By Joy Chinecherem
You wake up and feel this ominous presence in the room, you try to move your body but for some reasons, your limbs and muscles refuse to respond. Covered in sweat, you feel these invisible hands on your neck and chest region, you struggle to shout but the sound gets stuck in your throat. You lay in bed, helpless, the only thing that comes to your mind, village people don finally get me.
What in the sweet world is happening? Is it a spiritual attack? Shey na village people? Am I d**d? Is my system shutting down?
All these questions play through your human mind, then you run off seeking answers because this experience can’t be anything but paranormal. Before you rush off with your bag to that prayer ministry or prophet to flog your enemies, Pause, It could be Sleep Paralysis
What Is Sleep Paralysis?
Simply put, sleep paralysis is the state where your mind is wide awake while your body is fast asleep. It usually occurs between the time while you are about falling asleep or right when you’re waking up, it’s more common with people who suffer from narcolepsy or sleep apnoea. Healthy people can otherwise experience it or it can be triggered by sleep deprivation, psychological stress, or an abnormal sleeping cycle.
In this state that your body is still asleep, your mind can sometimes go into hallucinations or dreaming state explains why some people report seeing shadowy figures or mythological creatures lurking around or on top of them.
For scientific correctness, Sleep Paralysis is a type of sleeping disorder(Parasomnia) resulting from dysfunctional overlap of the REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and waking stages of sleep. Sleep paralysis episodes usually last less than five minutes but can stretch for eternity in your head.
Over the years, researchers and doctors have made significant progress in unraveling the myth behind sleep paralysis, make village people rest at least. Despite the progress, sleep paralysis is not some bacteria that can be found in the water or growing somewhere so pinpointing a particular cause is a bit tasking. Here are some of the reason that can be linked with it:
- Sleep disorder like Narcolepsy, sleep apnoea, Insomnia can trigger it
- Post-traumatic disorder
- General anxiety disorder
- Panic disorder
- Major depression
- Bipolar disorder
- Genetic Influence
- Psychological stress
- Poor sleeping hygiene
There is no defined way to diagnose sleep paralysis rather the patient’s account of their sleeping patterns or in severe cases, a sleep study is conducted to track the brain waves or breathing.
How To Manage Sleep Paralysis
Sleep Paralysis usually is not a cause for panic, it is quite harmless and has no after effect. However, the episodes can be unsettling.
Sleeping paralysis that occurs in isolation doesn’t require treatment but patients who have a history of other sleeping disorders like narcolepsy, sleep apnoea should consult a doctor.
There other ways to prevent/manage Sleep paralysis:
- Avoid smoking close to bedtime
- Regular exercise
- Keeping track of drugs you take and their interaction with each other
- Reduce stress
- Avoid sleeping on your back
- sticking to a particular sleep pattern
Even though science has tagged a fancy name to it, there are still so many parts of the puzzle yet to be solved. Little wonder some people are still stuck with their belief of spiritual attack across the world, perhaps sleep paralysis is not just anything science can explain, maybe it has something to do with the paranormal.