When it comes to the human brain, a lot of questions still have no answer. But what about waking up and being unable to move, speak or open your eyes – all of that while feeling someone around you?
Is sleep paralysis caused by demons or is it just another weird brain activity?
The most commonly encountered symptoms of this condition are macabre hallucinations, out of body experiences, muscle weakness and sometimes a feeling of suffocation; it can occur either when falling asleep or just before waking up and may last up to one hour.
In the past, people believed that the phenomenon was caused by incubus and succubus, twodemons who supposedly visit humans while they’re asleep and paralyse their bodies for sexual intercourse. Also, they are known for inducing nightmares and creating terror during one’s sleep. Judging by the symptoms of sleep paralysis, there’s no wonder that many people still believe that this theory is, in fact, true.
On the other hand, many of the symptoms are scientifically explained – including the feeling that someone (or something) is near us in the room. Neurologists concluded that this event occurs due to a state of hyper-vigilance developed by the midbrain. When a person wakes up and realizes that they are unable to move, the brain realizes that the body is vulnerable and this hyper-vigilance state often causes hallucinations.
As for the other symptoms, it all comes down to a lack of synchronisation between the brain and the body – in other words, even though the brain is awaken, our bodies haven’t reacted the same way at the same time.
While this theory explains most of the strange things that occur during sleep paralysis episodes, hardly can they justify the seemingly demonic voices patients hear while attempting to awaken.