Intro: How many of you have ever woken up unable to move? You were afraid but unable to say anything or even call for help. You’re left feeling paralyzed and seeing and hearing things that appear real, but in reality those things aren’t even there. Every night you lay in bed dreading about whether it’s going to happen to you again. If any of you have experienced situations such as the ones I have described you may suffer from a condition called isolated sleep paralysis (ISP). In this presentation I will discuss what sleep paralysis is, how you get sleep paralysis, and how you cope with sleep paralysis. Main Point 1: What is sleep paralysis? ISP is a transition state between wakefulness and rest that is characterized by muscle weakness. This condition is thought to be a result of disrupted rapid eye movement (REM) that occurs during the dream stage of sleep. During REM sleep complete muscle paralysis sets in. Our body basically paralyzes itself when we are in REM sleep so that we don’t ‘act’ out our dreams. The disruption between wakefulness and rest that causes sleep paralysis can occur when falling asleep and waking from sleep. Many people who suffer from sleep paralysis experience visual and auditory hallucinations such as the sensation of being touched and dragged, hearing voices or other noises in the room, and even seeing the faces of people at the bedside. Most people have reported that they feel the sense of an evil presence in the room when having these hallucinations. Main Point 2: How do you get sleep paralysis? Sleep paralysis is usually thought to be associated with another sleeping disorder. However, in most cases the condition runs in families and is triggered by certain lifestyle choices: lack of sleep, a changing sleep schedule, mental illness, the use of certain medications, substance abuse. Around forty percent of all people will experience sleep paralysis at least once in their lifetime and twenty-eight percent...
References: Association for Psychological Science (2013, March 4). What predicts distress after episodes of sleep paralysis?. ScienceDaily. Retrieved
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