Have You Ever Woken Up Unable To Move

Get up while feeling completely unable to move or talk. This phenomenon is called sleep paralysis.

Some people testify that they can no longer breathe, as if they had the weight of someone on their chest. It seems so mysterious that in some cultures one would go so far as to associate the paralysis of sleep with the paranormal world.

What is Sleep Paralysis?

To understand the sleep paralysis, one must know the cycle of sleep. Indeed, the latter takes place in 4 different phases:
  • Falling asleep
  • Slow light sleep
  • Deep Slow Sleep
  • The paradoxical sleep that closes the cycle
Our sleep consists of a succession of several cycles (4 to 6 cycles) lasting approximately 90 minutes each. Depending on the time of night, the duration of each stage will vary in a cycle.

In other words, at the beginning of the night the deep slow stages will be more frequent, while at the end of the night it will be a majority of paradoxical stages.

Sleep paralysis is a sleep disorder classified as a parasomnia, that is, disorders that affect sleep by movements, perceptions, and emotions that are considered anomalous. It usually manifests itself at the onset of falling asleep or on the contrary during the period before waking and is characterized by a temporary incapacity to move its members or even to speak.

The disappearance of muscle tone is explained by scientists as a possible phenomenon occurring during the transition between two phases of sleep due to an overlap between two phases of sleep. Thus, the muscular atony that characterizes REM sleep continues for a few moments and encroaches on the next phase, which explains the impression of immobilization. Indeed, during REM sleep, a phase during which the brain is particularly active, the activity of the muscles is blocked, apart from the muscles of breathing and the eyes. This prevents one from physically living dreams, which can be dangerous to oneself and others.

Different experiences during sleep paralysis.
 
There are 3 categories of hallucination described by people who have experienced sleep paralysis:

1- The Incubus:

 
In this category, people feel great pressure on their chest as if someone was sitting over them. They experience great difficulty breathing. The mind plays tricks according to scientists, because when one is anxious one breathes with difficulty.

2 - The intruder:

Some individuals describe feeling a presence lurking around them, this can be manifested by shadows or silhouettes in their room. Experts translate this state by the fact that the brain perceives the slightest stimulus as a threat, the lighter sounds can be terrifying for someone who is going through sleep paralysis.

3- Get out of his body:

Levitation is also a state described by people who have experienced sleep paralysis, they say they hover by seeing their bodies lengthened. In the phase of deep sleep, certain areas of the brain, which immobilize the movements during sleep, are activated. "You think you are moving when it is not, because the part of the brain that coordinates this is overactive," explains Denis Daniel, a cognitive neuroscience researcher.

How to prevent sleep paralysis?

Some tricks can help prevent this attack and others can stop it. It appears that various factors increase the likelihood of paralysis and hallucinations such as sleeping on the back, changing the time at which people go to bed, being stressed, changing the environment or lifestyle, or being exposed to The ambient light. It should also be pointed out that some people voluntarily try to gain access to sleep paralysis in order to trigger a lucid dream.

When the disorder occurs, the best solution is to calm down by concentrating on breathing. In fact, there must be a regular rhythm of breathing during the crisis. It is also recommended to focus on something specific, a small detail (a little finger and gently try to move it) that will dissipate fear that causes unpleasant sensations and therefore stop paralysis.

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