Sleep Paralysis

Sleep Paralysis is feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure or a sense of choking. A frightening form of paralysis that occurs when a person suddenly finds himself or herself unable to move for a few minutes, most often upon falling asleep or waking up. Sleep paralysis is due to an irregularity in passing between the stages of sleep and wakefulness. The symptoms of sleep paralysis include sensations of noises, smells, levitation, paralysis, terror, and images of frightening intruders. Once considered very rare, up to half of all people are now believed to experience sleep paralysis sometime during their life. Sleep paralysis is not considered to be a sign of a serious condition, although it can be frightening. Sleep paralysis occurs as a person is moving into or out of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the deepest part of sleep. During REM sleep, the body is largely disconnected from the brain, effectively leaving the body paralyzed. Sleep paralysis is the result of premature (or persistent) mind-body disconnection as one is about to enter into (or exit from) REM sleep.

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