I rarely get enough sleep. Actually, I don’t need a whole lot – I get pretty darn restless after about six hours and want to get up, like I’m bored lying there. I get tired and burned out, though, like anyone would, and thus my weekend treat: naps.
I like to zonk out for a couple of hours in the afternoon. My husband, a preposterously kind and indulgent man, sees my eyes glazing over at around two pm and drags me off and puts me in bed. This is always accompanied by me crankily announcing that I’m fine and I can take care of myself and I don’t WANNA lay down, even while I’m walking into walls. He ignores all this and tucks me in. And of course I really do wanna lay down, so I stop arguing eventually and drift off into a lovely, lovely nap.
There’s only one problem.
Afternoon sleeps are when my dreams really get rolling. I get virtual reality dreams, I talk in my sleep, I have horribly realistic nightmares. Beyond nightmares – I get something called sleep paralysis.
There was one episode, a few years ago, that made a lasting impression. I was alone for the afternoon, sleeping blissfully, when I heard the door open. I tried to open my eyes, but I couldn’t move – I couldn’t get up, or scream, or anything.
Someone walked into the room and sat on the edge of the bed; I could feel the mattress sag under the weight. I was still unable to move.
Slowly, I felt them pull the blanket away….. I was absolutely terrified, trying to scream, and hearing only pathetic squeaks.
And then the paralysis released.
I woke up, opened my eyes, and saw (drumroll)...
Everything was perfectly normal.
The door wasn’t open, no one had come in, and the blankets were still in place.
If I hadn’t found out about sleep paralysis, it would have made a hell of a ghost story.