Sleep paralysis: The disorder from your nightmares
Sleep paralysis is a disorder that is similar to catalepsy. It usually happens before falling asleep, when the rest of your body is relaxed and ready to sleep. During this process, it is normal for your muscles to lock and make you immobile. If your muscles lock before you fall asleep or you wake up before they unlock, you’ll find yourself in a state of sleep paralysis. It’s a state between sleep and awake, and you won’t be able to move.
Sleep paralysis: Causes
Sleep paralysis is caused by weird start to REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. In the REM phase, our brain locks our muscles so that we don’t act things out while we sleep.
One of the main differences between sleep paralysis and catalepsy is that during paralysis, you stay in an in between state of sleeping and being awake, so you may have auditory and visual hallucinations like you would if you were sleeping. This doesn’t happen with catalepsy, but catalepsy does last for much longer.
During sleep paralysis, you can open your eyes but you are still unable to produce sounds or move your muscles, which causes a sensation of being stuck inside your own body. This impression, along with usually scary hallucinations, causes the subject to be scared, angry, frustrated, frightened, and may even make them feel like they may die, even though there isn’t really any danger.
Those who have sleep paralysis usually come out of it in a few minutes because they are working hard to wake up. When you come out of this state, you should get up and move around a bit. By not doing this, you run the risk of it happening again.
This disorder can affect mentally sound people who may be over-tired or stressed. In these cases, the subject reached REM sleep too quickly, which may cause sleep problems. If it only happens due to tiredness, it isn’t related to any mental issue and the sleep paralysis will resolve itself with the necessary sleep.
Sleep paralysis cases are more common than they seem and have been happening for years. Many superstitions and urban legends have been made around this disorder, just like catalepsy. Many of the documented paranormal phenomenon were really hallucinations produced by this disorder.
Molly is a writer specialized in health and psychology. She is passionate about neuroscience and how the brain works, and is constantly looking for new content from interesting sources. Molly is happy to give or take advice, and is always working to educate and inspire.