Have you ever had a nightmare (usually horrible) and tried to react to it, but you couldn’t, you tried to scream, wake up, run or struggle but you couldn’t and you felt like an intruder or a supernatural force is holding you down, keeping you from waking up, or scream for help? The condition is called sleep paralysis,
Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon in which an individual, either during falling asleep or awakening, briefly experiences an inability to move, speak, or react.
It happens during REM(rapid eye movement) sleep,
REM is a stage of sleep when the brain is very active and dreams often occur. The body is unable to move, apart from the eyes and muscles used in breathing, possibly to stop you acting out your dreams and hurting yourself.
Sleep paralysis is usually accompanied by fear, hallucinations, fast or difficulty in breathing, sometimes sufferers feel like supernatural forces or human (which their consciousness believes is capable of hurting them) is trying to kill or suffocate them in their sleep and when they try to call for help and couldn’t, they’ll come to the conclusion that its the village witch at work,
Most people who experienced sleep paralysis often feel the presence of an intruder in thier room, outside by the window, a shadowy shapeless figure holding them down to their bed or someone looking down at them, the paralysis is partial though, and thats why they can move some parts of their body when it occurs,
In some cases they might be visions, out of body experiences and ghostly presence, they’re unverified claims that the mythical creature incubus a male demon which lies upon women in order to engage in sexual activities with them, its female counterpart seccubus does the same to men in their sleep.
Symptoms of sleep paralysis
*you’ll be aware of your surroundings but you’ll be unable to move, because you’re temporarily paralyzed
*irregular and rapid breathing, and perspiration, which you cant control
*you feel the presence of someone(the intruder who you believe is there to harm you) in your room, fear, and panic.
*you wont be able to move, some people can open thier eyes though.
Causes of sleep paralysis
1. Genetics: when theres a history of sleep paralysis in your family
2. Not getting much sleep (insomnia)
3. Little or no night rest to relax the brain, the brain is responsible for your dreams.
4. Jetlag or irregular sleep pattern
5. Sleeping at inappropriate time, which might be induced by drugs, weed, narcolepsy, night job.
Treatment of sleep paralysis
1. Always sleep at the same time every day day, if you’re the type that goes to bed by 9pm every day keep it that way
2. Sleep in a sleep inducing environment, quiet, dark, comfortable temperature
3. Don’t consume substances that might keep you up at night, like caffeine, kolanut, alcohol
4. Dont eat big meals before going to bed
5. Get at least 6-8 hours of sleep every night
Image credit: South China Morning Post