From time to time, some people experience the phenomena of waking from sleep and being unable to move their body or limbs, and this is known as sleep paralysis. This experience can be frightening, but it is actually quite common, and leaves many people asking the question what is sleep paralysis about?
According to studies, between 25% and 50% of Americans have experienced sleep paralysis at least once. It is believed to be caused by disturbed rapid eye movement or REM cycles. It happens most commonly during the transition between REM and non-REM sleep. Our brains normally paralyze our bodies during sleep so that we do not completely act out our dreams. Once in awhile, the sleeper wakes up partially or totally and experiences sleep paralysis.
Sleep Paralysis Causes
So what is sleep paralysis caused by? There are many possible sleep paralysis causes. Some links have been found between sleeping paralysis and social anxiety or panic disorders. Sleeping paralysis may even be partially genetic. It is common for those who often experience sleep paralysis to have narcolepsy, a condition in which a person falls asleep uncontrollably. However, the two are not always found together.
There is also some correlation between sleep paralysis and stress or disrupted sleep cycles, such as jet lag or staying up all night. This may be because sleep-deprived people enter the REM state very quickly and may not be completely asleep before their body becomes paralyzed. These are the main sleep paralysis causes.
Sleep Paralysis Demon Stories
Some people that experience sleeping paralysis have reported seeing visions of what they refer to as a sleep paralysis demon. This sleep paralysis demon experience can be terrifying and unnerving, though it may simply be due to the individual being fully-conscious while in a dream-like state.
Sometimes people who experience sleeping paralysis have a sense that there is a presence in their room, explained as a witch, hag, or a sleep paralysis demon. Sometimes this presence is described as sitting on the chest of the sleeper, or restraining their limbs. Other times, the sleeper may simply feel as if they have difficulty breathing, or hear weird buzzing noises.
How to Induce Sleep Paralysis or Avoid It
Some people want to know how to induce sleep paralysis as it may be a tool for such phenomena as lucid dreaming or out of body experience. However, in most cases people want to know how to avoid it!
In order to avoid sleep paralysis, you can follow a few simple guidelines.
- Avoid sleeping on your back, as this is the most common position for sleep paralysis to occur.
- Make sure you get enough sleep so that your body and mind have time to transition into REM sleep together.
- Having a regular sleep schedule and avoiding naps. But, if you must nap, napping at the same time every day can help prevent sleeping paralysis.
Sleeping paralysis is common
Sleep paralysis is a strange but common occurrence that most people experience at least once in their lives. While it may be uncomfortable or even terrifying, it is quite normal and not dangerous. If you are concerned about sleeping paralysis, follow the simple steps above to make sure you are well rested and can look forward to uninterrupted sleep.
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