Tuesday, August 03, 2004

sleep paralysis

Am quoting verbatim from today's link, because 'RobotPerson', another brighton-based blogger, has not got post links on his blog so I can't link directly to this entry; still, it appears on 29 June if you do want to click through and scroll down to it. I'd recommend you take a look anyway.

: "Today on the train I had my first encounter with the strange phenomenon known as sleep paralysis. One moment I was comfortably dozing, the next I was awake but completely unable to move. From my closed eyelids to my leaden limbs I was conscious, but utterly frozen. It was very, very strange...

Sleep paralysis happens when a normal brain function goes slightly awry: During normal REM sleep the part of the brain that controls movement becomes paralysed - a necessity, as otherwise we'd physically act out our dreams. I remember once seeing a clip of a sleeping cat who had this paralysis effect somehow bypassed. The dreaming cat was jumping around and swatting the air, acting out his dreams of catching birds (cats dreams must be good fun).

The sleep paralysis effect occurs when the switch that releases the paralytic hold on the body for some reason doesn't flip. An alert mind in a totally locked body is the result, and if you're thinking that this sounds pretty scary, you're spot on.

This morning I'd been drifting in and out of sleep all the way in - I'm feeling drained right now after the exertions of the stag. I remember coming-to somewhere around City Thameslink thinking that I had a few more minutes to doze. Next thing I know, I can feel and hear the train pulling into a station but can't move at all. Particularly worrying was not being to open my eyes, although it felt much more like I just couldn't see than I had my eyes closed".

In fact, I'll stop there. Click through to read the rest of the post. June 29th, remember.

8 comments:

BB said...

[shudder] That's horrible, but they do say that sleep is when the nightmares start...

I always feel even more tired after sleeping on the train (which is most days).

jonathan said...

There's some fascinating stuff in William Boyd's Armadillo - a book I've mentioned before - on sleep, but I'd not come across sleep paralysis before. It's really interesting. Sleep does funny things for people; I know Vic, too, feels terrible after sleeping in the day time, but I feel much better; even sleeping for 5 minutes on the train makes me feel much improved. Odd.

jonathan said...

That said, I have to actually get up first in order to feel the benefit. Just sleeping straight through in the morning makes me feel absolutely awful. Sleeping past 10am just wrecks my day.

BB said...

The one all-conquering pro of kipping on the train is the way it makes the time fly. I normally get either 15 mins (woken up by someone kicking me as they get off at E Croydon) or else 45 mins (being kicked at Haywards Heath). And seeing as it's uncomfortable to read or listen to music on slam-door trains with the windows right down, that's useful ... in a very sad kind of way :-)

jonathan said...

Ah, I'm terribly intolerant of open windows on trains. Many is the journey which whizzes by just because I'm stalking up and down the carriage slamming windows up and glaring at other passengers.

stuart caughlin said...

I've been experiencing this phenomenon for a while now. It really is frightening. I find that I have to brutally force myself awake. Tonight I woke up after having a mild experience of it but really did not want to go back to sleep in case it happened again. As I began to drift off I felt a charge of energy surge through my body like a slow electric shock accompanied by a ringing sound. It really was unusual. Having read some stuff about this, it appears as though it could be helpful in some way to experiencing lucid dreaming. I'm going to go and give this a go now as lucid dreaming sounds like excellent fun!

Chris said...

One-third of all adult Americans--about 50 million people--complain about their sleep. Some sleep too little, some fitfully, and some too much. Although one-third of our lives is spent asleep, most of us don't know much about sleep, not even our own. We don't even know exactly why we sleep, other than--like an overnight battery recharge--sleep promotes daytime alertness. Sleep problems profoundly disturb both sleeping and waking life.

Some useful resources to help you out from all kinds of sleep disorders
http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov
http://www.sleepdisordersguide.com
http://www.stanford.edu

Anonymous said...

Thankx for those resources.