Sleep Paralysis: Mystical or Medical Phenomenon?

Topics: Sleep, Circadian rhythm, Sleep paralysis Pages: 2 (567 words) Published: April 26, 2013
Sleep Paralysis: Mystical or Medical Phenomenon?

Do you believe in ghost? What happen when they disturb your sleep? Sleep paralysis is one of sleep disorder. It is a condition when a person is awaken from sleep but cannot move nor speak, and commonly experiences a sense of threatening presence. Sleep paralysis suddenly comes to a person’s sleep and gives a bunch of feelings such as scariness, anxiety and panic. The sufferer also experiences a pressure on the body or chest, rapid heart rate, and occasionally shortness of breath. It seems like the ghost does it by sitting or choking the sufferer, covering the mouth, and tying the body with the rope. Although people believe that sleep paralysis occurs because of the ghost, actually it has medical reasons such as irregular sleep cycle, sleeping in supine position, and the brain activity. During sleep, paralysis occurs because of the irregular sleep cycle. Normally, people follow the sleep cycle properly. Sleep cycle consists of five stages. Stage one is in charge of light sleep. Stage two, three, and four are in charge of deeper sleep. Last, stage REM is in charge of deepest sleep. After following those stages, people go back to stage one to wake up. But in the sufferer’s condition, transition from stage REM to the stage one is not fully completed. So he or she is a half in stage REM and a half in stage 1 that means a half in the deepest sleep and a half in the light sleep. The state in the deepest sleep means the body is not awakened yet so that is why the sufferer cannot move nor speak. Otherwise, in the light sleep, the brain is already awakened so that is why the sufferer can see or think. Sleeping in supine position may cause rapid heart rate during sleep paralysis. During stage REM, sleeping in supine position causes the atonic muscle of tongue and esophagus collapse the airway. It causes difficulty of breathing and creates sensation of pressure or feeling of being choked. They lead to panic and desperate...
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