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 is sometimes accompanied by frightening hallucinations to which one is unable to react due to paralysis and perceived physical experiences, such as a strong current running through the upper body. Sleep paralysis poses no immediate risk to those who experience it, and it lasts from several seconds to several minutes.
Have you been experiencing all these??? Well, here's 11 facts we got for you that will keep your head straight!
1. It feels kind of like you woke up dead.
2. And it's way more complicated than a nightmare."It is the complete opposite, actually," Breus explains. When you enter deep REM sleep, your brain tells the body's voluntary muscles to relax and go into almost a state of paralysis, which is called atonia. Atonia actually helps protect the body from injury by preventing you from acting out the physical movements in your dreams. In other parasomnias, such as sleepwalking or REM sleep behavior disorder, atonia does not occur properly and the voluntary muscles move while the mind remains asleep, which is why people can sometimes do crazy things in their sleep and be totally unaware of it.
4. Sleep paralysis can involve hallucinations.
6. Sleep paralysis is actually a natural occurrence and can happen to anyone.Every time you go to sleep, there is some risk of waking up in sleep paralysis, says Breus. But severity and degree of consciousness vary greatly — most people have at least one episode at some point in life but aren't even aware of it. When it does happen, it's highly individual and rarely the same experience for everyone.
A Penn State study found the highest prevalence rates were in students and psychiatric patients.
8. So avoiding sleep paralysis might be as simple as getting better and longer sleep."Sleep deprivation can either be measured in quantity or quality," says Breus. "For example, if you have sleep apnea and you wake yourself up because you stop breathing throughout the night, the quantity of your sleep is bad. If you consume large amounts of alcohol, it prevents you from entering deeper stages of sleep which decreases the quality."
10. Seriously, people have been trying to explain this weird phenomenon for centuries.
11. And it probably explains whatever is going on in this very famous Renaissance painting.Swiss painter Henry Fuseli's painting is said to be inspired by supernatural dream experiences and the growing interest in sleep paralysis among doctors at the time. This creepy little gremlin could also represent the sensation of chest pressure...or it could be argued that he's just trying to get it in with this sleeping damsel
12. People have blamed sleep paralysis on everything from witches and UFOs to giant ghost dogs.
13. However, there's really no evidence that it'll kill you."Research has shown that sleep paralysis is not dangerous," says Breus. "It does not cause physical harm to the body and there are no clinical deaths known to date." While there are some terrifying cultural explanations around the world, these are constructed to make sense of a very mysterious condition.
...But just try telling that to someone who has sleep paralysis.
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