Sleep paralysis is the least wanted condition you want to wake up in at night. It probably can’t even be called waking up. During sleep paralysis, your mind seems to be awake but you feel unable to move your body. You understand that you are not dreaming and it scares you that you can’t control your body.
Imagine yourself working long hours and at the end of the day being so tired and stressed that all you can think is going to bed. You fall asleep fast in a deep sleep. Then imagine you wake up and something is wrong. You feel as if you are not alone in your room. There is some presence. You can’t put your finger on it but you know that you are not alone.
Another scary thing besides that presence is that you can’t do anything about it. You are unable to move from your bed. You can’t even turn your face to the wall so you won’t see that strange thing. You can’t defend yourself from that scary presence because you are simply unable to move. You want to scream but nothing comes out of your mouth. All you can do is lie still.
Imagine you fall asleep again. The next time you wake up, everything is back to normal. You are alone in the room and you are able to get out of your bed. You realize that that scary presence is gone. You try to understand what happened at night but you simply can’t. You may start worrying that it was a ghost or a soul trying to kill you. However, what it really was is sleep paralysis.
One of 10 people suffers sleep paralysis on a weekly basis. Three out of 10 people have episodes of sleep paralysis at least once in their life. This field has not been studied long enough to be sure what kind of factors creates sleep paralysis. But what is known is that this condition is more likely to affect you if you don’t have a normal sleeping routine, are always tired and stressed. Moreover, you are more likely to experience it if you have some mental disorders, such as schizophrenia, post-traumatic stress syndrome or bipolar disorder.
People who suffer sleep paralysis may say that it lasts for a long time. However, it takes only from a few seconds to a few minutes. Although it doesn’t do any harm, sleep paralysis is scary while it lasts. No wonder – you are wide awake but you are not in control of your body.
Some scientists say that sleep paralysis is a mixed state of consciousness, during which being awake gets mixed with rapid-eye-movement sleep. Moreover, they state that sleep paralysis is actually our defensive mechanism which doesn’t allow us to make any sudden moves when we wake up after we had a nightmare so we won’t do any damage to our surroundings.
Another interesting fact is that people who suffer sleep paralysis usually have nightmares, where they are victims. Thus, they get extremely terrified when they wake up and still have a sense that they are in such a dream and can’t do anything to protect themselves from those who want to harm them.