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Sleep Paralysis and Shadow People

Jeffry R. Palmer

Some of the conditions reported in shadow people expereinces are similar to occurances in episodes of sleep paralysis. Many witnesses to shadow people have reported that the experiences occurs just before falling asleep and just after waking. Sleep paralysis may also cause halucinations. While there is some evidence that shadow people expereinces may be related to sleep disturbances it is important to note that many shadow people encounters occur durring times of wakefulness.

Sleep paralysis is a condition characterized by temporary paralysis of the body shortly after waking up this is also known as hypnopompic paralysis and less often, shortly before falling asleep which is known as hypnagogic paralysis.

Physiologically, it is closely related to the normal paralysis that occurs during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
Sleep paralysis occurs when the brain is awakened from an REM state into essentially a normal fully awake state, but the bodily paralysis is still occurring. This causes the person to be fully aware, but unable to move. In addition, this state is usually accompanied by hypnagogic hallucinations.

More often than not, sleep paralysis is believed by the person affected by it to be a dream. This is the reason why there are many dream recountings which describe the person lying frozen and unable to move. The hallucinatory element to sleep paralysis makes it likely that someone will interpret the experience as a dream.

The primary symptom of sleep paralysis is conscious partial or complete skeletal muscle paralysis during the hypnopompic or hypnagogic states. In other words, it is the sense of being aware that one is unable to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up. Sleep paralysis is often accompanied by hypnagogic hallucinations. These hallucinations can be auditory, tactile, and / or visual. If a polysomnography is taken, at least one of the following will be shown: skeletal muscle tone suppression, REM sleep at sleep onset, or dissociated REM sleep. The sleep paralysis persists anywhere from a few seconds to a few minutes before the person is able to either return to normal sleep or to become fully awake and aware. However, the sense of how much time has gone by is often distorted during sleep paralysis. People who are fortunate enough to be facing a clock while having an episode may often be surprised to see how little time has gone by during an episode that seems to last a long time.

Little is known about the physiology of sleep paralysis. However, some have suggested that it may be linked to post-synaptic inhibition of motor neurons in the pons region of the brain. In particular, low levels of melatonin may stop the depolarization current in the nerves, which prevents the stimulation of the muscles.

There is also a significant positive correlation between those experiencing this disorder frequently and those suffering from narcolepsy. However, various studies suggest that many or most people will experience sleep paralysis at least once or twice in their lives.

Some report that various factors increase the likelihood of both paralysis and hallucinations. These include:

  • Sleeping in a supine position (facing upwards) 
  • Irregular sleeping schedules; naps, sleeping in, sleep deprivation 
  • Increased stress 
  • Sudden environmental/lifestyle changes 
  • A lucid dream that immediately precedes the episode 
  • Medium to long-term imagining of involuntary movements with your eyes closed before sleep. 

Related Pages:

Shadow People Stories Part One
Shadow People Stories Part Two
Sleep Paralysis and Shadow People
Shadow People Images
Type of Shadow People
Shadow People Theories



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