Has anyone ever experienced sleep paralysis? From what I understand, what happens is when you are in REM sleep (the part where you dream) your body releases hormones that paralyzes your body. This is a good thing because otherwise you would act out your dreams and likely cause self-injury. But with sleep paralysis, your mind wakes up (you can open your eyes and see) when it should be in REM mode, so your body is still paralyzed. And because it's in REM mode, you're kind of half asleep, so although you can see where you are, you are also likely to hallucinate images and sounds.
It's pretty frightening. Yesterday when I decided to take a nap, I woke up and realized I couldn't move. I was really struggling with myself to really wake up. It kinda feels like when you keep nodding off to sleep. You're awake for a few seconds and try to move, and then start losing yourself back to sleep. But then you wake up again! No! Don't sleep! GET UP!! The worst part of it is you get this feeling of danger, like someone is in the room with you, watching you, or trying to keep you down, which makes you want to wake up even more. I remember really struggling to get ANY movement, so i focused on my fingers. I could get them to move just a bit, but then I felt like someone grabbed my hand and forced it down! This really freaked me out. It took me a minute to realize that what I was feeling was just my own fingers touching themselves. ^^;
I think I fought this sleep paralysis for about 15 minutes, but that's just a guess. From the research I did on it following this episode, it looks like 8 minutes is usually as long as it lasts. I also learned that it's pretty common. About 30% of the population experience it at some time. And there is quite a few folklore about the cause being ghosts, witches, demons, etc. In fact, when I told Ryota (Japanese) and Kwon (Korean) about it, they both mentioned similar legends. It's pretty interesting. Although I tend to follow the science point of view on this, I have to admit, I was a bit scared to go back to sleep.
Ways to help avoid sleep paralysis:
-DON'T sleep on your back
-Have a routine sleeping schedule (naps are bad)
-Don't be stressed (yeah... right...)
-Get enough sleep
-Don't get too much sleep
So i'm interested! Any of you experience this too??