After punching on my laptop's keypad for five straight hours, my eyelids would have nothing but flap close. I staggered off, crashing on to my bed as I dozed off in two minutes. Then suddenly...
I thought I heard a sound from my window. Motionless, my body lay on the bed as my eyes quickly darts to the wall. Unexpectedly, the clock brightened in the dark, its 2:44 AM as I heard my window crashing, a one-eyed ghost-like creature with four sword-like teeth struggling to break into my room. Jez!
I screamed but my voice couldn't let out the scream, I made to jump out of bed but an unknown force suppressed me. The "ghost's head, now in the room, roaring with mouth wide open; with massive teeth gnawing at me ravenously. Dead scared, I mustered all my strength to scream but my mouth just couldn't open. Helplessly, I lay on my bed half asleep and half awake.
I'm asleep but this sure isn't a dream because I know I'm about to be devoured, but unfortunately my body has failed to move. Then suddenly, the monster broke in, charging at me with deathly ferocity then I felt a hand taping me on the chest; I broke fully awake. My girlfriend, Shazy just saved me from the monster in the dream I just had while I was wide awake.
The above is my recent experience and I know many of you have had such frightening "dreams" which you think you are awake but you are really half-awake. It is called SLEEP PARALYSIS.
Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon that occurs when a person wakes up from a sleep being unable to move, speak, or react. It usually occurs as a person is about to fall asleep or as they are about to wake up from sleep, and is usually accompanied with breathing difficulties.
This may not sound like a big deal for those who haven't experienced it, but it can be terrifying at times. You are totally paralyzed and unable to wake yourself up. When you are in a state of paralysis, it is the brains natural response to think that you are under attack, so your brain naturally enters into a state of "flight" mode.
Sometimes, sleep paralysis is accompanied by hallucinations or the feeling that there is an intruder in the room. Some people even claim to sense the presence of demonic entities that sit on their chest or stand over top of them.
The most plausible scientific explanation is that it is thought to occur when the mind wakes up out of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, the stage of sleep where most of your dreams occur. Every night during REM sleep the body shuts down virtually all muscle activity to prevent you from acting out those dreams).
CAUSES OF SLEEP PARALYSIS
Sleep paralysis is not fatal, some of the factors that cause it include physical fatigue, under-sleeping, erratic sleep schedule, stress, and an overuse of stimulants. Personally, under-sleeping and stress is what has caused most of my sleep paralysis experiences. Due to my job as a screenwriter, I tend to have less sleep especially at night.
WHAT TO DO WHEN YOU CAN'T MOVE.
Due to fear and anxiety, you may try to fight it; No, don't ever try to fight it. The more you try, the longer it gets and all your efforts will be completely ineffective. If you wake up and realize you are in a state of sleep paralysis, don't resist it. The minute you resist it, you will start freaking out. Accept it and relax. Breathe in and out slowly and consciously, don't panic, just enter a meditative state of mind and it will shortly pass with time.
You can give yourself a bad experience by what you choose to think about and where you allow your mind to wander to. It can only have power over you if you give it your power. If you struggle to wake, it will get deeper.
HOW TO PREVENT SLEEP PARALYSIS.
To prevent sleep paralysis, address the causes above. Have a proper sleep schedule. Another big way to prevent sleep paralysis is to not sleep in supine position. This is what supine position looks like:
Sleeping on your stomach (in prone position) or on your side is a good way to prevent this from happening. When ever you experience this, don't sleep off immediately, it will come back; before you sleep back, put on the light and go wash your face.
USING SLEEP PARALYSIS AS A SPIRITUAL ADVANTAGE.
Remember, some part of you remains in REM sleep while your waking mind is alert and attentive. Visualize and feel yourself leaving your body, stay calm in your mind and you will see yourself hovering over top of your own body.
This may look scary but it’s an experience you would savor. I have come to realize that there is really nothing to be scared of in sleep paralysis or REM sleep. Nobody has ever died or been injured from being in sleep paralysis, and it usually doesn't last for more than 30 seconds. Rather the opposite on Sleep paralysis which manifests in people acting out dreams and sleep-walking is more risky.
To avoid sleep paralysis, clean up your sleep schedule but if you feel like you're up to it, use is as a launching pad for the exploration of other dimensions.
ATTAH JOHN EDEH is a Film Director, Screenwriter, Producer and author based in Lagos, Nigeria.
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