Feeling Fear and Inability to Move May Point to THIS Scary Disorder
During a regular night of sleep, your brain will typically move through different cycles of sleep, ranging from a very light state of unconsciousness to very deep REM sleep. Though for most people this is a very simple and automatic, others struggle to move through the stages properly and may experience a condition known as Sleep Paralysis. Sleep Paralysis is described as being awake and conscious, but with a complete inability to move your body. The condition may come with a sense of dread and even a feeling of suffocating, though it is not inherently dangerous and is completely harmless when experienced.
Sleep Paralysis can stem from a variety of causes, but ultimately originates in the brain’s inability to properly regulate sleep while the muscles in your body relax themselves and shut off. Though the exact cause for Sleep Paralysis is not known, studies have suggested correlations between Sleep Paralysis and various dissociative disorders, depression, narcolepsy, and even bipolar disorder. As with many psychological disorders, there also seems to be a genetic component of Sleep Paralysis as it is often inherited. Though the cause for Sleep Paralysis may be unclear, the symptoms are well known and effective treatment does exist.
Still Being Awake
The most constant and simple of the symptoms of Sleep Paralysis is a feeling of still being awake, and often even feeling alert. Despite your body feeling as though it has fallen asleep, you may feel as though your brain is wide awake and most definitely not in a dream.
Inability to Move, or “Paralysis”
Another symptom from which the name of the disorder is derived is an inability to move, or feeling as though you are paralyzed. This is caused by the muscles in your body relaxing and recharging as they would during normal sleep, though your brain is still awake to perceive the paralysis.
Ability to Perceive the Room
Because your brain is still awake, more often than not you will still be able to see around the room while you experience Sleep Paralysis. This can often contribute to the intensity of the disorder as it allows you to see around the room while you are unable to move or respond to any form of visual stimulus.
Fear and Unease
Because of your inability to move during Sleep Paralysis, your midbrain will immediately assume that you are in danger or vulnerable to attack by predators. Though your bedroom obviously provides no such danger, your brain makes this assumption and activates an emergency response inside of your body, inducing intense feelings of fear and anxiety much higher than the levels experienced during a regular nightmare. Though this feelings can be extremely intense, it is important to remember that there is no true danger present when experiencing Sleep Paralysis.
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