The paralysis of sleep is a disorder that appears at 20 % of the population. Anxiety, hallucination, feeling of crushing are common symptoms in people who are victims of it.
When is this happening?
The paralysis of sleep takes place during the sleep and the wake-up. We call these states, the state of hypnagogic and the state of hypnopompic. It comes more particularly when waking up in the morning and when the person dozing is on the back. The paralysis of sleep is particularly important during adolescence.
How’s it going?
The sleeper wakes up totally paralyzed. It can’t speak, nor move, while having a state of conscience, which can be particularly confusing for the person concerned.
Hallucinations can take place during the paralysis of sleep, which lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes causing a sensation of anguish in the person. Hallucinations can go from the feeling of a presence in the room to the horrible feeling of getting shot by the feet or that the presence sits on the chest.
In Two-thirds of the cases, people who have experienced an episode of sleep paralysis and an episode of hallucinations have only seen the feeling of a presence without the physical effects.
Sound and visual hallucinations can also be felt like the feeling of being touched, to see white lights, or the feeling of floating or falling.
Our sleep is made up of a succession of cycles that chain throughout the night. Sleep paralysis usually occurs during the paradoxical sleep phase.
During this period, which lasts from 15 to 20 min, brain activity is intense since it is at this time that dreams come true. The paralysis of sleep appears either:
When the person is in a paradoxical sleep, and about to wake up.
Very little time after the sleep, when you’re rocking awakening to sleep.
During The Paradoxical sleep, the body becomes naturally atonic (we do not move). That’s why, people who experiment with sleep paralysis can’t move.
Some factors can promote the appearance of sleep paralysis such as stress or anxiety, a brutal change in lifestyle (mourning, moving, new work), a non-regular sleep rhythm.
Why are we touched by the paralysis of sleep???
Several reasons can be advanced: first of all, people with narcolepsy are more affected. But all people suffering from sleep paralysis are not necessarily narcoleptic, the other reasons can be a lack of sleep, a change in habits, stress and anxiety…
This disorder can absolutely touch everyone but it is not common. People who already have sleep disorders are no more exposed than others.
Except for narcoleptic in whom sleep paralysis can be chronic. In fact, “Narcolepsy is by definition an anomaly of paradoxical sleep”, reminds Dr. Royant-Parola. The narcoleptic are taken from sudden sleep phases during which they do not move anymore.
Why do we stay paralyzed???
When you’re in the paradoxical sleep phase, the phase where you dream, our body is paralyzed. What is called muscular atony, is created by the brain for a reason: avoid our bodies to act as we dream. While this phenomenon stops when you wake up, it continues when a sleep paralysis occurs. So we find ourselves in a state of semi-conscience and the brain tries to explain the state of paralysis, so it can produce hallucinations as a menacing presence.
How to avoid sleep paralysis?
It is impossible to avoid it because it is not controllable, but it is possible not to suffer from side effects. By Being aware that sleep paralysis is not a serious phenomenon, people in suffering see in general the hallucinations disappear.
Sleep paralysis, a danger?
Science has not yet found any consequences on the state of health of people doing sleep paralysis.
Important: sleep paralysis can last a few seconds at a few minutes and naturally causes fear and anguish in the person who suffers from it…