SLEEP PARALYSIS: RELIGION Vs SCIENCE.

Sonia is such a delight each time she comes visiting, and of course, we love movies. After we had lunch, we began to watch a horror movie, which was going on well until we got to a particular scene, where the lead character was hallucinating. While I enjoyed the movie, I found Sonia’s reaction to be over-the-top.

It was clear that the character was just having episodes of sleep paralysis but for Sonia, it was a demonic attack – one she had experienced. Of course, my curiosity was piqued and I sought to understand why she was so dramatic about it. 

The story below is a narration by Sonia, in her exact words:

“It was 2:05 am in the early hours of the morning, and I could feel it. There was an evil, menacing presence in my bedroom with me. Before me was my worst nightmare, standing at the foot of my bed. I willed my mind to stop playing jokes with me but this was serious. I was scared. I was terrified and worst of all, I couldn’t move a muscle. The shadowy figure, the demon with a wicked sneer, taunted me, all the while standing beside my bed”. 

Scientists say it’s mere hallucination linked to sleep paralysis, which occurs when a person is jolted awake in the middle of the rapid eye movement (REM) phase of sleep associated with dreaming. 

While the experience I had was like having a dream and waking up in the middle of it, it was too real to be a mere hallucination. No matter what it looks like, this creature leaves you terrified and seemingly trapped in your body, unable to move as it weighs down on you.

It was an attack. 

When it left, I regained consciousness and I began to sweat profusely with my heart racing. I made my way into my mother’s room, narrating the incident, she immediately screamed and said it’s an attack. Then she reached out her arms to console me and began to pray.

About 10 mins later, her phone rang. It was our family pastor. He said he just had a revelation. In it, the Lord opened his eyes to what was going on in the spiritual realm. It was a battle for the young. An arrow was fired at me from the spiritual realm. The enemy and his cohorts were battling to hinder me from shining and fulfilling purpose. The Lord said that it was an attack on my destiny and I needed to rise above it. Immediately, my pastor began to pray – he prayed for a long time, I noticed a shift in the atmosphere, I began to feel fine. There was this heavenly presence all over the house.

Sleep Paralysis or Demonic Attack?

Like Sonia, I’ve heard similar stories from people who have experienced sleep paralysis.  They all mention the presence of a monster-like man who draws closer, sits by their sides, tickles them, and in extreme cases, has sex with them. 

But on the contrary, sleep paralysis – that scary phenomenon in which the person might feel something or someone pressing down painfully on their chest, or trying to choke them is common and not in any way spiritual. 

The term sleep paralysis, which was first used in medical literature as far back as 1928, is estimated to affect 7.6% of the general population, 28.3% of students, and 31.9% of psychiatric patients, according to a review conducted by Brian A. Sharpless and Jacques P. Barber. Researchers define sleep paralysis as “a common, generally benign, parasomnia characterized by brief episodes of inability to move or speak combined with waking consciousness.” 

According to another research published in the Journal of Sleep Research, sleep paralysis happens a little before the usual time a person wakes (hypnopompic episodes), at some point during the course of sleep (hypnomesic episodes), or 1-3 hours after falling asleep (hypnagogic episodes). The researchers noted that the most common cases occur after 1-3 hours of falling asleep.

While sleep paralysis is most common in people with narcolepsy, it can happen to those without it as well. Research has shown that it affects both men and women, young and old. It is genetic, and common in people with depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and panic disorder. It can also be caused by a lack of sleep or a shift in sleep schedule.

During the dream phase of sleep, which is also known as the rapid eye movement sleep cycle (REM), the skeletal muscles present in the body become paralyzed. While there is no actual science to explain the body’s paralysis, efforts are being made to fully understand why this happens. One theory in popular posits that our bodies take this temporary paralysis to prevent us from hurting ourselves, in response to dreams, particularly violent ones.

During sleep paralysis, there is a disruption of the NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep cycle,  allowing our mind to become awake before the body. This means that while patients are usually awake or half-awake, often with varying degrees of awareness, the body remains immobilized, making it impossible for any movement to occur. In other cases, many people experience dreams, visions, and sensations, as though they were real. This, in turn, accounts for the hallucination which is only made worse by the fact that we are partly awake and conscious, blurring the line between dreams and reality.

What say you?

Of course, we couldn’t reach any consensus, hence the reason for this article. What’s your opinion? Do you believe there’s no such thing as sleep paralysis as science has proven or do you agree that sleep paralysis is not in any way spiritual or a form of attack? Have you had any experience?

We’ll be waiting for you in the comments section!

 

 

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5 thoughts on “SLEEP PARALYSIS: RELIGION Vs SCIENCE.”

  1. During Rems, our body produces Glycine and Gaba which switches off the part of the brain that allows muscle movement, this is to prevent us from acting our dream in reality and injuring ourselves. Sometimes we suddenly wake from Rems but glycine and Gaba are still active, we will he conscious but can’t move.. this is what sleep paralysis is. Now why people feel like it’s spiritual is actually indoctrination. Once you are awake even if you think about naira marley and not jesus Christ, you will be able to stand as your brain will start normal function back.

    Dreams happens to all living thing that can go into REMS, which includes chickens so chickens dream too. Which mean they can have the paralysis too technically. In their case, who is shooting them spiritual arrow??

  2. During Rems, our body produces Glycine and Gaba which switches off the part of the brain that allows muscle movement, this is to prevent us from acting our dream in reality and injuring ourselves. Sometimes we suddenly wake from Rems but glycine and Gaba are still active, we will he conscious but can’t move.. this is what sleep paralysis is. Now why people feel like it’s spiritual is actually indoctrination. Once you are awake even if you think about naira marley and not jesus Christ, you will be able to stand as your brain will start normal function back.

    Dreams happens to all living thing that can go into REMS, which includes chickens so chickens dream too. Which mean they can have the paralysis too technically. In their case, who is shooting them spiritual arrow??

    Essentially nothing spiritual about it

  3. @Von

    Your comment sounds like you are trying to invalidate someone’s experience. Glycine, Gaba, etc doesn’t in any way explain the personality people who have experienced sleep paralysis see. Not everything can be explained scientifically.

  4. That experience is very very scary. I’ve experienced it over and over. Then in school. It was lately too, I heard what it’s called *sleep paralysis*

    Mine, I do feel it, like someone is holding my leg strongly. And the strange this is I hardly feel in when I’m at home, it’s only there in my room in school. And it always occurs when I’m alone. I don’t think I’ve ever experience it when someone is with me. And as I struggle and wake up, my heart beats fast. Me I’ve lost counts of my experience with that

  5. Well, I wouldn’t disregard the scientists claims but the explanation of this experience by the scientists doesn’t cut it for me yet… maybe if there are further compelling explanations though… I have experienced it quite a number of times and the feeling is too real… I mean, you literally feel like someone is pressing you down… and the presence of whoever or whatever is pressing you feels so real like you can almost touch the entity… It’s almost an inexplicable experience really…

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