Hallucinations & Sleep Problems

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Over the past 6 years or so, I have experienced various symptoms of depression which i seemed to be coping with until recently. I have started to suffer from sleep paralysis and hallucinations which are affecting my desire to sleep and making me paranoid and fearful.The hallucinations started off small (e.g spiders or towels hanging from the ceiling) but the other day i was paralysed in my bed and saw a figure dressed in all white (similar to a KKK outfit but with no eye-holes). It was staring at me from the entrance of my room while i wasd paralysed and it was not going away so i tried my best to free myself from the paralysis to atack the figure but when i jerked myself out of bed the figure disintigrated. I casn not stop thinking about this and have started to sleep with the lights on or try and stay awake all night. Thanks for your help

A. Sleep paralysis might be an indication of a sleep disorder. Inform your primary care physician about your sleep problems. Your doctor may prescribe a sleep medication to help you sleep through the night. Being able to sleep through the night might make sleep paralysis less noticeable. We all experience sleep paralysis. It is protective to stop us from physically reacting to the content of our dreams. On occasion, we enter a state where we are in between sleep and consciousness. That is when we become aware of sleep paralysis. As we continue to wake up, the paralysis goes away. It can be frightening but it is harmless.

Your doctor will also likely suggest undergoing a sleep study. A sleep study entails your staying the night at a local hospital or clinic. While asleep, technicians will measure how well you sleep and closely monitor what is happening while you’re sleeping. A sleep study can identify whether or not you have a sleep disorder. Many sleep disorders are highly treatable.

I would also recommend being evaluated by a mental health professional. You stated that you have had depression for six years and you have recently noticed it becoming worse. There is likely a correlation between the worsening of your depression and your sleep problems. Effectively treating your depression symptoms will likely improve your sleep.

Sleep is very important to maintain emotional stability. Without sleep, it’s nearly impossible to able to function well or effectively. I hope this problem can soon be resolved. Please take care.

Dr. Kristina Randle

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 7 Dec 2012

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2012). Hallucinations & Sleep Problems. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 25, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2012/12/07/hallucinations-sleep-problems/