We spend about a third of our entire lives asleep in bed. While we’re off doing who knows what in our dreams our bodies are busy at work replenishing and repairing themselves so we’re fresh for the upcoming day. It’s no secret that a good nights rest is critical for optimal mental and physical health, yet for many people it’s hard to come by. For some of them it ends up wasted by a freaky phenomenon called sleep paralysis.
When people get up after sleeping what normally happens is their mind, brain, and body all wake up at the same exact time. Sleep paralysis occurs when the mind awakens first, before the body has a chance to register and wake up. A person experiencing sleep paralysis is able to breathe normally and they can see and understand everything around them, but they cannot move a muscle no matter how hard they try.
The feelings that run through the mind when this type of paralysis occurs can be overwhelming, the whole entire experience is often summed up as simply terrifying. People report that right before they wake up they hear either waves crashing loudly in their head or a very loud bang that jars them awake. They may also have difficulty breathing which feels horrible, as if someone were choking them. Moments like these can last anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes or longer.
The sensation of waking up and being unable to move is estimated to affect less than 8% of people. No serious medical risks have been attributed to sleep paralysis in and of itself, but the mental and physical damage it causes show up in the long run. Furthermore, the teen years are when people often experience their first episode and genetic factors may contribute to it. However, the main causes are believed to include stress, sleeping on your back, schedule changes, and an overall lack of sleep.
Back in the day before anyone knew what the heck was really going on it was thought that some type of evil force or demons were behind the strange phenomenon. Once you read these 8 terrifying facts about sleep paralysis it’ll become much clearer and easy to see why it’s so scary!
1. It feels like a demon is sitting on your chest. The physical sensation is just as bad as the mental and visual ones. It often feels like there is something strange and irritating weighing heavily on your chest. Your eyes are open, you can see that there’s nothing on top of your body, yet it’s as if a ton of bricks are weighing you down.
2. It makes you feel like you’re dead. A majority of those who experience sleep paralysis equate the experience of waking up and not being able to move, while simultaneously being fully mentally awake, to feeling like they’re dead. It’s basically one type of out of body experience that you never ever want to experience.
3. It can happen even when you are trying to fall asleep. Not only does it happen when you wake up, but also when you’re going to bed. That’s because it can occur at two main points in the sleep cycle, when your body transitions between going into and coming out of the REM (deep sleep) stage.
4. There is absolutely no way to force your body to react. You cannot blink, yawn, or do anything physical to make yourself move. Instead, you have to wait for your body to come out of it and this can take anywhere from a few seconds to even several minutes.
5. It can happen to any one of us at any point in our lives. If you haven’t experienced sleep paralysis yet, you likely will in the future because just about everyone has an episode of it. Sometimes people go through it but they are not aware or conscious of the fact that it happened. They either forget or are not strongly affected by it. Either way, if it hasn’t happened to you yet just wait because it probably will in due time.
6. If you already suffer from lack of sleep then it’s much more likely to happen to you. Studies show that people who suffer from chronic sleep issues, such as routinely not getting enough sleep, are more likely to have an episode of sleep paralysis as compared to their well-rested counterparts.
7. Nobody knows for certain what even causes it in the first place. People have suffered from sleep paralysis for just about forever and yet all the science and research in the world have yet to find a definitive cause or explanation as to what may trigger it. It has been a mystery for thousands of years and remains one to this day.
8. Nightmares continue after waking. Many say that immediately upon waking up they feel as if they are caught up in a terrifying living nightmare. This is because they open their eyes and see hallucinations. They know they are awake and mentally conscious but they see things that are not actually there. It’s so real that it’s easy to think you’re still asleep and in the throes of a really bad nightmare.
Credits: Woah12 | Sun-gazing
Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis? Let us know about your experience in the comments
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