Monday, April 20, 2009

Question of the week: "Sleep paralysis night terrors about angels vs demons?"


I've had 2 "night terror" type incidents in the past 6 months, where I've been half awake and aware of my surroundings but totally paralyzed. This is, obviously, terrifying. But the weird thing is both incidents have involved good vs. bad, or angels vs. demons. The first was 2 loud voices talking in each ear talking about stealing something, one good, one bad, kind of like the angel/devil on shoulder metaphor you see in films. And the other was after a dream about angels and demons fighting, and then during my sleep paralysis I imagined a demon-like creature approaching me. In both incidents, the "bad" has seemed to win or have the last say. Is this significant in any way?


Unfortunately I think that you have experienced something that is common in a lot of religious circles when dealing with sleep paralysis. If you look back into the history of sleep paralysis you will find that many of the old stories of demon possession ties into this. This same event is also the cause for the word “nightmare” comes from the name Mara as it was a type of demon that would sit on the chest of others holding them down while tormenting them.

One reason that people experience anxiety based hallucinations during this period of sleep is because during the transformation phase between NREM and REM (where sleep paralysis accurse) our brains are going through a type of modulation or the shutting down and starting up of specific areas. One of these key points in our brain that is activated is the amygdala which in some research has shown to be the start to the process of dreaming itself. The amygdala is this one specific area of our brain that causes us to feel fear and anxiety and if it becomes activated to the point it does in sleep, well then you very well can have a very scary dream. The paralysis either shortly follows this process or is activated slightly before so that the body doesn’t act out its dreams. Some research has shown that this is normal process; however remembering or being fully conscious during the transition is out of the norm.

Researchers still do not know why we dream or even how we dream, though they are continuing to research the area and understand more. It is important to not take our dreams too serious but also to not over look them, as they may have some underlying information of what we want, or how we perceive things. In a short answer your dreams may have meaning but no one can answer that question for you but yourself.


No comments:

Post a Comment