What is Sleep Paralysis?

Dark red walls dripping black ooze. A man bursting from a hotel closet that grabs you with a tentacle. These aren't scenes from a horror movie — they're vivid hallucinations people had during sleep paralysis. 😴😱

What Is Sleep Paralysis ?

Between the waking state and sleep is a third state — sleep paralysis, or the inability to move or speak for up to a few minutes. It’s not a disease, just a benign malfunctioning of the brain and it can happen to anyone. During a healthy sleep cycle, the brain’s activity changes, going through different phases, including Rapid-Eye Movement sleep. This is when dreams are most intense. During these dreams our brain deactivates our muscles. Although you feel you’re awake, you’re unable to move a single muscle. Your brain is in an in-between state — a waking dream — and often has terrifying visual and auditory hallucinations. This is why sleep paralysis has long been considered a paranormal or mystical phenomenon in psychological health. The paralysis can last a few seconds or a few minutes.

Although the reasons it occurs are still not fully understood, several risk factors have been identified: a lack of sleep, stress or a traumatic event. Rather than fighting the paralysis by trying to wake up, specialists recommend accepting it and going back to sleep. At least 8% of the general population according to Sharpless et al., Sleep Med. Rev. 2011 and 28% of students experience sleep paralysis at some point in their life.

What is sleep paralysis? Between the waking state and sleep, there’s a third state called sleep paralysis - your mind wakes up, but your body does not. This waking nightmare is a benign malfunctioning of the brain and it can happen to anyone. Here is all you need to know. Although the reasons it occurs are still not fully understood, several risk factors have been identified: a lack of sleep, stress or a traumatic event. Rather than fighting the paralysis by trying to wake up, specialists recommend accepting it and going back to sleep according to Sleep Med. Rev. 2011

At least 8% of the general population and 28% of students experience sleep paralysis at some point in their life.

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