Ever got up from sleep and experienced a soul-shaking state in which you become numb….unable to move your hands, legs or say anything but you are awake and want to scream out loud?? Well..!! This terrifying state is called SLEEP PARALYSIS. If you view casually, it’s just a sleeping disorder…but when you face it..it’s the most ghastly experience you’ll ever have. Around 8% of the general population but 28% of students encounter this state according to a study(2011) published in sleep medicine reviews. From other studies and surveys people who have experienced this dreadful condition varies from 5% to 62%.
According to doctors, during rapid eye movement(REM) sleeping state, the brain has vivid dreams, while muscles of the body are essentially turned off so that while sleeping a person cannot act out what he’s dreaming with his body and sleep paralysis happen when a person wakes up before REM is finished. The person will be conscious but the body’s ability to move hasn’t turned back on yet.
The causes of this scary episode can be sleep deprivation, anxiety, depression etc.
Symptoms of this state are that during sleep paralysis person cannot move his/her body and cant speak for around 2 mins. Also, some sort of illusions/hallucinations is supposed to be felt when you experience this condition.
In ancient times, it was believed that demons create sleep paralysis by applying pressure or sitting on the person’s chest and it was due to the illusions that person have as the mind was still in the dreamy state, that is why hallucination is the important symptom of sleep paralysis.
If sleep paralysis hasn’t occurred to you yet, make sure you have a healthy sleep and prevent all those causes to this awful condition. But if you have felt the above frequently, make sure your sleep hygiene is solid and make sure you sleep enough on regular basis, avoid drugs, alcohol and limit your caffeine intake and if all these things don’t help, see the specialists as soon as possible.
According to UK National Health System, sleep paralysis is not dangerous, but a person experiencing these episodes frequently may be prescribed a short course of antidepressant medicine.
If you too experience anything like this, just stay calm because it is a temporary situation which will be vanished soon..don’t panic!