Sleep paralysis is part of my life (nights)

Alexei Sorokin
3 min readAug 15, 2022

Apparently, it’s a harmless condition. I hope so.

I estimate I suffer from it once every three nights. I’ve experienced it for years. Decades.

It happened today. Actually, today was an unusual case. I took an overnight flight from California to Florida on Friday night. Usually, I have no problem sleeping while traveling but this particular travel was bad. I wanted to sleep but felt extremely squeezed on my first flight (my change-over was in Atlanta) so I slept badly. Once I got to Florida I had a relaxing day — I was able to catch up on sleep during the day and then went to bed early, despite the time difference. On Sunday morning I got up at around eight, had breakfast, chatted with my mom, and then decided to sleep again. I felt drowsy and heavy. So it happened then — very late in the morning during my second sleep.

It was scary. All of my sleep paralysis episodes are unpleasant. Some are outright scary. It was going to be a late morning nap but I fell asleep. Or I was starting to fall asleep. I was dreaming I was at my desk in some room with white walls around me. I suddenly felt that I wasn’t feeling well. I couldn’t move any part of my body. I tried stepping away from my desk but I couldn’t. Maybe I managed to crawl a tiny distance. I was losing my senses, my consciousness. I was losing my consciousness in my sleep which is a subconscious state to start with! I felt like I was dying. I tried making a sound, calling for help but nothing was coming out. And who was I asking for help anyway? My wife wasn’t next to me. She is currently in another country. I think — though I’m not sure — I was aware of her absence so I wasn’t hoping she’d help. Maybe my Mom would hear me. I think I was aware—though I’m not sure — that my Mom was in the house. What I was most aware of is that no sound was coming out of my mouth and my attempt to move away from my desk was futile. I was paralyzed. I felt like I was dying. This is it, this is the end I thought. I’ll be found in my bed dead.

Usually, it’s not that dramatic. Most often it happens in the morning. Say I sleep for a few hours, then wake up, then go back to sleep. It happens then — in the early hours of the morning after I go “back to…

Alexei Sorokin

A Russian immigrant in America, father of 4, Cambridge and Harvard Business School alum. I run and write every day.