Waking up in the middle of the night, you can’t move an itsy bitsy part of your body, you want to yell but can’t … You saw demons, shadows, saints, aliens, but you’re also sure that all of these things are real. Well, is this a thing that could be explained or is it something unnatural?
No doubt that waking up in the middle of the night is the strangest thing ever, besides the fact that you are aware of everything around you, yet you can’t do anything. This is called “sleep paralysis” and is really a common thing, but very unpleasant. Scientist say that this is just something that happens normally during one of two stages – “hypnagogic” and “hypnopompic”.
Research about paralysis during sleep continue, but even now modern science has no clear and understandable explanation for this phenomenon. But some among the many hypotheses offered as a possible explanation of the various symptoms are the next ones we’ll write about.
First of all, those who pass through serious stress relive fears that they have through the paralysis in their sleep. Those hallucinations are similar to dreaming. They monitor the brain activity, which shows threats from the environment and thus respond as danger. The activity of this part of the brain in the absence of real fear during the REM stage of sleep, increases the feeling of an intimidating presence in close proximity. So, they are associated with the temporary disruption of the boundary between sleep and waking state, so that some sleep phenomena such as paralysis during sleep, intertwine with the waking state.
According to modern science, here are some factors that may lead to this sort of phenomena:
- Everyday stressful situations
- Lack of sleep
- Long-term sleep disorders, among those who are sexually abused
- Mental conditions, like bipolar disorder
- Sleeping on the back
So in the case of a sleep paralysis, people cannot speak or move for several seconds or minutes, most often shortly after they have fallen asleep, or immediately after waking up.
Is there some sort of cure for this? No, not really, there is not a prescribed treatment, as this paralysis happens naturally. But, if an expert finds another underlying condition in the process of diagnosis, he may prescribe a treatment, such as:
- Treatment of any underlying sleep disorders
- Prescription for sleeping aids
- Referral to a mental health professional
- Implementation of a sleeping schedule
- Prescription for an anti-depressant
- Referral to a sleep specialist
Do not worry too much over this topic – if you’ve experienced this one, you should not immediately rush to seek a professional help. You can take a lot of cautions such as reducing or completely eliminating the intake of caffeine, nicotine, alcohol/drugs, and do not keep your electronic devices near to your bed while sleeping.
However, if this happen once, it is likely to happen again, so remember that it is nothing terrifying, no ghosts or demons, it will pass soon, so you should try to stay calm.