Sleep Paralysis Essay

1366 words - 5 pages

Skyler WilsonJanice GallagherEnglish 10113 April 2014Sleep ParalysisSleep paralysis is a phenomena that affects almost everyone at least once in their lifetime. It is classified as an extremely terrifying and uncomfortable experience in which an individual experiences an inability to perform voluntary movements with noticeable episodes of anxiety. It occurs either at sleep onset or upon awakening. Sleep paralysis can last anywhere from seconds to a few minutes. It has no effect on respiratory or ocular muscles and it is completely reversible. Although an individuals' respiratory muscles are not affected during sleep paralysis, most experience a feeling that "they can't control their breathing" due to the disruption between the mind and body. Even though one's mind might realize they are awake the connection between the mind and the body is not made, so a person's respiratory function experiences the same involuntary contractions one experiences in a "deep sleep". The strange thing about sleep paralysis is that in almost all cases an individual will experience a terrifying hallucinatory phenomena accompanied by a feeling that something "is pressing down on the chest or torso". Sleep paralysis has no definitive cause or cure but is relatively harmless to one's health.Sleep paralysis is classified by two kinds: Isolated Sleep Paralysis, or Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis. Isolated sleep paralysis is also known as "familiar sleep paralysis". It is the most common form of sleep paralysis and occurs infrequently. Recurrent isolated sleep paralysis is considered a "chronic condition" where multiple episodes of sleep paralysis occur over one's lifetime. It is commonly associated with other sleeping disorders and is very uncommon. The difference between isolated sleep paralysis and recurrent sleep paralysis is that in recurrent sleep paralysis, episodes can last up to an hour long with a much higher recurrence rate and have been said to be more of an "outer body" experience; while isolated sleep paralysis are typically short episodes that are typically accompanied by a hallucination that "an existence is in the room" or that "something harmful is watching you". Isolated sleep paralysis and recurrent isolated sleep paralysis occur most often upon awakening but it is possible for them to occur at sleep onset. Recurrent isolated sleep paralysis has been most commonly associated with patients who have narcolepsy or other sleep disorders. It has also been linked to few medical diseases and metal disorders such as, bipolar affective disorder and schizophrenia with severe disturbance of nocturnal sleep. During both, isolated sleep paralysis and recurrent sleep paralysis, the victim experiences "mortal fear or extreme panic" but, as previously stated, the individual is actually in no harm.Although there is little known about the causes of sleep paralysis and that there is not one definitive cause, it is commonly associated with some sort of disruption in REM...

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