What is sleep paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is a type of parasomnia, or sleep disorder. It typically occurs when you are either falling asleep (hypnogogic) or when you are waking up (hypnopompic). During both of these times, your eyes move quickly and dreams occur as part of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, but your muscles are very relaxed.
If you wake up before this stage ends, you may realize that you are unable to move or speak. A subset of people also experience hallucinations. These can include:
- A feeling of foreboding
- The sense that someone is in your room
- The sensation of something pressing on your chest or choking you
- An image of a monster, witch, demon, or other menacing figure.