Hey, stress could have sleep paralysis coming your way…

Imagine waking up from your sleep and feeling paralyzed. You can’t move your hands, feet, or arms but you can see. Then from the corner of your eyes, you can see and feel a dark presence approaching you. Slowly the dark presence is getting closer and closer and prepares to get on top of you to choke you. You try to call out for help and nothing… No one can hear your cries for help. Eerie right? Well this was my experience about 2 months ago.

I was highly stressed and my sleep pattern was way off. To top it all off, this was not the first time that I have felt paralyzed when waking up from my sleep. However, this last experience felt so real and frightening that I decided to do a little research. After digging around, I came across a phenomenon called sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis can be characterized by an inability to move that is often accompanied by a sense of fear when people do not smoothly transition into or out of deep sleep. Thus, you have a sense of being conscious but because you are still in a state of sleep, you cannot move. Although sleep paralysis is not life threatening, many people have experienced this phenomenon either once or several times in their life. After making a few calls to my family, I found out that I was not the only one to experience sleep paralysis. When I spoke to my aunt, she informed me that the hag was riding me. Several folklores refer to a hag (i.e., witch or evil spirit) that sits on your chest and haunts you in the night. Interestingly, some have suggested that people who say that they have experienced alien abduction are actually in a state of sleep paralysis—they have intense fear of an unknown presence and may even feel like they are levitating! Whether you believe in the hag, sleep paralysis, or even alien abduction, one thing is clear—getting a good night’s sleep (approx. 6-8 hours) is essential to daily functioning. Try to relax before bed by not thinking about the next day’s tasks. If you are prone to thinking about random things that can cause anxiety before bed, grab a pen and pad and write your thoughts down. I also found that a cup of tea is helpful with relaxation before bed.

I am really interested in the sleep paralysis phenomenon and would be curious if others would share their experiences.

Sleep tight Dynamos!

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