Things to know about Sleep Paralysis By: adrianna

Sleep Paralysis(SP) is a temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking. SP is a symptom of narcolepsy, a condition characterized by an extreme tendency to fall asleep whenever in relaxing surroundings. The vast majority of SP episodes or experiences are unrelated to narcolepsy, and common non-narcolepsy associated SP is referred to as “isolated” SP. Hearing footsteps, experiencing levitation and autoscopy, and seeing, hearing, and sensing the presence is associated with SP. Other things associated with SP are shortness of breath, Rapid breathing, seeing of shadow-like figures, hallucinations, and even out-of-body experiences.

During an episode of SP you may feel like there is an intruder. People also feel held down. One woman said, “I felt as if I was awake but still dreaming. It was dark, I could see nothing but the little sliver of light under my door. I heard whistles as if someone were trying to whisper. I tried to get out of bed but my body felt unmovable. I could not move. I felt like I was being held down by someone or something. My body felt extremely heavy. I felt I were asleep only I could hear things outside of my head. I tried to speak but no words came out. I closed my eye after hearing footsteps. I held my eyes shut as hard and tight as I could. Next thing I know, I was waking up drenched in sweat but everything else was normal.”

Researchers often refer to SP as “Dreaming with one's eyes open.” SP is not a disease. It’s something anyone can get. It can be caused by many things. Some experiences are worse than others. You have to be careful with these more extreme experiences. Someone could feel as if they are going to be injured or even killed while another person could only hear a few voices and footsteps. Most SP experiences are scary and you won’t forget them. Some doctors and researchers say that SP is associated with the Pandafeche attack.

While SP is often a symptom of another sleep disorder. Several factors have been identified that are associated with an increased risk of SP. Which include insomnia and sleep deprivation, stress, overuse of stimulants, physical fatigue and medications used to treat ADHD. Schizophrenia can also be caused by SP. More about Schizophrenia below.

Schizophrenia is a long-term mental disorder of a type involving a breakdown in the relation between thought, emotion, and behavior. Which leads to faulty perception, inappropriate actions and feelings, withdrawal from reality and personal relationships into fantasy and delusion, and a sense of mental fragmentation. REM sleep is rapid eye movement while sleeping. Accordingly, the persistence of impaired activity proper of REM sleep in the prefrontal and parietal cortical circuits necessary for self-reflective awareness and insight, in conflict with wakefulness-related activation of the remaining brain areas, could account for disrupted processing of afferent inputs in our patient, representing the underlying pathophysiologic substrate for the patient’s failure to establish the boundaries between real experience and dream mentation. Pure motor phenomena featured by a dissociated state in which REM- related muscle atonia coexists with a wakefulness state of full consciousness.

Jalal, Baland, et al. "Cultural Explanations Of Sleep Paralysis In Italy: The Pandafeche Attack And Associated Supernatural Beliefs." Culture, Medicine & Psychiatry 39.4 (2015): 651-664. Academic Search Premier. Web. 9 Jan. 2017.

"Sleep Paralysis." Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia (2016): 1p. 1. Funk & Wagnalls New World Encyclopedia. Web. 10 Jan. 2017.

Terzaghi, Michele, et al. "Sleep Paralysis In Narcolepsy: More Than Just A Motor Dissociative Phenomenon?." Neurological Sciences 33.1 (2012): 169-172. Academic Search Premier. Web. 11 Jan. 2017.

Credits:

Created with images by Katie Tegtmeyer - "If you are never scared, embarrassed or hurt, it means you never take chances" • Adriano Agulló - "untitled image" • Patrick Denker - "prd brain scan"

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