Rough Draft: Sleep Paralysis Condition Have you ever had a nightmare? maybe you think that Chucky, Freddy Krueger or It the Clown were coming to get you, then you begin to get that feeling that someone is in your room while your tucked in bed but you know that all of it is fake and could never truly happen Right?. Well, you would be wrong, imagine it truly come to life and you can see, feel and even hear the nightmare getting closer to you. That would be Sleep Paralysis a condition where you wake up to nothing more than the inability to move your arms, body, and legs.
Which studies made by Web M. D and the American Sleep Foundation (Verywell), have been said that it was caused by bad sleeping habits. You are able to open your eyes but by doing so, you are forcing yourself to watch your nightmare get closer and closer to you. The worst part about sleep paralysis is that you cannot wake yourself up since you are in the middle of REM sleep, your only option is to hold on for as long as you can until it’s all over with. The causes and effects of this condition are known to be because of sleep habits as a whole but it truly is an unknown phenomenon that causes hallucinations to come to life.
There are a few articles explaining the background of why we experience the paralyzing of our entire body and even a few cures to it. The number of articles and stories told about the sleep paralysis hallucinations outnumbers the real causes and effects. According to the Library database Neurological Sciences, Michele Terzaghi states that “Sleep paralyses are viewed as pure motor phenomena featured by a dissociated state in which REM-related muscle atonia coexists with a wakefulness state of full consciousness” With this being the best reason to why we live our nightmares, we are able to break down the cures.
It has been said by the Web MD that the reason why we become conscious in our sleep is most likely because of the way we receive or position ourselves while going to sleep. It is best to gain more sleeping hours, not to lay on your back, and turn off all electronics 30 minutes before heading to bed. This is the best way to avoid this causation. By breaking down the stages of sleep we are able to get a better understanding of how this condition works. There are 4 stages to our sleep the first 3 being related to NREM, and the last one being REM Sleep.
The differences are that Non-Rapid Eye Movement (NREM) sleep is primarily focused on the body and the way it’s trying to relax and sleep while REM or Rapid Eye Movement Sleep is entirely dealing with the head of the human body consisting of the eyes and brain. It is also known as the Active Sleep portion since the head is staying awake and is fully conscious. The reason why sleep paralysis has occurred is because of the disruption of your REM Sleep, basically your brain is active and your eyes are also eacting quickly to your surroundings making it harder for you to fully complete your REM sleep, by the time that your body has already fallen asleep it makes a lot more difficult to wake it back up. The inability of waking your body up is what makes you disabled and the hallucinations occur because technically you are still dreaming if you are in the middle of REM. Stage 1 is the start of your sleeping cycle and it usually known as the light sleep section. Stage 1 can also be considered the process from being in a wakeful state to a restful one. According to the academic journal, Verywell in detail talks about four stages of sleep.
In Stage 1, “the brain produces high amplitude theta waves, which are very slow brain waves. ” (P. 6). This sleep lasts for a brief period of time, being up to 10 minutes. Usually this tends to be the part where if someone were to awaken the person during this stage, they may report that they were not sleeping. During stage 2 it is stated that people become less aware of their surroundings, their body temperature drops and the heart rate and breathing then start to become more regular This is the second stage of sleep and lasts a little longer than 10 minutes but no more than 20.
The brain wave activity begins producing fast rapid rhythmic pulses known as sleep spindles which is what causes you to day dream and get slightly sleepy. This is when the body temperature commences to decrease and the heart rate adjusts and slows down. According to Kendra Cherry, people spend about “50 percent of their total sleep in this stage”. Stage 3 would be where your muscles become relaxed, blood pressure drops, heart rate drops, and this is the deepest sleep that occurs.
The last stage is abrupt but it is the primary stage where most of the condition occurs and is the main reason why you begin to develop sleep paralysis hallucinations. REM sleep occurs when your body has fully became immobilized while your brain is unable to stop itself from being active, and your eye movement becomes rapid, increasing this makes it easy to start hallucinating. The American Sleep Foundation commented “that people spend approximately 20 percent of their total sleep in this stage”, and they also explain how “dreaming occurs due to increased brain activity, but voluntary muscles become immobilized.
All of this helps you think about what if you were to perform these steps voluntarily, would that mean that you would be able to live your dreams on command? The answer to this process would be called Lucid Dreaming. Which in the end is what it feels to control your dream, whether it be to have an ice cream mountain at your fingertips, or becoming your favorite animal. This process is very possible but the chances of it going the way you want it most likely won’t happen and could lead to sleep paralysis, while they may seem similar they are quiet opposite.
It is difficult to master and can end up being a lucid nightmare, its best to prepare yourself with good thoughts and hope for the best. The possibilities of lucid dreaming are endless and can be enjoyable. Best part is that you won’t re-live a nightmare ever again if you were to get the hang of it. Personally I wouldn’t recommend lucid dreaming because the stakes are too high and living your worst nightmare can end up scarring you, altering your life in a way or even give you psychological problems. (it just depends on how the dreamer perceives the “dream”)
Another helpful source written by Shelley R. Adler, Sleep Paralysis: Night-mares, Nocebo’s, and the Mind-body Connection talks about cross cultural patterns, trans historical bestiary, beliefs that harm, and a sleep lab analyst. This all is helpful to making connections and learning more about how it came to be and to why we may have this phenomena. It is important to realize that this isnt just affecting a small portion of us and it isn’t due for a specific reason but Adler states that “6 to 40 percent of healthy adults having experienced at least once this episode of sleep paralysis ” (Pg. 74)this was only the study of “healthy adults” not the general population.
While many articles have had different research the range can really range from 5-65 percent of people can be affected regardless of their age, gender or ethnicity. Shelley Adler as previously mentioned explained how the way we sleep is completely different for each human being and their isn’t a “natural” (biological) way of doing so but also that our scientific understanding is limited and our investigating can only go so far. This as a whole means that we will never find out the true reason why most of hallucinate similarly.
This is all controversial and some research was done by Web M. D that this condition may occur due to “deep underlying psychiatric problems. In the end we can conclude that we may never know the true essence of why our hallucinations come to life. The best way to avoid your nightmare from coming to life is by getting more sleep and healthier habits to keep your body and brain in the same track. If all fails, at least now you’ll be more prepared for the that slight chance that if you do feel that your body is becoming paralyzed while you’re fully conscious, attempt to move your fingers or feet to wake up before you have to endure such a terrifying experience.