I’ve never had a problem with drifting off to sleep but ever since I can remember I would always tell my family the strange dreams I had the night before, and when I hit my teenage years I started to get lucid dreams nearly every night. However, it wasn’t until five years ago I started to experience night terrors and sleep paralysis.
A reoccurring night terror for me is what Jamie and I refer to as ‘the man in the room’. I often wake up screaming and shaking Jamie because I’m so convinced there is a man at the end of the bed or standing in the doorway, only to realise a few minutes later when I have come round to reality that actually there is no one there. The whole experience is extremely stressful and in the days after I end up worrying about going to bed especially if Jamie is out and I know I will be sleeping alone that evening.
When I go on holiday or I’m sleeping in an unfamiliar environment, I’m guaranteed to experience a night terror. It is as if I have a subconscious anxiety about sleeping in a different bed which results in multiple night terrors throughout the evening. It is a sleeping disorder that not only affects me but unfortunately affects Jamie as well and it feels as if I can’t do anything to stop it.
More recently I have had episodes of sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis occurs during the stages of falling asleep or waking up and during these episodes, you find yourself temporarily unable to move or speak. You are aware of what is happening but your body is asleep. I usually find myself waking up choking or gasping for air because it feels like someone is strangling me or pushing down on my chest. It only lasts a few minutes but I can honestly say it is much more terrifying than any night terror I have ever had.
I’m not sure if this sleep paralysis or my night terrors will ever go away but here are some tips for coping with these sleeping disorders:
- Avoid caffeine before bedtime.
- Try and exercise during the day or even go for a walk before or after work.
- Create a bedtime ritual. I like to have a bath, use a facemask or a nice cleanser and then use a nice body moisturiser. Lately, I have been using the Lush lavender moisturiser called Sleepy which smells gorgeous and it is so relaxing.
- Consider wearing a sleeping mask or pop earplugs in to avoid any outside noises or shadows waking you up.
- Try and turn your phone off before bedtime to allow you to unwind and not think about social media or work.
- Use essential oils or create a sleep pillow. I love sprinkling essential oils onto a piece of fabric you can even use a cotton muslin bag and fill it with dried lavender, rose petals or chamomile to create a herbal sleep pillow.
- Try yoga or meditation. It can really help relax your mind and muscles.
- Consult a doctor – if you feel that you are really struggling to get to sleep then I recommend visiting a doctor and seeing how they can help.
Have you ever experienced night terrors or any other sleep disorder? Do you have any tips you want to share? Leave a comment below!