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What is sleep paralysis and it's causes?

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DreamAddict
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What is sleep paralysis and it's causes?
PostPosted: Thu 19 Jun, 2003  Reply with quote

This is an article that was posted in our local newspaper.

Quote:
"Ask Dr. H"
By Dr. Mitchell Hecht
Knight Ridder/Tribune News Service

Q: Since early childhood, I have suffered from sleep paralysis. My father suffered from it, as well as my brothers. There have been many times when I thought that I'd never awaken from it. Please tell me what causes it and what I can do to prevent it from happening. - C.P, Huntsville, Ala.

A: For folks unfamiliar with your frightening affliction, allow me to describe it: When you awaken from sleep, your body is temporarily frozen. For, on average, a period of 15 seconds to a minute, you're paralyzed. You can't move or speak, and there's often a feeling of suffocation. There may be a period of hallucinations where dreaming and consciousness overlap. It ususally happens upon awakening, but can also happen when you're falling asleep.

What causes it? In the normal state, we fall asleep and dream in the REM(Rapid Eye Movement) stage of sleep. During REM sleep, and only during REM sleep, we're paralyzed except for our eyes and our breathing. This is a protective mechanism to keep us from acting out our dreams and hurting ourselves (or our sleep partner). Can you imagine having those dreams of flying or running and not being paralyzed? Normally, when we awaken, the sleep paralysis shuts off immediately. In folks like your father, your brothers and you, there's a lag phase in restoring voluntary muscle function. Why this happens is a complete mystery of the brain. It's very frightening, like something out of a Stephen King horror novel. Some folks also experience hallucinations and a sensation like a vampire, demon, extraterrestrial creature or beast is sitting on their chest and smothering them. Scary? You bet. Dangerous? No way. By the way, it sometimes does run in families. Often, a sound or a touch on the body will typically end the paralysis.

What can be done to prevent it? The first thing I'd suggest is to avoid sleeping on your back. That really seems to help. Since sleep paralysis seems to occur in folks who are overworked, under too much stress or who have insomnia, try to work on good sleep preparation. What I mean by that are nighttime relaxation techniques like massage, meditation, hot baths/saunas and avoidance of evening caffeine and alcohol. the short-term use of a sleeping pill helps. If you're still having difficulty, I'd advise seeing a specialist at a sleep disorders clinic.

Dr. Mitchell Hecht is a physician specializing in internal medicine. Send questions to him at: "Ask Dr. H," P.O. Box 767787, Atlanta GA 30076. Due to the large volume of mail received, personal replies are not possible.


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mindexplorer
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PostPosted: Thu 19 Jun, 2003  Reply with quote

intresting, but they only say how to prevent it, not how to "induce" it! smile
cause i dont think i ever have experienced it, and i want to! so how do i do it!? hehe


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DreamAddict
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PostPosted: Thu 19 Jun, 2003  Reply with quote

Well, do the opposite. Work a lot, stay stressed, drink caffeine and alcohol before bed, and sleep on your back. grin

Joking of course! wink

I've never experienced SP until recently. I had a very short and small experience where I couldn't move my hand. When I woke up, I noticed my hand was not where I perceived it was. It was funny. smile




Last edited by DreamAddict on Thu 19 Jun, 2003; edited 1 time in total
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mindexplorer
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PostPosted: Thu 19 Jun, 2003  Reply with quote

but thats what i already do!! grin

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tapir
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PostPosted: Thu 17 Jul, 2003  Reply with quote

Hi
Yesterday I talked to my brother about LDing, and also about SP.He is very interested in biology, and so he started to wonder how sleep paralysis actually works.
I also told him about a method LaBerge used to prove LDing.Not the one with the eye movements, but another one in which currents to the arm muscles were measured.This way, the dreamer send signals to the outside, making his dreamheand to a fist and relaxing it.

If I got LaBergeīs method right, thatīd mean that the impulses arenīt stopped in the brain, but at your muscles.
My brothers idea was that your body produces acetylcholine inhibitors.Acetylcholine seems to be the hormone that makes your muscles move.

So, anybody knows how SP actually works?

Traumgšnger


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Dream Monster
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PostPosted: Tue 29 Jul, 2003  Reply with quote

My sleep paralysis started after i got an internet broadband connection and a computer and a coffeine addiction. So far it seems they are right.

But i would say the best way of inducing it for me is to stay sleeping for as long as i can in the "morning" (early afternoon) - and do it on my back. It's not something i would recommend though. You're better off without it.


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indypunk88
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PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2003  Reply with quote

ive had sleep paralysis when i was just laying in bed watching tv when all the sudden i had a very extreme tingling sensation and then my body froze and i couldnt move or talk but i guess ive got strong will or something cause i fought it (it seriously felt like i was being possesed or something) at first i tried to scream for help but all i did was just barely mutter hel a few times until the third time i said help ...so i prayed without putting my hands together and it just stopped.dont ya just love the power of prayer. but anyways its scared me half to death i told my parents and they thought it was a panic attack and for awhile so did i...but now i see that it was sleep paralysis...scary

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Tomas
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PostPosted: Sat 22 Nov, 2003  Reply with quote

It is not just bad, you can easily enter a dream while being conscious, with some practice smile I was one of those who was scared death from SP too, but i have now learnt to somewhat master it and often even use it to induce LDs smile

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austizmo
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PostPosted: Sun 23 Nov, 2003  Reply with quote

My only experience of sleep paralysis wasn't frightening at all. Of course I knew what it was and that may have helped. I was taking a nap in the midafternoon laying on my back, which is rare for me as I have trouble sleeping on my back. I was working alot on a robotics project and wasn't getting a whole lot of sleep, just little cat naps like the one I was taking. The SP occured right after dropping out of an LD. It lasted for about 3 - 5 seconds and then the doorbell rang and I was able to move again.

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|-|ˇp—ō
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PostPosted: Sun 23 Nov, 2003  Reply with quote

i had this experience when i was listening to the new lucid test preset in BWGEN (brain wave generator) it can be found at http://www.bwgen.com btw just PM me and i can send you the regerastion crack where you can use every option on the program insted of limitations, ie... not being able to import presets, anyway i was listening to the lucid test and i fell asleep withen 15 mins while i was still at the computer altho i was dreaming i was still on my computer i noticed that i was sleeping when my fingers started going further and further through the keyboard and i relise i'm dreaming! i get excited and almost break the dream but i immediatly remember to spin so i spun around in the chair IT WORKED! so i tred putting my hand thru the moniter/cpu and watched as relity was melting away into a dream around my hand i felt a really icy sensation along with some tingeling while my hand and arm was submerged wich spooked me and i wake up or atleast i thought i woke up i was still dreaming then i stood up and fell through the floor then i really wake up and was like WHOA! did that just happen? afterwards i had a strange OOBE that felt like i was being ripped through a invisibal tunnel by body felt a huge accelerated motin as i was slideing down a long tube then it was like a sudden stop with a realy shrill sharp sound i cant realy described but it hurt my ears after that i started floating upward slightly outside my body watching myself i snapped back to reality but i couldnt move and i couldnt breath or feel a heartbeat it really freeked me out i had sleep poalisis many times before but not like this in my deam world i was lifting my hand wic seemd to weigh about 500 lbs over my face and dropping it to try and slap myself to wake up i did this about3 times and i finly really wake up but i'm still alive so i'm happy, it had to do with sleep poralisis so i thought i would post altho this isnt the first time i have has sleep porlalises i have heard it refered to as a wich rideing you back but now i know its sleep poralisis which is a big releafe you are totaly right about the fear part i was fleeking out thinking i was dieing now prehaps since i knoe what it is i can play around in that state knowing if i cant move i'm still dreaming smile

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clarkkent
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PostPosted: Fri 28 Nov, 2003  Reply with quote

It's interesting how it induced a WILD for you while you listened to it, sitting down.
Were you wearing heaphones or did you just listen using speakers?


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Basilus West
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PostPosted: Sun 05 Sep, 2004  Reply with quote

Some scientific pages about Sleep Paralysis and Associated Hypnagogic and Hypnopompic Experiences,
like Old Hag, Incubus, etc.
and, less interesting, it seems :Sleep Paralysis and Lucid Dreaming


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spacecheese
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PostPosted: Mon 06 Sep, 2004  Reply with quote

When you are sleeping the body is paralyzed to prevent sleep walking, but when you experince SP its because the brain thinks you are still sleeping, so it keeps the body paralyzed.
This is of course only my own thoughts on this, but it seems to be a pretty good theory. ^_^


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waterstarrainbow
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Sep, 2004  Reply with quote

I have been so scared from sleep paraylisis.
I have been lucid and wanted to wake up but not been able to... i use to think at those stages that i was dead..

the other week i was having constant sleep paraylisis when i was falling asleep.. that was after a week of not much sleep.. not much food.. consumption of (drugs) and alcohol... that was scary my head was vibrating and i thought i was going to die..

But all in all i really like the feeling ^^


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DreamAddict
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PostPosted: Fri 10 Sep, 2004  Reply with quote

I found another article that was recently reposted at:
coasttocoastam.com - "A Look at Sleep Paralysis"

Quote:
Sleep paralysis (SP) is a condition in which someone, just waking up or falling asleep, realizes they are unable to move. It is often accompanied by the sense of a malevolent presence in the room. Here is an excerpt from an article I wrote for After Dark back in 2000:

The state of SP is not an entirely uncommon occurrence and by some estimates 15% or more of the population has an infrequent experience of it. Current research shows that SP may be more likely if an individual is stressed, jet lagged or simply taking a nap at a time other than their regular sleep period. Possibly even geomagnetic influences may play a part. Though the experience is frightening, it is not particularly dangerous or indicative of any pathology.

Reports of SP date back thousands of years. In fact, Galen, a renowned physician of the 2nd century AD thought the condition was caused by indigestion. Throughout time and across cultures a great deal of supernatural lore has accumulated in such tales as the incubus and "Old Hag," which likely have their roots in the SP phenomenon. In fact the original Anglo Saxon definition of "nightmare" comes from nicht = night and mara = incubus/succubus.

An incubus, derived from Latin, refers to a demon that visits one in their sleep, often sitting or exerting a heavy pressure on the sleeper. In medieval times, incubi were thought to have sexual intercourse with women, which could result in the birth of strange offspring. It was said that the legendary wizard Merlin was the product of such a union. David J. Hufford's fascinating book The Terror That Comes in the Night delves into a wide array of folkloric associations with the condition. He shows how people of previous eras may have viewed SP events as being related to such things as witchcraft and vampirism.

It was only in the 1950's that REM (rapid eye movementóthe brain state correlated with dreaming) was scientifically shown via EEG studies. One of the characteristics of REM sleep is general atonia (inability to move muscles with the exception of the eyes). It's believed that this is a protective mechanism that prevents us from acting out movements while in a dream. SP could be considered an anomalous REM state, where the brain has been simultaneously aroused into a waking mode yet still not having shut off the atonia and hypnagogic imagery associated with REM. Thus a peculiar condition occurs where the brain is mixing both dream and external reality into one perception.

--L.L.


It also links to these sources:
http://www.stanford.edu/~dement/paralysis.html
http://www.arts.uwaterloo.ca/~acheyne/S_P.html


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