Imagine waking up in the middle of the night and unable to move a finger. There is darkness all around, but there is someone nearby – you can feel it on your skin, but you cannot even scream. This can happen tonight, but what if there is no strength even for the slightest resistance?
This frightening phenomenon is called sleep paralysis. According to statistics, it occurs in 40 percent of people. In the past, such states were attributed to the actions of otherworldly forces and it is not at all surprising, because the sensations during sleep paralysis are difficult to recreate and convey in words. Waking up completely immobilized is very scary, but absolutely safe for health.
Sleep paralysis is a frightening sensation of lack of control over the body, which occurs either immediately after waking up or before falling asleep. In this state, it is impossible to move and even speak, while there may be a feeling of the presence of extraneous entities in your room. Simply put, sleep paralysis is one of the most terrifying experiences we can have in life.
It is estimated that between 20% and 60% of people have experienced sleep paralysis. Studies have been conducted according to which 21% of people have experienced it at least once, but only 4% – five times or more often.
Scientists have recently begun to investigate the causes of sleep paralysis. Special science – somnology – explains them by an imbalance between the work of the brain and the muscles of the body. During deep sleep, muscle tone is very low. That is why, if a sudden awakening occurs in the phase of deep sleep, the muscles simply do not keep up with their master and are in a state of inability to do anything for a couple of minutes. It is at such moments that you can feel completely paralyzed. The biological meaning of paralysis is to prevent sudden movements so that the sleeper does not wake up from his own movements.
In Basque mythology, a special character is responsible for sleep paralysis – Inguma. He sneaks into houses at night and squeezes the sleeper’s throat.
The state of sleep paralysis is accompanied by a feeling of complete immobility. This is complemented by a state of panic horror, suffocation, and the presence of an outsider in the room.
Sleep deprivation, stress, and sleep disturbance are thought to be factors that increase the likelihood of sleep paralysis.
How to fight?
Don’t fight: Don’t try your best to move if your body is completely immobilized. This can only increase the feeling of pressure on the whole body and cause many negative emotions.
Relax: Instead of panicky attempts to do something, you just need to relax and wait for what happens next. Then you will either fall asleep or finally wake up and the horror will seem like nothing more than a night vision. It is worth reading this article before bedtime, and if the paralysis suddenly seizes, you should immediately remember that physiology works here and nothing terrible happens.
Focus on the soles of your feet: The toes are the most distant part of the body from the brain. If you try your best to move them, then the nervous system will quickly come to tone and at the same time wake up the rest of the body.
Make a fist: The same scheme works here as with the toes. The signal to clench the fingers into a fist will pass throughout the body, bringing the muscles into tone, thereby relieving the feeling of complete paralysis.