I suffer from both RLS and sleep paralysis. I also have suffered from waking panic attacks. I'd say I'm a pretty normal person during day time hours, but at night, I'm one of the rare few who suffer from these two things. The sleep paralysis does not bother me as much as the RLS. I have not been able to predict when I will get sleep paralysis, it seems to just happen whenever, probably once every couple of months. I find the sleep paralysis scary when it happens but doesn't bother me in any other way. I've suffered from restless legs since I was a kid and it comes on worse when I haven't slept properly or when I drink coffee. I cope with it by meditating, which helps most of the time.
SO my question is, is it common for people who suffer RLS to also suffer sleep paralysis also. I've read RLS sufferers commonly suffer the waking panic attacks, which I've also noticed I suffer more when I'm overly tired too. But is it common for someone to suffer both rare sleeping disorders? I also am one of those people who flinch as I'm falling asleep (don't know the technical name), which sometimes wakes me up, and annoys my partner. Am I just a freaky sleep problem sufferer?
You need to consult a sleep specialist. A sleep study might be advised. He might prescribe you some medication to help you both with the restless leg syndrome and the sleep paralysis. But you furst need to discuss all your symptoms in detail with him and get yourself evaluated clinically.
I must say I have not been able to find any reference of such a case. And in my clinical practice, I have not seen a patient with both these complaints together. But it looks theoretically possible to have RLS with Sleep paralysis. I will keep searching for any references, though. Till then, you may consider yourself a rare case !
You are not alone! I have the exact same problem. I had waking panic attacks a few years ago. Before that I slept like a baby, but it's been progressively getting worse. Every once in a while I'll sleep fine, but I frequently suffer from Restless Leg Syndrome and Sleep Paralysis. Usually at the same time. When it's bad I estimate I wake up every 15 minutes or so, and have sleep paralysis many of the times I wake up. Sometimes I get the sensation of a panic attack while being paralyzed (Which is just a blast). I also have frequent heartburn.
I've been pretty sure that they are all related, because they all started at about the same time. Plus I get panic attacks, while being paralyzed. I just wake up out of a dead sleep (usually just a regular dream) paralyzed with everything "buzzing" like when you have a panic attack. RLS really has a similar sensation to a panic attack, so I've always assumed it's related. They're both kind of electrical buzzing sensations to me. One last thing that happens is during the day I get "cold shivers" a lot. The kind that originate at some point and travel throughout your body.
I've been to a couple doctors, who both say it's stress related. I'd have to say there's something more.
I came across your post and had to respond...I have RLS that started in my 20's (I'm now 52) and have also had episodes of sleep paralysis that were very scary to say the least. Like LNick I also get the "cold shivers" (I always called them reverse menopause).
FYI...I take wellbutrin and don't have RLS symptoms. It's like a miracle.
I also have severe RLS but have only ever had sleep paralysis a few times in my life. I've had RLS since I was in my early teens, now 40, and it has always been very severe. I can go for weeks at a time and maybe get an hour of sleep a night. Finally, a few years ago, Requip was studied and labeled for treatment of RLS. Dai3symae wrote that wellbutrin is "like a miracle". It's funny because that's what I always tell my doctor about Requip. When people with RLS find something that work for their symptoms it truly is a miracle. People who do not have RLS just cannot comprehend how destructive this condition is. I hope that you have been able to find some relief for yours symptoms. Best of luck.
Hi, I was wondering the exact same thing... It seemed to me that sleep paralysis and RLS had to be related because it's so strange that I would have both of these rare sleep disorders and be an otherwise healthy person. Also, it's interesting that Clonazepam is sometimes prescribed to treat both condition... For me the two did not start at the same time. I first remember experiencing RLS when I was in 4th grade. But I didn't have my first episode of sleep paralysis until I was 16.
I suffer from RLS and mild Sleep Paralysis... I will experience RLS once a week minimum and some sort of sleep paralysis once or twice a month. I think that the sleep paralysis is definitely linked to stress / lack of sleep and I think that the RLS may also be but seems from these comments that there may be some link between the two conditions. I also get the 'cold shivers' fairly often but had never thought of their being a connection...? The RLS started when I was in my mid - late teens (now 25) and the sleep paralysis a few years later.
Yes, I suffer from both these and have just linked them together. Also, I notice a whoshing in my head just before the sleep paralysis starts. Both I do not get all the time but for certain periods of the year I will have a month to six weeks of this together. Its AWFUL. Trying magnesium tonight. Notice it gets worse in cold weather.
Try my fetal stretch method for relieving rls. I am a 54 year old woman who has been suffering with severe restless legs syndrome for 35 years. A month ago, I accidently found a method to eliminate the symptoms for approximatel 24 hour at a times. I call it the fetal stretch and it has changed my life. When i feel the symptoms resuming, i simply lay on my side, get into a very tight fetal position, really stretching the back and legs, hold for 2 minutes, release, and symptoms disappear for about 24 hours.
I blelieve it is the stretching of the back that is doing something.
I am now on a mission to tell as many people as possible. Ionly wish i had discoveed this many years ago. So many years of suffering!
Please consider passing on my fetal stretch method.
Hi, I realize this post if fairly old, but wanted to respond for anyone who comes across as I just did. I also suffer from both RLS and sleep paralysis and there MUST be something more to it than just lack of sleep and stress. My mom and my sister both also have RLS and my brother also suffers from (mild) sleep paralysis (note: he is also epileptic and has insomnia - 18yrs). I am the lucky duck who suffers from both, RLS and SP, but the sleep paralysis is not nearly as bad now as it was during my college years. It was absolutely out of control then and some days (day or night) I would have upwards of 15 episodes in a single day. It was like an episode of Freddie Krueger where I would desperately try not to fall asleep, but I would be SO tired from trying to refrain from sleeping that I would dose off, and then have yet another terrifying episode. Knowing the science behind it does NOT make it any less terrifying, as odd as it seems, and back to back episodes are just that much more horrifying. I did in depth research on it and found that most people only have the episodes when they are laying on their backs (which I found to be true for myself) and someone suggested sewing a spool of thread into the backs of your pjs to keep from rolling on your back at night. Excellent suggestion! Now I rarely have an episode, but my RLS is getting to be out of control and is driving me crazy! Will probably seek medical help. Although it is considered a "discomfort" verses a pain, it actually is much worse than a pain, the same way if you had a terrible intense itch you would rather scratch yourself raw and feel the bleeding pain of raw skin than feel the intense itch that's driving you mad!
I have both of these. They started shortly after I was diagnosed with MS, don't know if it is linked neurologically or just through stress! I am not terrified when the SP happens, but it is very disconcerting and getting more frequent. I've had the thing where your limbs randomly move as you fall asleep since I was a kid. Anyway, if anyone hears about an actual relationship between these in medical lit, lemme know!
I also suffer from both. I really love my sleep but when these conditions hit it's hell. It comes and goes but has been happening for years. I always worry about what will happen if my husband is not there next to me when I have my paralysis. I always manage to get some kind of sound out of my throat and he then shakes me awake, but what happens if no one can do that for you. Can anyone answer that for me? I am freaked out by the thought of it.
I realize this is an old post but thought I'd reply anyway. I live alone and have SP so there is no one to wake me, and it just seems to go on and on and on. With my SP usually the dream continues, I know what's happening and why I'm paralyzed but I still think the dream is real. I try to tell myself to relax and just let it happen but it just keeps going on and eventually I wind up struggling for what seems like hours to move. Finally I'll wake up so amped with adrenaline that I've actually flown into a rage throwing and pounding things till I calm down. Knowing what's happening to me hasn't helped at all and there seems to be absolutely nothing to do about it.
It sounds as though you may be having hypnagogic hallucinations with your sleep paralysis. These occur when dreams invade slightly into wakefulness during the transitions from wake to sleep or from sleep to wake. For some people it may just be a vague sound or color/shape, but for others the hallucinations can be quite complex like a dream almost. They do seem very real, in my experience!
I highly recommend that you speak to your PCP about a referral to a sleep medicine specialist if you're having these symptoms on a regular basis, because as I'm sure you're aware, they can be quite disruptive to sleep. It is normal to have these symptoms very rarely, especially during times when you are sleep deprived or are running a "sleep deficit" but having these episodes regularly can be a symptom of a sleep disorder. There are two types of sleep studies: overnight polysomnography and MSLT (multiple sleep latency test). Most people only need the former, but some people will need both; the latter is never done by itself. A sleep specialist should be able to identify which types of testing are needed to properly assess you.
Aside from seeing a sleep doctor, there are a couple of things you can do to lessen these symptoms. First, try not to sleep on your back; these symptoms occur most commonly in the back position. Second, study up on "sleep hygiene." You can find information about this online as well as by asking your primary care doc. Here's one of the articles on this topic that we have on MedHelp:
Thanks for advice H. I have to admit I'm a bit reluctant to bring it up to my PCP because I've tried a couple of times in the past and just been brushed off. Different Drs. than I have now. I'll probably have to since the episodes are getting more frequent and more intense.
I just dread that "look" I'm going to get when I start trying to explain.
If your doctor brushes you off about this, that's probably a good sign you need a new doctor or a second opinion. Unfortunately, not all doctors are created equal and we patients have to be strong advocates for ourselves. It may help if you present it to them using "their" language with the correct terminology for the symptoms (i.e. hypnagogic hallucinations and sleep paralysis). I've been surprised at the number of doctors who have very little awareness of even common sleep disorders, so don't be discouraged if you have to talk to more than one doctor before you get a helpful response!
If you want, you can print off some information about these things to hand to your doctor during your appointment; that might help get the conversation off on the right foot:
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