Posted by: beagle4 | May 3, 2011

Sleep Paralysis

Check out this video on sleep paralysis. It’s kind of long, but really interesting.


I also found a really good article written by Ekaterina Tikhoniouk on the The University Observer, Ireland’s student newspaper. Sleep paralysis is exactly what it sounds like, you are paralyzed and unable to move while sleeping. The sufferer may also be awake but unable to move for a period of time, lasting anywhere from a few seconds to between 15 and 20 minutes. It is described as the most terrifying of all sleep disorders. Sleep paralysis was once considered very rare, but recent studies have revealed that almost half of all people have suffered some form of sleep paralysis at least once during their lives.

In 80% of the cases, sleep paralysis is accompanied by a sense of danger as well as terrifying hallucinatory experiences. This can include any or all of the following:  “feeling pressure on the chest, feeling phantom hands on the throat, the sound of shuffling or dragging footsteps, noises and bright lights, phantom voices, visions of humanoid forms, sensation of floating and out-of-body experiences.” Several scientists believe that there is a direct link between sleep paralysis and the increased number of alleged alien abductions reported every year. Richard McNally, a professor of psychology at Harvard University, believes that many of these ‘victims’ were actually just experiencing sleep paralysis, and not really abducted by aliens. Dang.

Sleep paralysis usually occurs when a person is moving into or out of REM sleep. This results in the nervous and endocrine systems attempting to send out signals for movement inhibition, even when the person has woken directly from REM sleep. When this happens, the person wakes up unable to move for a short period of time until the brain realizes that it is awake and stops inhibiting movement.

I have personally never have experienced sleep paralysis, at least that I remember (this seems like something that would be pretty memorable). To me it sounds like you would be living a nightmare, even after you have woken up. Maybe people that experience nightmares will be relieved to hear about sleep paralysis, and feel better knowing there are far worse experiences that can occur while you are asleep.

Now just close your eyes and dream…


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