What does sleep paralysis feel like? It’s like trying to explain what it’s like to be stoned to someone who’s never smoked pot. What it’s like to be drunk to someone who’s never taken a single sip. What it’s like to be buried alive to some who’s never, um… died?
By Claire Gillespie from She Knows:
I first experienced sleep paralysis in my late teens. Apparently, this is common. This particular sleep disorder is most likely to affect teenagers and young adults. Mine continued into my 20s, and although the instances have become less frequent as I’ve gotten older, it still happens now and again.
Officially, it’s described as "a feeling of being conscious but unable to move," and it can happen when falling asleep (hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis) or when waking up (hypnopompic or postdormital sleep paralysis).
Centuries ago, explanations for sleep paralysis were a lot more exciting. Almost every culture has attributed the mysterious disorder and the feelings of terror it brings to an evil presence of some sort, from alien abductors to the old hag in Shakespeare’sRomeo and Juliet. The reality is far more pedestrian. Following years of research, the conclusion is that — in most cases — sleep paralysis is simply a sign that your body isn’t progressing smoothly from one stage of sleep to the next.
Click here to read more by Claire Gillespie.