Spoiler Alert ~ This is super scary! What really happens when you wake up and can’t move? It’s time to find out . . . And, it’s worse than a nightmare! Have you ever experienced Sleep Paralysis?
Studies suggest that 60% of people will experience it at least once in their life, with students, night shift workers, depressed individuals and people with panic disorders being at the top of the list.
The 11 Terrifying Truths About Sleep Paralysis!
1. It Feels Like You Wake Up Dead!
Most patients whom experience sleep paralysis describe it in the same way, “It feels like I wake up dead!” What happens is that the mind is awake, but the body is not, so you’re trapped.
2. It’s Worse Than A Nightmare!
Sleep Paralysis is the opposite of a nightmare! What does that mean?
Well, when you enter a deep REM slumber, ordinarily your brain makes your muscles relax and be still as you sleep. This is called “atonia.” Atonia helps defend the body from injury by stopping you from acting out the physical motions of your dreams. For example, when people sleepwalk or fight in their sleep, atonia is not working properly, and that is why they physically act out their dreams.
In sleep paralysis, the body continues to be paralyzed in REM atonia though the brain wakes up and the eyes open. An episode of paralysis can cause you to be unable to move your body ─ your arms, legs or head! You can still breath, however, but you can’t move! Nor, can you speak! This phenomenon can last for several seconds up to a couple of minutes. Pretty scary, huh?
3. It Can Happen When You Just Fall Asleep Or Are Waking Up!
Sleep paralysis can happen during several sleep cycles, which are when you are first falling asleep and when you are waking up. What happens is that your body is slow to transition as fast as the mind does.
If it occurs as you are just falling asleep, it is known as hypnagogic sleep paralysis.
If it occurs as you are waking up, it is known as hypnopompic sleep paralysis.
The scary thing is that it is widely unknown why the body sometimes has trouble transitioning between awake and sleep.
4. Hallucinations Can Happen During Sleep Paralysis!
This might be the scariest thing yet! When you dream, your eyes are closed. When you hallucinate, your eyes are wide open, and your mind is awake!
Sleep paralysis triggers a state of panic which causes fear and anxiety. So, it’s no wonder that a hallucination can occur which is usually triggered by a feeling of a strange presence in your room.
5. You Might Be Able To Wiggle Your Toes… Or Fingers… But That’s It!
It’s quite a scary feeling to be able to wiggle your fingers, but not to be able to move your hand or arms! People who suffer from sleep paralysis say that even though they might be able to wiggle a body part, they can’t wiggle enough to pull themselves out of it. They have to wait it out!
6. Sleep Paralysis Can Happen To Anyone, Anytime, For No Good Reason!
Every time you go to sleep, there is a chance of this occurring to you. Research has not found any good reasons or answers to how or why this happens. However, the severity of the paralysis is different for everyone. Some people report that it occurs for only a few seconds, and others report severe cases with hallucinations.
However, it’s reported to be mostly common among young adults and people with mental illnesses. This study performed at Penn State shows that many students suffer from Sleep Paralysis. This is probably due to high amounts of stress. Furthermore, the study shows that people with elevated levels of anxiety and depression, or those who suffer from panic attacks, are the next in line to suffer from Sleep Paralysis.
7. Sleep Deprivation Might Be A Cause, As Well!
Exhaustion can lead to Sleep Paralysis and other sleep disorders. Make sure to get your sleep! No pun intended!
8. But Truly, Scientists Can Not Find A Scientific Cause For Sleep Paralysis!
Most recently, an inherited gene is being blamed for the condition. Plus, along with stress, depression and sleep deprivation, certain prescription medications might be to blame. Certainly, however, for those who suffer from this terrible disorder, not knowing is undoubtedly frustrating!
9. People Have Been Suffering From This Phenomenon For Centuries!
Sleep Paralysis is found in Persian medicinal manuscripts dating back to the 10th century! Crazy, right? It was believed to be caused by spiritual possession or demons until the 19th century when it was finally termed “sleep palsy.”
10. Are Aliens Behind It All?
Moreover, there are lots of folk legends all over the world that venture to justify the existence of it in various cultures.
11. There Is No Evidence That It will Kill You!
This is good, right? Finally, something good! There are no clinical deaths to date from suffering from Sleep Paralysis. Furthermore, no physical harm happens because of the paralyzation.
What it does to the mind, however, is entirely a different story.
Scared to go to sleep now?
In conclusion, you should not be too terrified of sleep paralysis. The biggest thing is to remember not to be afraid. Just wait it out, if it happens to you. Knowledge is the key to understanding what is happing to you.
However, try telling that to someone who suffers from it and see if they agree. According to most, Sleep Paralysis is terrifying. Sufferers say that it feels paranormal, rather than a common sleep disorder.
Robin and the Zen Team!
*Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose any health condition. Therefore, ask your doctor about any health concerns that you might have and seek proper medical treatment.
Cover Photo Source– Pixabay.com