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A Terrifying Thing to Wake Up to: Sleep Paralysis

man wakes up from sleep with sleep paralysis scared and confused

Though the actual statistics vary, many people have experienced sleep paralysis at lease once in their life. This is a bizarre scenario, wherein once waking up, he or she cannot speak or move their body whatsoever.

From dreaming to analyzing and committing to memory information we have heard throughout the day, our minds stay active while we sleep. However, our bodies are suspended in a state of paralysis. When we enter REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, which is often associated with dreaming, our bodies release a signal that tells our spinal cord to completely relax our muscles. It is generally thought that this is to keep us from physically acting out our dreams.

However, sometimes there is a miscommunication. When this happens, enter sleep paralysis. In addition to the inability to move, or talk, out-of-body experiences and a general feeling of terror are often reported in conjunction with sleep paralysis.

Last year, researchers found that when nerve receptors metabotropic GABAand ionotropic GABAA/glycine were disabled in rats, sleep paralysis was prevented. John Peever, who was involved in that study, said this about their findings, “Understanding the precise mechanism behind these chemicals’ role in REM sleep disorder is particularly important because about 80 percent of people who have it eventually develop a neurodegenerative disease, such as Parkinson’s disease.”

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