If you’ve had that dream where you’re falling and just before you smack into the pavement you wake up with cold sweats, consider yourself lucky. Why? Because you don’t have sleep paralysis, which is basically the worst thing ever.
Also: How To Sleep Better
Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon characterized by being conscious as if you’re awake yet feeling paralyzed like you’re still asleep. So, it’s like when Freddy Krueger comes after you and you’re sleeping, but you swear it’s real because it kind of is. Many people describe it as being unable to move or speak although they can observe their surroundings. Some individuals experience a momentary sense of choking or perceive a weight on their chests.
What happens to you/your body during sleep paralysis?
Medical experts say that sleep paralysis is merely the outward symptom of the body improperly transitioning through the normal stages of sleep. With predormital, or hypnagogic paralysis, people may experience an inability to move as they’re falling asleep; postdormital, or hypnopompic sleep paralysis, occurs when the mind regains awareness before the body’s muscles wake up.
How common is it?
Sleep paralysis is well-documented, with accounts dating back centuries. It may be more common in individuals who experience sleep disorders, like narcolepsy, or mental disorders, like bipolar disorder. Certain medications, drug abuse and poor sleep schedules may also contribute.
How is it diagnosed/cured/treated?
The majority of people treat sleep paralysis on their own by improving their sleeping habits, trying new sleeping positions or simply dealing with contributing mental health issues. Doctors can diagnose the disorder by gathering information about your sleeping habits or performing overnight sleeping studies.
This movie can tell you more about how awful sleep paralysis is: The Nightmare ($5 @ Amazon.com).