Sleep Paralysis: What is it?

September 20, 2022

You may have heard of, or experienced, sleep paralysis. What is it? Silas Weir Mitchell officially identified the phenomenon in 1876 but this painting by Heinrich Fussili in 1781, “Der Nachtmahr” (The Nightmare), demonstrates evidence of vivid experience with the awareness/ helplessness elements unique to this experience long before. If this has happened to you, it is not new and you are not alone.

What is it?

Sleep paralysis occurs when one finds themselves partially awake during their sleep although unable to move. This terrifying prospect affects roughly 8% of the population. Sleep paralysis occurs mostly during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Episodes can range from a few seconds to a few minutes long. Occurrences of sleep paralysis are commonly accompanied by vivid hallucinations that make the situation comparable to a nightmare. Those affected may also experience a feeling of suffocation or imagine a presence nearby. See how the maiden in the Fussili painting is not just asleep but inert and helpless like a rag doll. The demons circle and even sit on her chest but she can do nothing, a horror beyond nightmarish proportions.

Why does it happen?

Although there is no standard way to diagnose it, Sleep paralysis is linked to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), narcolepsy, depression and anxiety. The experience is not exclusive to these conditions, though. It is normal for the body to be in paralysis during REM sleep so that you don’t act out your vivid dreams. You are not supposed to be aware of this, though. The timing should remove the paralysis before you are conscious.

If you are looking for answers, modern medicine suggests identifying any underlying psychological factors to determine if it is an isolated incident. Education on proper sleep habits is important since improper sleep or a shifting schedule can lead to sleep paralysis incidents.

What can you do?

This is where Zenbev Drink Mix can step in as a preventative measure. It is always safe to assume that quality sleep reduces running the risk of abnormalities in our everyday lives in and out of bed. Sleep paralysis falls into this category of risks. Zenbev can also help the anxiety that comes from worries about any sleep issues. However, if you find yourself experiencing recurring incidents of sleep paralysis that are affecting your overall mood and quality of life, it is recommended to see your physician.

Overall, this concept sounds frightening, but those affected can take comfort in the fact that the nightmares pose no threat to their health. Taking precaution with good sleep habits and paying attention to one’s mental health can do wonders. Zenbev, the healthiest sleep aid, is just one of the useful tools you can use so this doesn’t happen to you.