Sleep paralysis – what does it mean? Are we paralyzed while we are asleep? Is it some kind of illness or is just a normal state of our organism?
Too much questions are messed with this state, but no one knows the most real and true explanation of this phenomenon.
We are aware that while we are asleep our body is relaxed. But not completely! Because our organs are still working unwillingly, but with slower speed. Our brain functions too and allows flow of thoughts through our head. When we wake up we often recall what we were dreaming or what were we thinking about during our sleeping. That thoughts sometimes are result of some survived trauma or event, it can be effect of the developments during the previous day or it can be provoked from our wish or need, something unrealized – but still desired… Our vital functions are active, the heart is beating, we are breathing, but we don’t make some mechanical movements.
Often our physical state, the people around us or the grade of satisfaction have fluency on what we will dream this night. The fatigue and the feelings represent very important factors too.
Our mind is awake, but our body is not. We can feel more annoyed than having a nightmare.
Sleep paralysis indicates a state in which your body is not movable while sleeping. Some scientist link this state with psychiatric problems but also, there are people who believe that while we are sleeping there are some demons around us, they have total control over our body and they don’t let us to move, they suffocate us. These beliefs are present in many different cultures and are interpreted in different ways. This appears in the period when we are moving from the stage of sleeping to the stage of waking up, we are half-awake but we are not able to move or speak. Our brain makes efforts to make us rest but there is higher power, stronger than us that keeps us in half alerted condition. This phenomenon can appear in the period when we fall into a dream or before waking up.
While we are paralyzed we are in a state that is called Antoni – it is a state when we can’t act or move according to the dream that we are having at the moment, that can protect us from injuring by making movements. In this period you can hallucinate too. Some people are making an effort to wake up by moving their fingers, but it doesn’t work.
This can happen to anybody, young or old, man or woman, but the chances are bigger with people that have some mental disorders or suffer from insomnia. Sometimes people face their biggest fears in their dreams and that can cause sleep paralysis.
If we are half awake we can notice that we can see or hear, but we don’t have enough power to react, that can be one of the stadiums of sleep paralysis or way in which sleep paralysis can be manifested. While we are asleep there are two stages through which we move, NREM and REM.
In the first stage, we sleeping and our body is completely relaxed, but the crossing to the second stage denotes inhibition of our muscles, we are unable to make a movement, but we are still awake and we can feel, in that moment our thoughts are active, in this stage we can have a dream which will be a result of our mental state or some wishes and needs. Sometimes the content of our dreams is connected with some future events stress and euphoria about that event, we are nervous, excited etc.
Sleep paralysis can be caused from stress, mental disorders, not enough rest, changed sleep schedule, usage of medicament, unfavorable condition of the body, care of conscience or guilt.
As a consequence of this state may appear: anxiety, lack of energy, distraction, difficulties with falling asleep at night, thoughts about the previous dream, in some way you are obsessed with that problem and it can lead to some kind of insanity if it happens very often in a given period.
The fear, anxiety and the panic won’t bring anything good to you. They will make the situation worse.
In cases like this the best thing is to consult your doctor and describe him this state, to talk about your feelings and to tell him about previous problems. Beside the help of your doctor, you can help to yourself too by controlling this state, defeat your fear and anxiety, lower the level of stress and try to rest enough to be able to function normally.
Maybe we can’t destroy this phenomenon completely, but at least we can make an effort to prevent them. Everything is in your mind. Wake up relaxed, rested and without stress.