As the name implies, sleep paralysis is a phenomenon when the human body is unable to move upon waking up or just before sleeping. Sleep paralysis is classified as parasomnia, or unwanted occurrence that is associated with sleep. The most common cause is sleep deprivation or disturbed sleep.
Sophomore Raymond Tran said, “I think sleep paralysis is more common in students like us because we’re always stacked with projects and work. It’s hard to get a proper night of sleep that way.”
Although every episode of sleep paralysis varies from person to person, there are some similarities in each one. Most people would be rendered unable to speak or move, but still completely aware of what’s going on in their surroundings. During an episode, breathing is still normal and steady. It is also very common for people to get hallucinations. These hallucinations are unlike the dreams we get during Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep; they occur when one is fully awake. Normally, these hallucinations trigger the person to feel as if there’s another eerie presence in the room. These hallucinations could also be of weird creatures, objects, or sounds. Often times, these hallucinations causes the person anxiety because they can not control their body.
Luckily, sleep paralysis only lasts anywhere from a couple seconds to a couple minutes. An episode of sleep paralysis can end if one exerts a lot of effort to move or if someone else speaks or touches the person. Junior Melissa Lim said, “I have never gotten sleep paralysis, but it sounds really scary. I think I’d be freaked out [if I ever get it]”.
To this day, there is no scientific evidence for the reason of this phenomenon. People have linked sleep paralysis to supernatural or otherworldly beings. Although sleep paralysis seems scary, it can be prevented with simple steps such as sleeping or resting more.