All You Need To Know About Sleep Paralysis And Why It Sounds So Scary

All You Need To Know About Sleep Paralysis And Why It Sounds So Scary

Most people haven't heard of the sleep disorder known as sleep paralysis. Many of us have suffered from sleep paralysis at least once in our lives, whether we remember it or not. It's a medical condition when someone while waking up, experiences the inability to move or speak, having a sense of paralysis. The condition is also often accompanied by hallucinations, which makes the situation even more terrifying. These are 11 facts that look at different aspects of sleep paralysis:


1) Stress and exhaustion are two many factors that cause sleep paralysis.


Several studies have consistently shown that people who are tired, anxious, or sleep-deprived are more likely to experience sleep paralysis. Researchers have been trying for a long time to understand why people experience sleep paralysis. Still, there has been no valid explanation for the condition so far.


2) It's not a dangerous condition.


Although we cannot deny that sleep paralysis is a terrifying experience, there is no actual danger. It doesn't cause any physical harm to our body. There've been no clinical deaths reported until now. One 'solution' is to trick yourself into not being horrified whenever you experience the 'paralysis'. Tell yourself that it's just a dream and it's not real. It might feel like forever; however, the more you stay calm, the less scary it will be. Self-reassurance is the key!


3) We lose control over our body.


No matter how hard we try, even if somehow we are aware when we are in a state of sleep paralysis, we cannot wake our body up. Some of us can just move our fingers or wiggle our toes or facial muscles. That eventually helps us wake up, but the majority of people have to wait until the horror is over. The state of sleep paralysis can last from twenty seconds to a few minutes.


4) There are historical cases of the condition.


Researchers have been trying to explain and understand the phenomenon of sleep paralysis. Medical texts from Persia, which date back to the tenth century, also have reports of sleep paralysis. In 1664, a Dutch physician made the first-ever observation of sleep paralysis. The physician claimed that a fifty-year-old woman was suffering from 'nightmares'; that's the name that was given to the condition until the 19th century. Eventually, the condition was renamed as 'sleep palsy' and then 'sleep paralysis'.


All You Need To Know About Sleep Paralysis And Why It Sounds So Scary

5) Fuseli's interpretation of sleep paralysis.


A significant historical example of sleep paralysis can be spotted in a Renaissance painting by the Swiss painter, Henry Fuseli. The painting displays a demon that represents the feeling of extreme pressure on the chest that someone senses when they experience sleep paralysis.


6) It isn't a disease!


Remember that sleep paralysis is NOT a disease but a totally natural occurrence. It can happen to anyone. Many studies have proved that most people have experienced the condition at least once in their lives and they probably don't even know it. The level of intensity of the experience varies from person to person. In most cases, young adults and individuals who have a history of mental illnesses are more likely to experience the condition.


7) Nightmares and hallucinations.


The symptoms of the condition include hallucinations and nightmares. Nevertheless, these are not like the visuals that we see in our sleep when our eyes are closed. These hallucinations occur when our mind is alert and feels awake. That's what makes the situation twice as horrifying as people think that seeing is believing. We feel an added sense of anxiety as we are unable to scream or move.


8) Folk stories and legends.


Many folk stories and legends from around the world describe the condition in various cultures. 'Kanashibar', in Japan, means being bound up with metal. In China, the sleep paralysis phenomenon is described as 'ghost oppression' while people in the US link it to alien abductions. Also, in African culture, people associate the condition to 'a devil riding your back' when demons, commonly referred to as Incubus or Succubus, have sex with people in their sleep!


9) How it occurs.


Sleep paralysis can usually occur during one of these two transitions; either when we're falling asleep or when we're waking up. Our body goes to a REM sleep (Rapid Eye Movement Sleep) and comes out of it. Sleep paralysis happens when our body has a problem making that transition. When it occurs while we're falling asleep, it's known as 'hypnagogic' sleep paralysis. When it occurs when we're in the process of waking up, it's known as 'hypnopompic' sleep paralysis.


10) You feel like dying slowly.


Sleep paralysis is often accompanied by a sense of total despair or dread. It's almost as though we're slowly dying. That leads to a feeling of relief when we finally wake up almost as if we rose from the dead.


11) Here's what really happens according to science:


When we sleep, what happens is that our brain sends a command to our body's voluntary muscles to relax and then go into a state of paralysis known as Atonia. That tends to restrict our physical movements in our dreams which help prevent our body from external injuries. In a sleep behavior disorder or nightmares, atonia does not happen properly, and our voluntary muscles move while our mind remains asleep.


Reference: ia.meaww

All You Need To Know About Sleep Paralysis And Why It Sounds So Scary All You Need To Know About Sleep Paralysis And Why It Sounds So Scary Reviewed by Katerina Pap on 11:07 PM Rating: 5

6 comments

  1. good blog on sleep paralysis....

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  2. It's happened to me a few times.And a very unpleasant and kind of scary experience indeed....

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  4. This is happening to me so frequently and has been for years, that it doesn't bother me anymore. I feel that I'm awake with my eyes open and I see "things", beings and people that I know are not really there. because of all the experience I have with this phenomena, it no longer bothers me.

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