Sleep paralysis affects more people than you know. Experiencing an episode can be unnerving. Ranging from the inability to move to hallucinations, here are 10 scary things that can happen if you have sleep paralysis.
#1. You’re Unable to Move
As the name implies, this condition literally paralyzes you. Although you try, your body won’t move an inch. This occurs when your body enters REM sleep, which is the stage of sleep where dreams occur. When you notice that you’re unable to move, this is because your body is disconnected from your mind. While your mind is awake, your body is not. Luckily, it’s only temporary and lasts for about a few seconds to minutes.
#2. You Feel Like You’re Unable to Breathe
One of the reasons why this condition is panic-inducing is that along with not being able to move, a lot of people feel short of breath. In some cases, people have reported that it feels like someone is sitting on their chest. If this occurs, remember to keep calm and try to breathe normally. The sensation will pass on its own.
#3. You Experience Hallucinations
In addition to feeling like you’re suffocating and not being able to move, you may experience hallucinations. Some people may hallucinate giant insects while others hallucinate snakes crawling all over their bodies.
#4. It Can be Caused by Stress or Exhaustion
This condition is caused by a lot of things, but the most common causes are sleep deprivation and stress. In most cases, this is due to jet lag. As your body finally gets to sleep, it goes into the REM sleep stage. And the more your body stays in this stage, the more vulnerable you are to this condition.
#5. You See Someone Else in the Room
Another common occurrence some people experience is sensing or seeing an intruder in your house or outside the window. This may occur because your mind goes into fight or flight mode. In turn, you may experience hallucinations of an intruder being in your room.
#6. It Can Occur As You Fall Asleep
A majority of people think this condition is simply waking up in the middle of the night being unable to move. While this is true, there’s another side to this. For some people, especially those who suffer from narcolepsy can experience this condition as they’re falling asleep. In fact, people who have narcolepsy fall into REM sleep as soon as they hit the pillow, which is why they experience it right away.
#7. You May Have an Out-Of-Body Experience
Although it’s uncommon, some people have reported that some hallucinations include an out-of-body experience. In other words, they experience feelings such as floatiness and bliss.
#8. It Can Cause You to Panic
Waking up abruptly without being able to move and feel like you can’t breathe can leave your heart pounding. However, it’s important that you keep yourself calm. Keep in mind that this happens to a lot of other people and it will pass in a matter of seconds.
#9. It Can Occur in a Strange Place
Sleeping in a strange bed can be uncomfortable for anyone, but for people who have this condition, it can cause a manic episode. Your body may become stressed when your mind realizes that you can’t move and you’re in a foreign area. This can cause you to see things that may harm you.
#10. It May be Hard to Snap Out of It
Trying to prevent sleep paralysis can be difficult. Of course, there are people who have said that wiggling one of your toes or trying to scream can help break out of an episode. If something like that works for you, go for it. However, it’s usually best to wait for it to pass