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Up until i was about 13 years old i had really bad dreams/nightmares. I went to the hospital for them they got so bad. My sister who has the same coeliac symptoms as myself but hasn't been diagnosed yet (unlike myself) has suffered for years from ASP or sleep paralysis where her body shuts itself off but her mind dreams of really strange (and mostly evil) things.

I wondered if sleep disorders like this were common to Coeliacs. Anyone else suffer from this phenomenon?

http://www.dreamsnightmares.com/sleepparalysis.html

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Hello,

Yes I do have sleep paralysis also. I am 32 years old now, and have had this all my life, as a matter of fact, my earliest memories are of this occurring.

I was only recently diagnosed with celiac, but have had serious symptons my entire life.

I have read about sleep paralysis and how many people "feel a presence" or have nightmare like visions when it happens. I can't say that I have that really though, I'm always at least somewhat aware of whats happening mentally. I am aware that I can not move. The nightmare like quality comes with that realization and me trying to move, to breath harder, to shout help, anything.

I hadn't really thought of it being related to celiac, but with the more research I do, it seems there are so many things that can be related. So this could be part of it, or perhaps a symptom of something else, that also arose due to the effects on the body from celiac.

The only doctor I approached with my concerns about sleep paralysis had to look it up in a book, and then told me there was nothing able to be done about it. That was that.

I wish I could give some suggestions to help, but I have yet to find anything that will relieve the anxiety and panicing when that happens. I will say that I have had less episodes lately, whether this is just dry spell or is related to a gluten free diet, I do not know.

Hope all is well

micky

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Good luck with this,

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I too have had this before. It actually started after I'd been gluten free for awhile, about a year or so. I would be half asleep/half awake and want to move or get out of bed, but can't. I've also had the feeling of something or someone being in the room. I was watching some show on Discovery about aliens abducting people while they sleep, and of course after seeing this show, it made my incidents of sleep paralysis even more terrifying.

I've also had dreams where I would be trying to walk or run, but have difficulty. It's sort of like when you run through water that's up to your waste. It's very slow and frustrating, but there would be no water or anything in the dream, I just wouldn't be able to go.

I've been eating healthier the last several months, more than just the gluten free diet, and also have been jogging on a regular basis. Both of these I think have helped me. I haven't had sleep paralysis in probably half a year or so and my dreams are getting better. I find it fascinating how your dreams can reflect or kind of show you how your overall well being is, and how what you eat effects your brain and subconcious so much.

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While I generally don't have nightmares, I can have very very vivid dreams. (Not vivid in a bad way, but just in a very weird way. :-) ) I have had the whole sleep paralysis thing, but only a handful of times in my whole life. As have other people I know who aren't gluten intolerant. It's really not uncommon in the general population as well, but it is so benign, it's not really mentioned much. And, from what I understand, it may be possible to psychologically cause it to happen more often if you are hyper-sensitive to that state. (You teach your body to become aware of your surroundings while you're still in the portion of sleep where your body has shut off the ability to move, which is ordinarily a good thing. :-) )

Note, I only talking about the sleep paralysis thing here, NOT the nightmares... I'd never call nightmares benign! I'm not sure what the connection between nightmares/vivid dreams and celiac is, but if the studies linking gluten consumption in gluten sensitive people with opiate-derivatives in the brain are true, that could explain it.

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Wow! I have been experiencing sleep paralysis off and on for around 9 years. I don't typically feel the presence of someone else--I just know that I'm awake and I can't move! The sleep paralysis has gotten better since I've gone gluten-free, but it definitely still happens from time to time. Although it seems terrifying when it occurs, the general consensus seems to be that it is benign. It's nice to know that I'm not the only one out there that experiences this--although I wouldn't wish the terror on anyone!

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I realize I am responding to an older post, but I read the article and got chills. I have had nightmares more then most people on and off my whole life. Many as a child, the coming back on hard core the last few years. I had two instances of sleep paralysis about a year ago now. One was in the day time, and I was sleeping on my back and I thought someone was coming down the hall to kill me; I could not move at all. One of the scariest feelings I have ever had. This may sound paranoid: but I am a christian and I thought that I was under demonic attack or something, because all the nightmares I was having around that time. I had friends pray about it, and they actually did stop. They have come back, though, the last few weeks since I have been on the gluten-free diet. Not as bad, but definately there. And, now like tonight I cannot sleep, and my joints hurt like mad. Did anyone notice these things coming on more after going gluten-free? Or, since I am undiagnosed is this all just psychosematic (sp?) because I want to be a celiac...because it would be the answer to 10 years of being sick and tired???

Deanna

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P.S. I have also suffered from anxiety disorder/acute depression since my late teens.

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Hi Deanna. I don't think you're pysosematic (spell??). I used to get the paralyses without the nightmares. I had them for years and then they just went away. I never thought about why they happened. Well, I guess I did but I couldn't do anything about it. I will encourage you though that I too am a Christian and "Greater is He that is within you than he that is in the world". Have you done the enterolabs test? That would settle once and for all if you have this.

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I think people misunderstand what it is to have a "Psychosomatic" response. It actually may very well be the case here, but that doesn't mean that it's "all in your head". The word means that mind and body are connected, and what affects the body affects the brain and vice-versa, sort of like ulcers can induce mental anxiety and mental anxiety can exaccerbate ulcers. This doesn't mean that ulcers are figments of your imagination.

I know exactly what these dreams are like, I've had several instances like this myself where I could swear that someone was in the room with me and I couldn't move or wake, it is a terrifying experience. In a dream state emotions are amplified beyond reasonable levels, such as the exhilliaration you can feel during that "flying" dream, or the humiliation of that "forgot to wear pants to school" dream. Likewise the feeling of terror can be extremely exaggerated to the point where you almost wish you would die to make it stop!

I have very vivid dreams as well and I remember them quite clearly when I wake but if I don't think about them when I first wake up then they fade from memory quickly.

Thus I have given a lot of thought to my dreams and I found the following things work for me;

For a dream like these where you feel you can't wake up no matter what, I have, on occasion, had success simply opening my eyes. When I couldn't make any noise or move my arms at all, I sometimes find that I can still open my eyes. I think that this is because it actually takes will power to keep your eyes closed- open is their naturally relaxed state. Once my eyes are open I will usually wake rather quickly. Sometimes this works, sometimes it doesn't but since I started trying this I don't have these dreams very frequently any more. I think once your brain learns that it does have some control then the panic goes away and the dreams become less frequent.

For unsettling dream sequences, especially the ones that keep recurring, I've found a sort of "dream therapy" that works really well for me at least. The moment I awake from an unsettling dream, I close my eyes and consciously re-live it, but I alter the dream so that it is less terrifying. For instance, if I am being pursued by a rabid dog I will imagine the dream such that the dog only appears rabid because it is excited because it is very happy to see me, and in fact it is a friendly dog once it catches up to me. If you do this sort of thing often enough, you should stop having these recurring sequences. As before, your brain learns that it DOES have some control, and so it stops obsessing about it.

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Carol,

I am still undecided about what I am going to do. I am working on getting some insurance right now, and then I think I am going to try one last time to get a doctor to listen and test me (if by that time I am willing to start eating gluten again...who knows I may feel so good that I decide not to). I am just afraid that because of the fact that I share joint custody with my son's father, that unless I get tested through a doctor that he will not agree to let my son be tested. I already brought up the possibilty of it, and I got the typical "there's nothing wrong with you" lecture. He is constantly trying to make me look mental, or make me believe I am mental, or even convince others I am (or all three)...which is a big reason we are divorced. If the doctor route doesn't work I have every intention of going Entrolab. Although, my understanding is they can only diagnose gluten intolerance, and not celiac??? Which I guess it doesn't matter either way, because the solution is the same. Thanks for the words of encouragement from all. Happy 4th everyone! =)

Deanna

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Enterolabls diagnosis gluten intolerance but they also have a test for fecal fat/malabosrption which shows if the intestines have been damaged. To me, if you test positive for this it would be full blown ceiac. I didn't which is good but I was suprised considering how many years I've been sick. I understand you need to do the right thing. Best wishes.

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