Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure or a sense of choking. Narcolepsy is an overpowering need to sleep caused by a problem with brain’s ability to regulate sleep.
1.It feels kind of like you woke up dead
Most people say the same thing to describe sleep paralysis: that it feels like you woke up dead. You know that your mind is awake but your body is not-so you are trapped
2. It happens when you are falling asleep or waking up
Sleep paralysis can occur during one or two transitions in the sleep cycle. The body must go into REM sleep, and it must come out of it, but sleep paralysis occurs when the body has trouble making these transitions. If it happens when you are falling asleep, it’s called hypnagogic sleep paralysis, whereas if it happens during waking up it’s called hypnopompic. Why the body can; transition smoothly is still unknown.
3. You can’t just wake yourself up
Some patients report that they can’t wiggle their toes, fingers or facial muscles, which helps them to wake up the rest of their body. Everybody tries something different, but you can’t fool mother nature-there is no way to pull yourself out of it. You just have to wait it out.
4. It’s probably related to being sleep deprived
According to some researches, the less sleep you get and the more exhausted you are, the more likely you are to experience sleep paralyses and other sleep disorders.
5. People have been trying to explain this weird phenomenon for centuries
Accounts of sleep paralysis can be found in Persian medical texts dating back to the 10th century. The first clinical observation was made by Dutch physician in 1664 who diagnosed a 50-year old woman with “Night-Mare”. It was believed to be caused by demons or spiritual possession until the 19th century, when it was termed “sleep palsy” and eventually “sleep paralyses” in medical texts.
6. People have blamed sleep paralyses on everything from witches and UFOs to giant ghost dogs
There are various folk legends all over the world that attempt to explain the existence of it in different cultures.
7. It’s more complicated than “Night-Mare”
Sleep paralysis is the complete opposite than nightmare. When you enter deep REM sleep, your brain tells the body’s voluntary muscles to relax and to 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 sometimes do crazy things in their sleep and be totally unaware of it.
8. Sleep paralysis is actually a natural occurrence and can happen to anyone
Every time you go to sleep, there is some risk waking up in sleep paralysis, but severity and degree of consciousness vary greatly-most people have at least one episode at some point in life but are not even aware of it. When it does happen, it’s highly individual and rarely the same experience for everyone.