Sleep Paralysis: It's No Joke!


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One day in my senior year of high school, I remember one of my friends telling me about how he had woken up this morning but was unable to move or talk at all.  And because we all find humor in our friends pain, I laughed at him and made fun of him.  He told me I wouldn't be laughing when it happened to me and then we went on with the rest of the day.  Unfortunately for me, karma is a real bitch.

Last year during my freshman year, I would sometimes go to a lady friend's dorm and when she left for class I'd take a nap in her bed.  One day I heard her coming in and woke up.  I wanted to say hi but there was one problem: I COULDN'T.  It was terrorizing, I couldn't move or say anything, all I could do was look around helplessly.  I started to panic and it felt like I forgot how to breathe.  I literally thought I was dying.  And then it was over.  It had only lasted for maybe 10 seconds, but it felt like forever.  Eventually this started becoming a regular occurrence.  It would happen almost every time I took a nap.  So I decided to do some research.

Sleep paralysis can happen either as you are falling asleep, or as you are waking up.  Basically what happens is that during REM sleep your body relaxes itself and turns your muscles off to prevent you from moving all around in your sleep.  But sometimes, you actually wake up before the REM cycle has finished and your muscles are still "off".  This is what causes the inability to move.  Although scary, sleep paralysis is not considered a dangerous health problem and occurs quite often, especially in younger people.

And if you're wondering, I haven't sleep paralysis in about a year and I'm hoping it never happens again.  However, if any of you are experiencing it one thing I learned to prevent it is to not sleep on your back.  I was always sleeping on my back when it happened to me and have stopped ever since.  So, I'd like to know if any of you have had the pleasure of a sleep paralysis attack.


5 Comments

That may be one of the most interesting things I have read yet. Exploring sleep and studying why humans sleep and why we need sleep is pretty interesting. I had never heard of sleep paralysis but now I will be prepared for if it happens to me. Did any of your research say what causes us to wake up during REM sleep, which is the deepest part of our sleep pattern? I used to get sleep studies done when I was a kid so I learned a lot about it and REM sleep is something we all need, and a little advice drinking alcohol inhibits your ability to get into REM sleep. Incidentally this is why we "black out." Here is an article on why we need sleep.

I once experienced sleep paralysis, so I know exactly how terrifying it is! I remember learning about this in my AP Psych class in high school, and how during REM sleep our body basically shuts down. In that class we talked about how in movies, when a character is having a nightmare, they usually thrash around out of fear, and how that's technically not possible during REM sleep. We then went on to talk about how humans do have night terrors and nightmares, which explains how the thrashing could take place. Nightmares take place during REM sleep, when your body is more or less paralyzed, and night terrors take place during a sleep cycle called NREM, or non-rapid eye movement. Pretty interesting stuff!

on a personal note, I have experienced this many times. One time I remembered I saw some type of demonic figure and it was making a growling noise down my neck and i was paralyzed. this is very scary stuff to experience and I would wish no one would go through this experience. some say this is tied to the supernatural world just like lucid dreaming which is what i wrote on. but this is very well written and well developed

http://www.personal.psu.edu/afr3/blogs/siowfa12/2012/09/control-your-dreams.html


I also have sleep paralysis and it happens pretty often to me. I used to think that I was possessed lol. I later researched and read of other people's stories and it made me feel a whole lot better because I thought I was the only person this happened to. Thanks for telling your story! Because it really isn't a joke!

I also have sleep paralysis and it happens pretty often to me. I used to think that I was possessed lol. I later researched and read of other people's stories and it made me feel a whole lot better because I thought I was the only person this happened to. Thanks for telling your story! Because it really isn't a joke!

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