Have you ever felt trapped inside your own body or encountered a terrible nightmare that felt too real?
Well, it might not be a paranormal experience but a rather normal one that every human experience at least once in their lifetime.
Here’s a true story of a patient who experienced this recently.
“I was sleeping and suddenly I felt a strange weight on my chest, it felt like someone was trying to crush me down. My heartbeat increased and I opened my eyes. I saw a dark figure approaching me, with a ghostly grin on his face. I wanted to scream but no voice came out of my throat. I wasn’t able to move my body as if I was paralyzed.”
Myths About Sleep Paralysis
Long back when this phenomenon was not known people associated it with devil and magic.
Canadian Eskimos call it “spells of shamans” who paralyze the person and make him feel a presence.
In Brazilian folklore, there is a mention of Pisadeira who is a crone with long fingernails who comes out at night and trample on the chest of those who sleep with a full stomach on their back.
Surprisingly, In the modern world, people associate it not only with ghosts and demonic presence but also with experiences of alien abductions, where they hallucinate about aliens abducting them.
What Is Sleep Paralysis?
It is a phenomenon which occurs when people are falling asleep or waking up. They are unable to move their body or speak and may experience hallucinations and anxiety.
This is normally experienced by people having sleep apnea but can affect anyone.
It normally occurs in adolescents and can be prevented.
- Unable to speak or move the body.
- Difficulty in breathing
- Feeling of fear
- Paranoia and headaches
- Being conscious yet paralyzed
The person experiences it mostly between the transition with REM and non-REM cycle. In Rapid eye movement cycle, the eyes move rapidly while the body relaxes. In non-Rapid eye movement cycle, the body relaxes. Dreams occur when the body is in a REM cycle.
It is more frequently seen in sleep-deprived individuals, people with a disturbed sleeping pattern, sleeping on the back, patients of narcolepsy and people with a family history of sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis is self-treatable but if it persists it can be a sign of depression, pre-existing anxiety, fear of falling asleep and sleep disorders.
It can be treated by some lifestyle changes like
- Sleeping for more than 6 hours
- Maintaining sleep hygiene
- Having regular exercise
- Avoiding caffeine
- Reducing screen time at night.
- Avoiding alcohol and drugs
- Sleeping on the side instead of back
If you thought that you have been haunted then it might be wrong, after all, we have all been told to fear the monsters that hide under our bed but what about the monsters that are inside our heads!