Paralysis, sleep
A frightening form of paralysis that occurs when a person suddenly finds himself or herself unable to move for a few minutes, most often upon falling asleep or waking up. Sleep paralysis is due to an ill-timed disconnection between the brain and the body. The symptoms of sleep paralysis include sensations of noises, smells, levitation, paralysis, terror, and images of frightening intruders. Once considered very rare, about half of all people are now believed to experience sleep paralysis sometime during their life. Sleep paralysis strikes as a person is moving into or out of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the deepest part of sleep. During REM sleep the body is largely disconnected from the brain leaving the body paralyzed. Sleep paralysis is the result of premature (or persistent) mind-body disconnection as one is about to enter into (or exit from) REM sleep. Sleep paralysis occurs most often after jet lag or periods of sleeplessness that interrupt the normal REM patterns. It affects both sexes equally and occurs at all ages but is most common in teenagers. Sleep paralysis can be familial and may be genetic (inherited) in some cases. An attack of sleep paralysis is usually harmless and self-limited. It tends to be over in a minute or two as soon as the brain and body re-establish connections and the person is able to move again. However, the memory of the terrifying sensations felt during sleep paralysis can long endure. (Some scholars believe that sleep paralysis may account for some of the old claims of attacks by witches and the more recent "reports" of nocturnal abduction by space aliens.) A rare fatal form of sleep paralysis may, it is thought, underlie the cases of healthy teenagers, mainly in Southeast Asia, who die in their sleep, sometimes after fighting for breath but without thrashing around. Sleep paralysis goes by a number of names, including the "old hag" in Newfoundland (for an old witch thought to sit on the chest of the paralyzed sleeper), "kokma" in the West Indies (for a ghost baby who jumps on the sleeper's chest and attacks the throat), "kanashibari" in Japan and "gui ya" or ghost pressure in China (because a ghost is believed to sit on and assault the sleeper). Medically, sleep paralysis is sometimes called waking paralysis, predormital (before-sleep) paralysis, postdormital (after-sleep) paralysis, and REM sleep atonia.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Sleep paralysis — is paralysis associated with sleep that may occur in healthy persons or may be associated with narcolepsy, cataplexy, and hypnagogic hallucinations. The pathophysiology of this condition is closely related to the normal hypotonia that occurs… …   Wikipedia

  • Sleep disorder — Classification and external resources ICD 10 F51, G47 ICD 9 …   Wikipedia

  • Sleep (non-human) — Sleep in non human animals refers to how the behavioral and physiological state of sleep, mainly characterized by reversible unconsciousness, non responsiveness to external stimuli, and motor passivity, appears in different categories of animals …   Wikipedia

  • Sleep apnea — Classification and external resources Obstructive sleep apnea ICD 10 G …   Wikipedia

  • Sleep induction — Sleep induction, the deliberate effort to bring on sleep by various techniques or medicinal means, is practiced to lengthen periods of sleep, increase the effectiveness of sleep, and to reduce or prevent insomnia. Contents 1 Alcohol 2 Guided… …   Wikipedia

  • Sleep paralysis — A frightening form of paralysis that occurs when a person suddenly finds himself or herself unable to move for a few minutes, most often upon falling asleep or waking up. Sleep paralysis is due to an ill timed disconnection between the brain and… …   Medical dictionary

  • sleep paralysis and hallucinations —    The term sleep paralysis refers to a transient experience of involuntary immobility immediately prior to falling asleep or upon awakening. It is conceptualized as the intrusion of REM muscle atonia and dream imagery into the waking state.… …   Dictionary of Hallucinations

  • Paralysis — Not to be confused with Spasticity, Sensory loss, or Numbness. Paralysed redirects here. For other uses, see Paralysed (disambiguation). Paralyse redirects here. For the 2008 pop song, see Paralyse (song). For other uses, see Paralysis… …   Wikipedia

  • Paralysis — Loss of voluntary movement (motor function). Paralysis that affects only one muscle or limb is partial paralysis, also known as palsy; paralysis of all muscles is total paralysis, as may occur in cases of botulism. * * * 1. Loss of power of… …   Medical dictionary

  • Sleep — Waking up redirects here. For other uses, see Waking Up (disambiguation). This article is about sleep in general; for specifically non human sleep see Sleep (non human); for other uses, see Sleep (disambiguation). Sleeping child Sleep is a… …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”