When you go to bed and when you are just falling asleep or about to be awaken you might have experienced that your limbs do not work the way you want. Also, you feel that somebody is around your room. If you have this daring experience, probably you are suffering from sleep paralysis. This condition is also called the witch hag syndrome. Those who suffer from this condition often feel that an unknown creature is either pressing his or her chest or sitting on the chest. It has been found that sufferers of this disorder also suffer from such disorders as sleep apnea, anxiety and migraines.
When physiology of sleep paralysis is analyzed, it has been found that it is closely related to Rapid Eye Movement sleep. However, when someone experiences this disorder it is found that rapid eye movement is not lost though he is unable to move his limbs or speak. Due to this reason, most people get terrified when they wake up with bouts of this disorder. Also, they feel that intruders are present in their rooms. This is explained by neurologist as a state created by mid brain.
The only way to diagnose sleep paralysis is to make sure that the sufferer is not having any other similar disorders. Once this fact is established, the symptoms the sufferer shows are compared with the documented symptoms that have been established earlier. Through this system a successful diagnosis is made. When it comes to treatment of this sleep disorder the best thing is to get sufferers to learn better sleep habits. However, for serious cases there are effective drugs that could be administered in order to bring about relief. Since these drugs do not bring about relief for all the sufferers, research has not yet been able to find a drug that certainly cures sleep paralysis.
The following are some of the experiences of sufferers of this disorder as they describe.
1- Whisper in Sleep Paralysis
Whisper: I heard a whisper of someone in my ear but I didn’t see anyone. However, I was unable to move my limbs, but a balloon type head keep hovering and then moved away till I had a sigh of relief.
2- The Cat Ghost
There was a cat and the body was transparent. I had three episodes of sleep paralysis. Once it was eye to eye contact then his eyes turned red, soon blood oozed out of his eyes before he jumped out leaving a trail of blood behind.
3- Two to Play Music
My mom’s experience of a sleep paralysis: My mother once has seen two men playing music with two instruments at the foot of her bed. When she was about to wake up they have gone telling that it is time for them to go.
4- With a Skeleton
Seeing different sleep paralysis: I have experiences of different types. Once it was a skeleton that danced with me and I was scared of skeleton’s ice cold hands. The skeleton swirled and moved so fast that I could feel air blowing around it. Soon when it disappeared, dist remained suspended and there was mist and fragrance all around.
5- Demon Encountered
Difficult to wake up in sleep paralysis: I have not had any encounters with demons though I often feel their presence. I also felt that I could see but I couldn’t move. It is a terrifying experience.
6- A Child Attempted to Choke Me
Different but scary things: I have seen very many different scary things. Once a child trying to choke me. Another time another child ghost appeared at the foot of my bed and many more. I am unable to call for help because my voice will not come out. Can’t do anything either as my body won’t respond.
7- Laughing Ghosts
Laughing ghosts: My experience is seeing ghosts that are laughing at me. Sometimes they are behind me and I cannot see them. Sometimes they advance at me from front.
8- Aging Ghost
Aging Ghost: I saw a beautiful figure in front of me and she started aging. Now I am sitting in front of her but I cannot move. This is my only experience in sleep paralysis.
9- They Try To Get Me
They try to get me: Most my hallucinations are forgotten but they are always evil. They try to get me but I cannot cry for help or move a finger.
10- Aliens in Sight
Hundreds of experiences: I have had this experience many times but I am able to close my eyes and wait without looking at them. It is only a feeling of presence of alien creatures.
11- Footsteps of Someone
Footsteps: I hear footsteps of someone walking towards me. First it is in the kitchen then the dining room and when it is nearing me I cannot yell out for help. Nor I can move my limbs. This happens when ever I fall asleep on the couch after being drunk.
12- Saw Egyptian Scarab
Egyptian scarab: I saw a huge Egyptian scarab telling me that it is going to eat me. Later it becomes smaller and a lot of them creep into a crevice on the wall.
13- The Black Boy
A black child: I see a little black child and I feel as if I am waking up and my body is pressurized. This happens several times and finally I wake up scared.
People have experienced sleep paralysis from time immemorial. However, at early days the more common type of occurrence was a creature sitting on the chest of the one who gets the experience. Therefore, the one who undergoes the situation feels his chest is being pressurized. During early days this was attributed to the work of demons. Later it was considered that food was responsible for the same. It was believed that undigested food caused the problem.
In late 19th century it has been believed that drinking wine before bed time as one of the causes of sleep paralysis. Greasy food such as pastry and meats also believed to be causing it. Therefore, it was also recommended that moderate exercises be taken in order to help digest such foods. However, those who are used to sedentary life styles must not attempt to do that according to those who were regarded as people who knew about this subject.
Going to bed too early was also considered a cause for nightmares. This happens because a person who goes to bed early will wake up in the night and stays awake lying on the bed. Later he falls asleep and sleeps too soundly and the result is the seeing of nightmares. Finally, he will complain that he is suffering from sleep paralysis. Some of these theories though outdated could be acceptable even today. If you are one of those who suffer from seeing nightmares too often, you could even devise your own remedies and find if you could get over the situation with their help.