Monday, May 25, 2009

Sleep Paralysis

I wanted to post some helpful questions and answers that I continually see on the internet to specific problems with sleep. I have posted many answers to questions on yahoo questions and answers but I wanted to write up some generic answers for specific disorders.

Sleep Paralysis

History of sleep paralysis

If you look back into the history of sleep paralysis you will find that many of the old stories of demon possession. This same event of sleep paralysis is also the reason we have the word nightmare as it comes the Goddess name of Mara. Mara was a type of demon that would sit on the chest of others holding them down while tormenting humans in their sleep making it so that the sleeper or dreamer could not move (paralyzed).

Paralysis and terrifying events:

Sleep paralysis often brings along with it terrifying hallucinations as based on the history is understandable. 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 as our brain also shuts down a specific area of our brain that is involved with processing long term memory possibly because of the absence of serotonin during sleep.

Supporting the normal brain:

Though many doctors would never recommend vitamins or supplements to support your body in ridding any type of issue, many different supplements have shown to produce remarkable results even publishable results in the area of sleep. In the area of sleep issues, helping the brain transition between non-REM and REM. 5-HTP, niacin, and choline salts, are all supplements that are precursors into producing specific neurotransmitters involved in sleep however it is recommended that you consult a doctor before taking any supplements. If you are unwilling to take supplements to help you sleep, it is a good idea to visit a doctor in order to get medication that will help produce better sleep.


  1. nice post - I never thought about SP in regards to the terrible biochemical combination of intense fear and muscle paralysis. it's a rough place for consciousness! I'm reading Hufford's classic right now and the accounts are fascinating. do you have any ideas about the phenomenon of the "stranger" (that sometimes accompanied the experience of SP) in terms of brain activity?

  2. Hi, very nice post. I have been wonder'n bout this issue,so thanks for posting

  3. Kelly,

    Thanks for coming by and leaving your comment. If you are intrested about sleep parlaysis, I have written quite a few articles in the past about it. Also if you visit the link for Ryan has written quite a few wonderful posts on the topic. Hope I could help some!