You wake up in the middle of the night... panting, sweating, and there it is: a threatening presence that you first feel. You realize a scary presence, pinning you down, paralysing you with fear, and yet you are unable to move.
No, this is not the work of your neighbourhood Pontianak, but a rather more common entity: the famously called Sleep Paralysis Demon.
Between 8 to 50% of people have experienced Sleep Paralysis in their life.
The origins of sleep paralysis demons are explained differently in many cultures. For some, it might be a formless entity that is attempting to suffocate them. Others describe it as a spooky, deformed old woman or an extra-terrestrial being. Most commonly, they resemble a deceased family member. Whatever it may be, we can safely say it is not a fun thing to experience.
Are these Sleep Paralysis Entities and Demons Real?
Thankfully, no. They are a hypnopompic hallucination, also known as the incubus phenomena... a fear-inducing vision of a demon, witch, ghost, beast, or other menacing figure.
However, additional investigation is required to pinpoint the precise neural process behind these scary hallucinations. If you are partially awake during the rapid eye movement (REM) period of sleep, these hallucinations are more likely to occur. Being simultaneously awake and dreaming creates the ideal conditions for perceiving things that are not actually there.
Sleep Paralysis is more prevalent in children and young sleepers.
However, the cause of sleep paralysis is often debated. A few deciding factors are:
- Stress & Anxiety
- Sleep deprivation
- post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- jet lag
There is currently no specific method to expel the hallucinations or a direct cure for sleep paralysis. Instead, therapies concentrate on underlying reasons.
- Reduce REM Sleep Interruptions
- Prevent Sleep Debt
- Consult mental health professional (trauma recovery, stress & anxiety, severe sleep paralysis symptoms)
Although some people either seldom or never experience it, sleep paralysis is a rather common and completely natural sensation. Even though the symptoms associated with sleep paralysis might be terrifying, unsettling, and even dangerous, you should recognise them for what they are.
A continuation of the dream you were already having. Less frightening, once the moment passes.
Therefore, a crucial component of controlling sleep paralysis is knowledge. Hopefully the next time you have an experience, it's a sign to get more rest instead of visiting your local shaman!
- Sleep Paralysis is a common occurence, nothing to be afraid of!
- As you get older, you are less likely to experience it.
- There real reason for Sleep Paralysis is yet to be discovered.
- Proper sleep habits is recommended as the most effective remedy.
21 November 2022