic as the OP, but I do go through my phases. I get it at least once a month, but sometimes up to a few in one week. I think mine is caused by sleeping on my back, and by taking random naps (not having a schedule and being sleep deprived). I had it once whilst falling asleep at night though.. not sure what that was all about. (since REM doesn't start till morning?)

      Also it's not HH as people get confused between that and SP on here. I legit wake up not being able to move. It usually only lasts about a minute. Sometimes I see hallucinations and depending on my state of my mind I might think that what I'm seeing is real, even though I know I'm awake and trapped in my own mind.

      About using meditation as a prevention for SP I'd have to say I agree. It works. When I wake up in SP I'm not always frantic, since I'm used to it now, and sometimes I just 'fall back to sleep', but other times I wake up in a panic and I immediately remind myself to just calm down. Once I've centered myself I usually wake up, but if I don't I take a deep breath like @juroara mentioned and that usually works. I can seem to control my breathing. I can't wiggle my fingers or toes though. Attempts to do so ends up in this weird hallucination where I think I'm moving but I'm actually not. It's sort of like struggling to get out your body during an OBE.

      I've never been able to start a lucid dream in SP though. I'm still working on that. The problem I have is that I spend so much of my time trying to stay calm that I usually forget about trying to go into a lucid dream, and then by the time I wake up properly I think "damn, why didn't I try and go into a lucid dream". But I think it's the nature of SP itself. Bearing in mind that half of your brain is still asleep.. I think memories in the brain are shut off when asleep, so that's probably why remembering is difficult.

      OP, how often do you get it and how long does it usually last? I'd be interested to hear about your conclusions.

      I'm not sure but.. I think the more chronic SP is for someone, the less they can control. Just a theory. It might be indirectly related.

    10. #10
      Member SuperOhm's Avatar
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      Thanks for the input. It's interesting to hear to some people can control their breathing. I personally find that I cannot. Perhaps first attempting to sync my intention to breath with the reality of my breathing would be a good start. That is, instead of the frantic internal screaming and panting which I often experience in my struggle against SP, I should try to match my internal breath to my external breath, then once they're in alignment take that one deep breath to see if I can bridge the gap. Not a bad idea.
      I'm not always lucid, but whether I'm awake or asleep I'm always dreaming.

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