Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure or a sense of choking.
You can experience it during rapid eye movement sleep. Your body can be paralyzed during sleep by your brain. When it occurs, you are partly woken up. You can’t move your body, but you can see. Sleep paralysis typically lasts between a few seconds and 2-3 minutes.
Approximately eight percent of the population experiences it at some point in life. It’s believed that sleep paralysis is triggered by the rapid eye movement sleep and waking up stages overlapping with each other.
Experts claim that the sleep paralysis is triggered by your brain to be hyper-vigilant, meaning that your body starts sensing a great danger. That’s why it starts going into an emergency response mode.
It has been found that some people are at a higher risk of experiencing sleep paralysis due to their genetic predisposition.Those that have experienced it, describe it as frightening. It’s frightening to wake up and not be able to move your body.
Sleep paralysis is an indicator that your body isn’t moving smoothly through the stages of sleep. As stated above, those that have experienced it describe it as terrifying. Specifically, it feels like you woke up dead. You are aware that your mind is awake and your body isn’t.
You aren’t able to move your body or speak immediately after waking up. You may also feel a weight on your chest, and your hands gripping your limbs. You might also experience hallucinations, including demons, ghosts, and many other strange apparitions.
If you experience sleep paralysis regularly, make sure you get enough sleep, avoid drugs, alcohol and nicotine all night, starting 3 hours before going to bed. You may also want to keep electronic devices out of your bedroom and limit caffeine after 2 PM.
When experiencing sleep paralysis, you should also wiggle your toes and say something out loud in order to wake yourself up.