What sleep disorder do I have if I wake up violently in my sleep?

This question was asked in Chicago, Illinois on 01/15/2013.
I am a male of 19 years and have been experiencing this from quiet a time. This happens only when I wake up from sleep more often at night. I am not fully awake but still can experience the condition of being seized up, heavy, paused or bonded. It feels like dying but I think I can breathe and it lasts for about a minute or so, then with a sudden shock by a deep breath or any involuntary movement this breaks off and it’s normal. This also happens with my mother and a female cousin. I cannot move any part of my body no matter how much I try not even my eyes! This happens with gaps like twice thrice a month and so. Is this sleep apnea or something else? Please help.

Doctors Answers (4)

J. Douglas Hudson, MD, DABSM
Answered on: 1/21/2013

The fact that you awaken and are unable to move is basically sleep paralysis". It is very frightening and may be associated with sleep disorders including narcolepsy and sleep apnea. As your events are not nightly, the odds of observing one in a single night spent in a sleep lab is small. However, the sleep disorder contributing to the paralysis can be diagnosed and treated.

SomnoDiagnostics, Inc.
Answered on: 1/16/2013

Thank you for your question. It is possible it could be sleep apnea but your complaints could be suggestive of a disorder called Parasomnia. These complaints should be discussed in detail with a Board Certified Sleep Specialist. Please feel free to contact us to make an appointment with Dr. Gordon Gibson who is a Neurologist and Board Certified Sleep Specialist.

Robert C. Jones, M.D.
Answered on: 1/15/2013

There are actually 88 sleep disorders that can be diagnosed. It is recommended that you make an appointment with a Board Certified Sleep Specialist to discuss your symptoms and treatment plan.

Courtney Whitney, DO
Answered on: 1/15/2013

What you are experiencing sounds like sleep paralysis. This can be normal for some, but is more common in people with Narcolepsy. This could also be due to other things -such as sleep apnea. For further understanding a sleep study will be necessary.