We have probably all experienced it at one time or another in our lives. You doze, or you just wake up, you turn to the side … but you can not. Your arms and legs are like cement, stuck to the bed, and you can not move.
And then suddenly, you feel something moving in the darkness of your room. It starts in a corner, and softly approaches your bed. You are trying to call for help, to shout that someone is coming to help you, but you are not there. You can even begin to choke while a hand wraps gently around your throat.
Sleep paralysis occurs when you switch between waking and sleeping, usually when you fall asleep or wake up.
During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak.
During sleep paralysis, some people may also feel pressure or a feeling of choking.
In the worst cases, the symptoms of sleep paralysis may be accompanied by hallucination.
The majority of hallucination victims say they see something moving in the dark.
The scariest is that in the face of this vision, you are unable to move, or even scream.
Why does the body do that?
Dr. Michael J. Breus explains that during rapid eye movements (REM), the body returns to a state of known paralysis: muscle atony.
This is a normal part of the sleep phase, when major muscle groups and most voluntary muscles are paralyzed.
An important function of this paralysis is to protect the body from injury during sleep.
Without the paralyzing effects of muscular atony, we could act physically in response to our dreams.