Imagine this: You wake up in the middle of the night, feeling paralyzed and taken over by an unknown fear. As you feel suffocated, you see a dark shadowy figure standing in a corner of the room staring at you. This is the very real feeling of sleep paralysis and here are some scary sleep paralysis facts.
What is sleep paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is a type of disruptive sleep-related disorder known as parasomnias. It occurs when you are passing through the stages of wakefulness & sleep. When this transition between the stages of sleep is not smooth, you may end up being conscious, yet unable to speak or move for a few minutes or seconds. You may also feel choked or experience a pressure on your chest, as if someone is sitting one top of you.
While it is mostly a benign condition, many people associate it with supernatural forces due to their culture or personal beliefs, which can make the experience seem scarier than it actually is. Many people experience a demonic presence during an episode, such as the sleep demon, the night hag, shadow person, hat man or succubus/incubus. But according to sleep paralysis facts, these are simply hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations conjured up by a confused mind trapped between wakefulness and sleep.
Related: Understanding Sleep Paralysis
What causes sleep paralysis?
While waking up feeling paralyzed and unable to move can be surely terrifying, it is simply a mental state caused by abnormal sleep cycles, sleep deprivation and psychological stress. It can also be caused by certain underlying mental health conditions like bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
When you fall asleep or wake up, muscle atonia relaxes your limbs so that you are unable to act out your dreams during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. However, during sleep paralysis, your body remains still due to muscle atonia while you become completely aware and conscious, but unable to move. Coupled with hallucinations, this can undoubtedly be a terrifying experience for anyone.
8 Scary Sleep Paralysis Facts
Check out this quick video to know about some of the most terrifying facts about sleep paralysis:
While it is surrounded by superstitions and paranormal beliefs, sleep paralysis is simply a sleep-related condition where hallucinations seem real.
Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis? Let us know below.