• The Trojan Tribune Staff

Adventures With Sleep Paralysis

Dreams stem primarily from our distant memories, wishes and abstract thoughts rather than the vivid experiences from our waking life that we more easily remember. You can dream at any point in your sleep, but the most vivid dreams take place during rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. Some say dreams have no meaning or purpose, while others think we need dreams to improve our health. 

Studies show that people who were woken up right as they fell into REM sleep were more likely to experience anxiety, depression, weight gain, lack of coordination and a tendency to hallucinate alongside other side effects. The many different types of dreams include ordinary dreams, daydreams, nightmares, lucid dreams, recurring dreams and prophetic dreams. 

Some do not consider sleep paralysis to be a type of dreaming, while others do. Sleep paralysis is caused by a disturbed REM sleep cycle, as it mostly happens when people are falling into or coming out of REM sleep. Sleep paralysis is when you wake up but you cannot move any part of your body besides your eyes; you also cannot speak. The reason you cannot move during sleep paralysis is that while you are dreaming, the brain paralyzes your muscles so that you do not act out your dreams. Sleep paralysis is something I experience often and it is not always scary. 

One of my most exciting experiences with sleep paralysis happened last August, the morning of the first day of school. I remember it because I was terrified at first but then it got really weird in a way where it was not scary anymore; it even became kind of funny. When sleep paralysis first occurs, I think that most people feel scared because your brain will not allow you to move no matter how hard you try; I felt like that at first, too. Once I stopped to think, I realized it was sleep paralysis and started to calm down. I looked around my room and saw eerie black figures in front of my door. It became weirder when they started to move; I realized they were very small and boxy. They moved very quickly and I heard them whisper. It started to get funny when I decided to listen to what they were saying; they were all talking in Irish accents. 

The clock in my room read 6:37 and a small amount of light started to shine in my room, showing me that they were green. I quickly realized that I was seeing and hearing leprechauns. They started to crawl up my bed and sit on me. This is what I dislike about sleep paralysis; the things you see can touch you, and if they do, you can feel it. When they were sitting on me, they all sat quietly for around three minutes. They eventually stood up and started jumping on me-- this turned into the Irish jig. Once the sun came up more and my room was brighter, they went away and slowly I could start to move again. 

Overall, it was a fun experience for me and it taught me that sleep paralysis is not always a bad or scary thing. 


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