Sleep Paralysis Should be Used for Good and not Evil
Alright. So you’re asleep and you’re having a pretty good dream about the boy or girl who lives next door. The dream is going well until the boy or girl from next door morphs into a giant bug and bites your head off like a female mantis in the middle of a mating session.
This is actually a pretty alarming turn of events.
You most likely tried to run before any head-biting could take place, but the boy or girl from next door caught you, held you still, and proceeded to introduce your brain matter to the light of day.
On the other side of this dream, your unconscious body does not like the signals that are being sent to it by your brain.
You want to lash out, but you can’t.
You want to scream, but you can’t do that, either.
It’s almost as if, gasp, you were paralyzed.
Which is true.
A nifty little detail that many people will either never know or forget about is that, when you reach a certain stage of sleep, your body will actually paralyze itself.
Your body isn’t doing this as a part of some twisted conspiracy to have you eaten by your object of lust. The body immobilizes itself to protect itself. While in the middle of your little dream, you never would have realized that what was happening wasn’t real. That means that, more likely than not, your body would have tried to react as it really would have had such an attack actually been going on.
I’m not sure you understand how much damage a person fighting for their life against a giant bug can cause. They fight violently, they yell, they scream, they curse, and they generally turn themselves into a danger to themselves and anyone who happens to be too close at the time. While you may not appreciate the precaution while you’re having the nightmare, you would certainly miss it if it weren’t there. Imagine, for instance, that you were one of the thousands of parents who sleep in the same bed as their favored infants. In the middle of a nightmare, do you really want the little tyke so close to such potentially fatal actions on your part?
You wouldn’t be able to stop yourself because you’d still be in the middle of the nightmare.
Or what would happen if you dreamed that there was something under your skin, or that you were on fire or drowning or something? At that point, you would try and claw what was under your skin out, stop-drop-and-roll to put out the fire, or struggle to breathe without ever realizing that the ability was taken from you. What type of harm do you think you would wake up to find? How much would you have to hurt yourself before you woke up enough to realize that you were dreaming and stop? And honestly, what if just one time was enough to cause way more damage than you could have otherwise expected?
Running from that attacker in your dreams could send you headlong down a flight of stairs or into a particularly solid wall.
Your brain, deep down, understands how devastating such involuntary movements can be and it works to protect you from them. When you really consider what a problem not being paralyzed can be while caught in a dream, is it any wonder that the process is more of a curiosity than a concern for those who study sleep?
What has been revealed in recent studies, however, is that actually being paralyzed during sleep can bring on the nightmares instead of helping to control your reaction to them. In a way, it’s sort of a never-ending cycle. If you have a nightmare because you’re paralyzed, then you’ll need that paralysis to keep you from acting out in fear from the sensation.
In fact, studies are starting to look at the correlation between sleep paralysis and night terrors. According to these studies, sleep paralysis is often the leading sensation that overcomes those who have a night terror, with the feeling of not being able to move, cry out, or struggle acting as a precursor to the intense sensation of fear. Scientists have also learned that episodes where sleep paralysis is more of a hindrance than a help as far as nightmares and night terrors are concerned usually occur on nights when a dreamer is sleeping on his or her back.
Dreamers who suffer from this problem should find that moving around throughout the night before or after an attack can help, and also changing the position in which you sleep should cut down on the risk of having your nightmares turning your paralysis against you. Try these solutions and see if, rather than having it used in a negative sense, you can turn sleep paralysis into the help that it’s meant to be.
- Ancient Science and Dreams: Oneirology in Greco-Roman Antiquity (ISBN 9780761821571): M. Andrew Holowchak
- Dark Intrusions: An Investigation into the Paranormal Nature of Sleep Paralysis Experiences (ISBN 9781933665443): Louis Proud, Colin Wilson, David Hufford
- Lucid Dreaming: The Paradox of Consciousness During Sleep (ISBN 9780415112390): Celia Green, Charles McCreery
- Nightmara (ISBN 9780986568022): Danielle Q. Lee, Karen Koski
- Nightmares: The Science and Solution of Those Frightening Visions during Sleep (Brain, Behavior, and Evolution) (ISBN 9780313345128): Patrick McNamara
- Sleep Disorders for Dummies (ISBN 9780764539015): Max Hirshkowitz, Patricia B. Smith, William C. Dement
- Sleep Paralysis: A Guide to Hypnagogic Visions and Visitors of the Night (ISBN 9780984223916): Ryan Hurd
- Sleep Paralysis: Night-mares, Nocebos, and the Mind-Body Connection (Studies in Medical Anthropology) (ISBN 9780813548869): Shelley R. Adler
- Sleep Paralysis and How to Cope
- The Family That Couldn’t Sleep: A Medical Mystery (ISBN 9780812972528): D.T. Max
- The Secret of the Soul: Using Out-of-Body Experiences to Understand Our True Nature (ISBN 9780062516718): William Buhlman
- The Terror That Comes in the Night: An Experience-Centered Study of Supernatural Assault Traditions (Publications of the American Folklore Society) (ISBN 9780812213058): David J. Hufford
- Thirdeye and the Boogieman (Invsible Beings and Sleep Paralysis?) eBook: Ike Austin
- Wrestling with Ghosts (ISBN 9781413446685): Jorge Conesa Sevilla
What did you dream about last night?