According to WebMD, “sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious, but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep.”
Sleep paralysis often triggers a feeling of terror as the person going through the phenomenon doesn’t have control over their body. In fact, the most frightening thing is the fact that you remain conscious of everything around you but can’t move any part of your body.
The thing is, while we are falling asleep, the body enters a deep state of relaxation, while the mind becomes less conscious of its surroundings. In hypnagogic sleep paralysis, the mind remains conscious while the body enters an involuntary state of relaxation. It’s then that a person realizes their inability to move in spite of their efforts, which often triggers feelings of panic.
WHO DOES THIS HAPPEN TO?
While some people only experience sleep paralysis once or twice in their lifetime, others go through this phenomenon quite often, sometimes as often as a few times a week. According to a study conducted by Penn State University, nearly 8% of the population experiences recurrent sleep paralysis. The study also found that people with mental disorders, such as anxiety and depression, are more inclined to recurrent episodes of sleep paralysis.
Other risk groups include people suffering from sleep apnea, people on certain medications, as well as those with an underlying sleep condition.
As stated by WebMD, the most common risk factors include:
– Sleep deficiency