Have you ever had the experience of feeling like you can’t move during a dream? Or, that you can’t speak even though you feel you are awake?
This can be a frightening experience for some and can be compounded as some people may also feel they are choking or even having some hallucinations. There’s good news…
The good news is that such experiences are not uncommon and it is scientifically proven that ‘sleep paralysis’ can happen whilst you are in the process of falling asleep or waking up.
How it happens in your sleep cycle…
As you fall asleep, your body slowly relaxes and becomes less responsive to physical signals from your brain.
During sleep paralysis, your body begins to go through the relaxation process, but your mind is awake enough to notice that it is no longer controlling your ability to move or speak.
Sleep paralysis can also occur when you are in the process of waking up.
In this case, your mind regains consciousness before your REM (rapid eye movement) sleep cycle is finished.
During REM sleep, your body is relaxed and your muscles are “turned off” so that you don’t physically act out your vivid dreams. Waking up before the last stage of the REM sleep cycle is complete can cause you to hyperventilate and hallucinate, as well as make it seem as though you are unable to move your body.
Fortunately, sleep paralysis is temporary and typically lasts just a few seconds.
Most people may experience sleep paralysis just once or twice in their lifetime, while others may experience it a few times a month or more regularly.