Sleep paralysis a waking nightmare

Sleep paralysis is a condition that people experience when falling asleep or waking up. One who experiences this situation won’t be able to speak, respond or move and she/he will also remain unaware about what she/he is experiencing. During this, one might hear, see and feel things that aren’t actually present at the time. These sequences of episodes will last a bit longer than two minutes. Sometimes these incidents will recur. These might make living nightmares to the one who’s experiencing it. This can be also considered as an-undesired event or a parasomnia. Sleep paralysis is common just after falling asleep and when waking up again. The episodes of this are sensual, visual and auditory hallucinations.

Causes for sleep paralysis

The reason for this incident is the shutting down of the muscles of the brain by the brain stem which is responsible for regulation of the sleeping pattern. This occurs once the person enters the REM phase that makes him unable to act in dreams. This wouldn’t unfreeze your brain even though you regain consciousness, thus you will feel as if you’re trapped in your body into one of the following categories. Intruder: The victim will hear sounds of doorknobs opening, a shadow of a man, shuffling footsteps as well as a sense of a threatening presence in the room. Incubus: You will feel a soft pressure on your chest, a difficulty in breathing with the feeling of being strangled, smothered or sexually assaulted by a violent male being. The individual who undergoes this situation will get the feeling of death. Vestibular-motor: This is a sense of falling, flying, spinning, floating or hovering over someone’s body.

As per the survey reports, 40% of people have this problem in their lives and most of the cultures had some sort of an explanation for these fearful experiences. Some suggested alien abduction as the reason while science studies suggested changes in sleep schedule as a major cause. Some other causes are stress, sleeping on the back and the use of medications.

Is sleep paralysis and waking nightmares a serious problem?

Sleep paralysis is a short life threatening experience, but the particular experience will remain in the person’s mind for a long time. It will be better if you understand the phase of REM before getting to know the phenomenon of sleep paralysis. The phase of REM is the quick moment of eyes, supposed to speak normally since it is a sleep phase in which it normally happens. This is generated from brain neurons that are responsible for sending the projections upward into the cortex. This makes a dream and then sends the projections upward again into the cortex to send it downward. Both the spinal cord and the brain work in coordination to create an active dream as well as an active paralyze.

The waking nightmare hallucinations are often explained by factors involving experiences with vestibular motor bodily sensations, threatening intruders and physical assaults. The present studies assess the reliability of the underlying measurement assumptions and the particular structure of experiments. Main one among the factors appears to be thematically powerful and linked to an underlying theme of assault and threat while the 3rd factor is autonomous. However it sometimes appears to be in assault themes and threat too.

Instances where sleep paralysis occurs

As said earlier, sleep paralysis takes place once in two times. Sleep paralysis that occurs when falling asleep is called predormital or hypnagogic sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis that occurs when waking up is called postdormital or hypnopompic sleep paralysis.

Symptoms of sleep paralysis

Some medical issues such as depression, anxiety disorders, hypertension and migraines result in symptoms of sleep paralysis. The signs and the symptoms of this include inability to move the body when waking up or falling asleep, inability to speak while consciously awake, sensations of fear, difficulty in breathing, muscle pains, paranoia and headaches.


There isn’t a special treatment to cure people who undergo sleep paralysis. The main suggestion for the victims is to improve the sleep schedule of them. The doctors recommend a better sleeping routine for those who suffer from this. Anyhow, the patients in extremes are often prescribed with low antidepressant doses that helps in mediation of the symptoms. Avoiding alcohol, having enough sleep, getting rid of nicotine and drugs are the most essential treatment required. Moreover, these people are requested to limit caffeine after 2 p.m. and to keep electronics out of the bedroom while sleeping.