This Is What Is Happening When You Wake Up And Can’t Move

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It’s called sleep sleep paralysis and the information about it is scary as F**k!

1. It can feel as though you woke up dead.

Clinical psychologist and fellow of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, Michael Breus, Ph.D had this to say about sleep paralysis.

Most patients say the same thing to describe sleep paralysis: that it feels like you woke up dead. You know that your mind is awake and your body is not — so you’re trapped, essentially.

2. It is far more intense than a nightmare.


When you enter deep REM sleep, your brain tells the body’s voluntary muscles to relax and go into almost a state of paralysis, which is called atonia. Atonia actually helps protect the body from injury by preventing you from acting out the physical movements in your dreams.

Dr. Breus tells Buzzfeed Life,

In sleep paralysis, the body remains paralyzed in REM atonia while the brain awakens and the eyes start to open, explains Breus. Sufferers become alert in a transient conscious state, but they are unable to move voluntary muscles or speak. Although involuntary muscle movement, like breathing, is not affected, there is often a sensation of chest pressure, which is why many people wake up from sleep paralysisgasping to take a deep breath. Episodes can last anywhere from 20 seconds to a few minutes.

3. It can happen when you are falling asleep…or as you are waking up. 

Sleep paralysis occurs when the body has trouble transitioning from going into REM sleep or getting out of REM sleep.

4. It can cause hallucinations.

Unlike the visuals in nightmares or lucid dreams, which occur when the eyes are closed in REM sleep, these hallucinations occur in the state between sleeping and waking when the mind is alert and the eyes are open. True visual and auditory hallucinations during sleep paralysis are relatively rare, but do happen.

5. You can’t wake yourself up.

Many people have tried to wake themselves up, but you can’t fool your body. Some people may try to move their fingers, toes or raise an arm…but it won’t work. You simply have to wait it out.

6. It can happen to anyone.

Sleep paralysis doesn’t discriminate and it can happen to anyone. Most people will experience sleep paralysis at least once in their lifetime.

7. You need more sleep. 

It is said that sleep paralysis often times stems from exhaustion. Lack of sleep can do some strange things to the body…that is why a good nights rest…every night…is important.

8. There is no definite cause.

Researchers have speculated what may cause sleep paralysis, however no definitive answers have been given. Some say medications, lack of sleep, stress and depression are all causes.

What is known, is the fact that sleep paralysis can happen on its own…or if it happens often, it can be associated with a sleep disorder.

9. It won’t kill you.

Research does show that there is no evidence that sleep paralysis will kill you and that is not a dangerous occurrence.

It doesn’t cause any harm to the body and there have been zero recorded deaths from sleep paralysis.

Sleep tight!

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