What is sleep paralysis?

Have you ever seen a dream thatIt happens as if in reality - you are lying on the bed unable to move, and something terrible is happening around: a monster gets into your window or sits on your chest altogether, trying to tear you apart. Or you see that someone sinister in the room is watching you, sneaking closer and closer. In this case, you can not influence what is happening, since your arms and legs do not obey you. You cannot do anything, not even scream. If something like this happened to you or your loved ones, remember that you don’t need to be afraid and run for help to psychics - this condition is called sleep paralysis and is described in detail by specialists.

During sleep paralysis, it may seem to a person that he was abducted by aliens

What are sleep disorders?

We have repeatedly written about the benefits of healthy sleep. However, regardless of whether you get enough sleep every day or not, there are sleep disorders that can seriously darken your life. So, one man dreamed that he was playing football. At the crucial moment of the game, the man shouted “now I will score a goal!”, Grabbed his wife sleeping next to him and tried to throw a “ball” at the foot of the bed. There are also cases when people committed crimes in a dream - one man strangled his wife because he dreamed that two armed soldiers were chasing him.

Nightmares, according to scientists, even dreamto animals. If you have pets, then you probably noticed that cats and dogs in their sleep can make quick movements of their paws. You may even have seen a video in which a dog peacefully sleeping on its side suddenly starts jerking its paws and grins. Then the animal suddenly jumps up and crashes into a wall in a big way.

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But how to explain this behavior of animals and people? Such sleep problems have nothing to do, for example with apnea - holding your breath in a dream and even restless legs syndrome - this is a condition in which a person experiences unpleasant sensations in the lower extremities that cause him to move his legs intensively to relieve tension. To understand what might cause such strange behavior in a dream, you need to look at a condition known as sleep paralysis.

Nightmare Monsters

In every culture, there are stories about demons,who attack peacefully sleeping people. In fact, this is not surprising. The biologist Alexander Panchin in his book “Protection from the Dark Arts”, devoted to the explanations of a variety of paranormal phenomena, describes the conditions that our ancestors could explain exclusively by the intervention of evil spirits. But we all know that demons and spirits have nothing to do with it.

In the photo, biologist and popularizer of science Alexander Panchin, author of the book “Protection from the Dark Arts” - we strongly recommend reading

In fact, a condition known as sleepyparalysis is a surprisingly common sleep disorder that occurs between sleep and wakefulness, either immediately before bedtime, or right during waking up: a person suddenly wakes up, fully conscious of himself and what is happening around him, while remaining physically paralyzed. Despite the fact that a person can open his eyes, make a sound or move one of the limbs is impossible. It is not surprising that such a state causes intense fear. At the same time, being in a state of uncertainty between sleep and wakefulness, a person suffers from auditory and visual hallucinations, which usually coincide with a sense of presence and movement around the body.

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However terrible sleepy paralysis may seem,its reasons are fairly easy to explain - this disorder is associated with a disturbance in the REM phase, during which we dream - the so-called REM (from English rapid eye movements - rapid eye movement). During the REM phase, the brain blocks the movement of most muscles so that we do not get up during sleep and get injured. Thus, during this phase of sleep, sleepy paralysis may appear - muscle movement is blocked, while the person is no longer sleeping.

Sleepy paralysis occurs in healthy people,who are subject to severe stress, are very tired, change their time zone and reach the deep phase of sleep too quickly (up to the first two hours). Sleepy paralysis also overtakes lovers to sleep on their backs. You can get rid of sleep paralysis by resting properly. Also, people with anxiety disorder, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder are prone to this condition.

Why is sleep paralysis not dangerous?

According to scientists, during terrible visions,accompanying sleep paralysis, there is no risk to life, since none of what we see and hear is real. In addition, paralysis disappears within a few minutes. After complete awakening, experts advise to get up and move, otherwise there is a likelihood of a recurrence of this unpleasant state. Thus, the terrible tales of night stranglers and brownies that sit on their chest, supposedly intending to warn the sleeping person about something, are caused by a REM failure due to excessive fatigue. So if you suddenly overtaken sleepy paralysis, feel free to take the day off, and better go on vacation.

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But how, then, to explain the strange behavior in sleep of people and animals, described at the beginning of the article?

Scientists believe that physical activity inREM phase times can cause neurological damage. In cases when people in a dream hurt themselves and others, like the man who played his wife’s head with football, experts found damage to the brain stem in the area of ​​the Varoliev bridge - this is the brain department responsible for sensory, motor and reflex functions. At the same time, experts note that such a state must be distinguished from sleepwalking - a state in which a person walks in a dream. The fact is that sleepwalking has nothing to do with the REM phase and is expressed in unconscious movements during the slow sleep phase. According to experts, sleepwalking affects 6-7% of children, but sleepwalking passes with age.

It is not surprising that our ancestors told terrible stories about monsters and demons that come in a dream

So the next time you hear a story about demons and monsters that come to someone’s bed at night, remember this article and be not afraid of anything.