As a victim of sleep paralysis, i find it hard to explain what i feel and how does it happen suddenly, what are the causes. So i did my research and gathered information how, when, why sleep paralysis happens.
But has this ever happened to you ?
You’re blearily waking up one morning only to discover to your horror, that you can’t move a muscle. An immense weight presses down on your chest, making it a struggle to breathe. You try to yell, but all you hear is silence. You’re frozen. Helpless. You can’t move, sit or do anything to get out of this condition.
You start to get tensed, Panicky thoughts ping through your mind: Why can’t I move? Is something horrible happening? Have i died ? or trapped ?
And then suddenly everything slowly gets back to normal, you move, sit and speak, weight from chest has been gets away. And when you search you find out that, you have just experienced sleep paralysis.
We use the term ‘nightmare’ to explain a generally frightening dream or unpleasant experience, but until the late 19th century the term night-mare was exclusively descriptive of sleep paralysis, a sleep disorder in which the body is temporarily immobilised at the moment of waking or the moment of falling asleep.
Random occurrences of sleep paralysis typically stem from periods marked by lack of sleep, medical or anaesthetic error or high levels of stress. The unpredictability of this makes it all the more frightening when it happens.
Generally it happens when brain and body are not in sync during the sleep process. During a ‘normal’ night’s sleep we can expect the brain to dispatch a message to the nervous system that relaxes the muscles, so relaxed are they that they become inactive during sleep, protecting our body from acting out physically while in the state of sleep. As the brain is roused to a waking hypnopompic state or as it falls into a sleeping hypnagogic state the brain gives the order to end or start the paralysis.
People use to think sleep paralysis has something to do with supernatural stuff, like one having any sort of connections or being controlled by a supernatural being. That’s why you were not able to control your self and was in a paralysed state. Demons and things used to control you in sleep and presence was the reason of your paralysis.
In Roman Empire era people used to think, a demon known as the incubus was responsible for your bad dreams, the incubus sat on top of your chest inducing horrifying dreams and physical immobility, making it the first documented explanation of sleep paralysis.
But medically causes of sleep paralysis:
- Not getting enough sleep.
- Irregular sleeping patterns.
- Narcolepsy a long-term condition that causes a person to suddenly fall asleep at inappropriate times.
There is currently no prescribed treatment for sleep paralysis, but doctors suggest that making your sleep schedule regular can decrease these incidents of parasomnia.