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Sunday, March 27, 2011

I was diagnosed with narcolepsy when I was 17, about 8-9 years ago.My question's about lucid dreaming. While I experience sleep paralysis (as well as cataplexy), I can't seem to get an answer on whether lucid dreaming and sleep paralysis are related.

Technically, they are related by their mere nature, although I believe the answer to what you are really asking is - they can be.

Sleep paralysis occurs immediately before sleep or immediately upon "waking." It is the same thing as cataplexy, but at a different time under slightly different circumstances. Both are incidents of the body using the mechanism that paralyzes us so we don't act out our dreams at the wrong time. It sounds like you know this.

Most people without narcolepsy associate "lucid dreaming" with dreams in which the setting and actions are just like day to day life, they know they are dreaming, and they can often dictate the direction of the dream. "Inception" is entirely about lucid dreaming.

By extension, the hallucinations we people with narcolepsy often experience are also lucid dreaming. It is also known as "waking dreams" or "daymares," and most often occurs in conjunction with sleep paralysis.

We know we are "awake" and aware of our environment, when we see or hear things, we know they aren't real, but we can still interact with them. Thus, by definition, a lucid dream.

Now, especially when it comes to people with narcolepsy, one does not have to be experiencing a lucid dream to have sleep paralysis, nor does one have to have sleep paralysis to experience a lucid dream. Many of us have stories of seeing people and things that aren't there during the "normal" course of our day.

I suppose some people might argue the difference between hallucinations and dreaming, but in our case, the hallucinations are the intrusion of REM, dream, sleep during waking hours, thus making them the same.

I hope that made sense and answered your question. If not, feel free to ask again, and happy napping!

Ask me anything

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