The Frightening Experience Of Sleep Paralysis

Cultures throughout history have invented explanations for the frightening phenomenon of sleep paralysis. Some blamed the condition on demons or witches that would sit on the chests of victims, prompting people to call the experience "witch riding" or a visit from "old hag." In fact, superstitions about sleep paralysis gave us the word "nightmare," as the chest-sitting demons were also known as mare.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. The symptoms of sleep paralysis can include immobility, dread, auditory and visual hallucinations, and a sense of pressure on the throat or chest. 00:52

  2. During sleep, the brain releases the neurotransmitters Glycine and GABA to keep your body from moving and acting out your dreams. 01:59

  3. Sleep paralysis could be the explanation for many stories of alien encounters. 03:54

Written by Curiosity Staff November 25, 2015