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Can’t Open Eyes During Sleep

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Sometimes during sleep, I have this condition where I can use all my senses other than my eyes. During this condition, I’m usually having a very bad / scary nightmare and usually I just wake up when I’m having nightmares. But sometimes, I don’t wake up completely. I am able to talk and scream, I can hear other people around me talking and hear myself screaming, I can feel if someone touches me but regardless however hard I try, I can’t open my eyes. So all I can do is scream and scream but cant open my eyes.

Does this happen to anyone else? Should I be worried? (From India)


Can’t Open Eyes During Sleep

Answered by on -


 Thank you for your letter and sharing your concern. From your description it sounds like you’ve had an episode of something called sleep paralysis. In these uncomfortable situations some part or many parts of the body seem paralyzed. Here’s a link to more information about it, but it is generally very short lived and you move through it.

While it can be scary it typically doesn’t have any lasting side effects. Of course if the situation worsens or doesn’t seem to fit your symptoms, a neurological exam will get to the bottom of it.

Wishing you patience and peace,
Dr. Dan
Proof Positive Blog @ PsychCentral

Can’t Open Eyes During Sleep

Daniel J. Tomasulo, PhD, TEP, MFA, MAPP

Dan Tomasulo Ph.D., TEP, MFA, MAPP teaches Positive Psychology in the graduate program of Counseling and Clinical Psychology at Columbia University, Teachers College and works with Martin Seligman, the Father of Positive Psychology in the Masters of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) program at the University of Pennsylvania. He is Director of the New York Certification in Positive Psychology for the Open Center in New York City and on faculty at New Jersey City University. Sharecare has honored him as one of the top 10 online influencers on the topic of depression. For more information go to: He also writes for Psych Central's Ask the Therapist column and the Proof Positive blog.

APA Reference
Tomasulo, D. (2018). Can’t Open Eyes During Sleep. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 May 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018
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