Sleep Paralysis is a phenomenon that is widely reported in the general population. It occurs just before or after a period of REM sleep.
Becoming mentally aware, whilst the body is still paralyzed and ‘asleep’ can be a terrifying experience. People soon realize that they can’t move or speak. Frequently, these episodes are accompanied by diverse and vivid hallucinations, as well as sensations of breathlessness. There has been a lot of research conducted on Sleep Paralysis. On the one hand, scientists have provided a backlog of research to suggest that it is a neurological condition. However, for those who have experienced this weird state first hand, it goes without saying that there is more to this phenomenon that science isn’t able to explain.
There is scientific research to suggest that Sleep Paralysis is a neurological disorder. For example, it has been linked to neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s. Scientists believe that understanding the chemicals involved in Sleep Paralysis can help them also understand the role this state has on individual functioning. Researchers have found that two brain chemicals, glycine and GABA, are responsible for muscle paralysis during REM sleep. There is also research to suggest that around 80% of people who suffer from Sleep Paralysis go on to develop neurodegenerative diseases. However, it is important to note that there is more to what goes on in our bodies than can be fully explained by dry, clinical theories regarding the transport and transformation of different chemical combinations and energy exchanges.
Sleep paralysis–related hallucinations can sometimes cause eerie sensations of floating outside one’s body or looking down upon oneself from the bedroom ceiling. In certain cultures, such out-of-body experiences are attributed to the “soul”— as if in a type of “astral travel,” the spiritual self projects itself into an alternative realm of existence. Essentially, Sleep Paralysis is merely the stepping-stone where you can take off into astral projection. It is resistance that causes the feelings of anxiety, fear and hallucinations. People experience these negative responses when they don’t let go and give in to the hyper-conscious state. When we astral project we are still connected to our physical body through a silver or golden cord of light connected to our pituitary gland/pineal gland.
Sleep Paralysis may have received widespread attention in science, but it still proves to be a condition difficult to explain. Although we know more about the chemical processes involved in this state, science is still unable to explain the out of body experiences, spiritual awakenings and other spiritual states involved in a Sleep Paralysis episode.
About the Author
Fattima Mahdi is a writer, mentor, lyricist and professional roller-skater. She uses both her love for writing and music to address socio-political issues prevalent in society today. She is also the proud author of Love Don’t Come Easy.
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