What Is Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is an unusual physical phenomena in which a person is not able to move or speak with the exception of being able to move their eyes. It can sometimes be accompanied by auditory or visual hallucinations.
What Causes Sleep Paralysis?
The cause of sleep paralysis is a mistiming of REM atonia. REM atonia is a process where our body movements are shut down to avoid us acting out our dreams. REM atonia usually synchronizes with our REM (Rapid Eye Movement sleep) periods , however it can sometimes occur before or after REM. This leads to a strange sensation where our mind is alert but our body is paralyzed.
People who are unaware of sleep paralysis usually panic when they experience it. This is counterproductive and actually prolongs the experience. The hallucinations and body paralysis that you experience is simply in your head and can't harm you.
There Is Nothing To Fear - However It CAN Be Stopped
The best thing to do is just accept the experience. There is nothing to fear. However, if the experience is very unpleasant, just hold your breath (you still have control over your breath). The sudden lack of air shocks the body and you will regain control over your bodily movements.
Dream Hackers Welcome Sleep Paralysis
For lucid dreamers, sleep paralysis is welcomed, not feared. Sleep paralysis signals that your body and mind are prepared for REM to occur.
With the right preparation we can turn a scary event into a door to lucid dreaming. Just be patient and allow the sleep paralysis to wash over you, you may find yourself lucid in a dream in a few minutes!