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A temporary inability to move or speak while falling asleep or upon waking is sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is a transitional dissociative state which affects approximately 28.3% of the student population at least once in their life.

Today I have brought to you an interview of a friend who I know suffers from sleep paralysis. This is how it went:

  • How would you describe it to a person about it?

You sense a supernatural presence in the space; "it feels like a rock is placed on your chest." You begin to perspire, have trouble breathing, and you almost feel as though you are in a coma.

  • Do you regularly have this experience?

No, I typically experience it when I am really exhausted, or sleep deprived.

  • Describe one of your most recent experiences.

I recall that throughout my most recent episode, all I wanted to do was sleep. Later that night, when I woke up, I could already feel my body going numb and that I was unable to move or breathe normally. In the corner of the room, I catch sight of a dark figure staring at me. Since I have had this condition since I was 13 and it typically takes me up to a minute to move my muscles and get out of bed, I am now aware that it is simply my brain hallucinating.

  • Have you ever discussed it with someone?

No, even when it first happened, I knew my parents would not believe me and that they would have taken me to our church because of our strong religious beliefs .Only a select few people are aware of this now.

Understanding of sleep paralysis

My next step was to determine whether students encounter this more frequently.

I conducted a small survey with 17 students who actively participated. The majority of them sleep for more than five hours per night, and six of them have experienced or know someone who has been induced with sleep paralysis.

All six have experienced comparable symptoms, such as numbness, a shadowy figure, and shortness of breath.

Even though this is quite natural, for some people it can be frightening, therefore when I performed this study, I realized how little this is discussed among students.

It's even more shocking that this applies to students who are only in their 20s.

A typical REM sleep phase includes periods of sleep paralysis. When it happens outside of REM sleep, it is seen as a disorder.

Why can’t we move during sleep paralysis?

You're likely to dream when in the rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep. To keep you from acting out dreams and hurting yourself, the brain stops the muscles in your limbs from contracting. When you come into or leave REM, you may experience sleep paralysis.

Why do we see a shadowy figure?

If you are partially awake during the rapid eye movement (REM) period of sleep, these hallucinations may occur. Being simultaneously awake and dreaming creates the ideal conditions for perceiving things that are not actually there. For instance, a person watching you sleep could appear from a pile of clothing on a chair.

Will sleep paralysis recur if I have already experienced one episode?

If you frequently experience it, be sure to maintain a regular sleep pattern, unwind, and try to talk to someone about it. You may experience it again under conditions of extreme stress or sleep deprivation.

In conclusion, because we confront stress, deadlines, and pressure every day as students, we often neglect to care for ourselves. Here are some recommendations to avoid sleep paralysis.

  • Taking a bath or listening to calming music to relax before bed.

  • Regular exercise is advised, but not right before bed.

  • Keep a consistent sleeping routine.

  • Keep a record of the drugs you use for any conditions.

  • To prevent side effects like sleep paralysis, be aware of the interactions and adverse effects of the various medications you take.

  • Avoid sleeping on your back and instead to sleep on your side

  • Yoga and breathing techniques can help you regain control over your body.

  • Putting computers, e-readers, phones, and tablets away before going to bed.


This was today's blog. Today's blog is written by one of our members Rachel Manoj. TO see your own Blog get published, head on over to our website where you can submit your articles.





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