Why do people see/hear terrifying things during sleep paralysis?


I understand not being able to move and feeling like you can’t breathe, since your body is still in sleep mode. But why do sufferers so often see or even hear things that are so absolutely terrifying? Is it something to do with REM sleep? If so, why is it always frightening things? (I don’t know about other people, but my one experience with sleep paralysis scared me way more than any nightmare I’ve ever had, although that seems to be true for most from what I’ve read of others’ experiences.)

In: Biology

So there is a part of your brain that basically paralyzes your body while you dream. This prevents you from hurting yourself by doing what you’re dreaming of. Sleep paralysis is when you’re brain is basically generating dreams, but your conscious mind is also working. This most frequently happens when you’re in a phase of sleep called rem sleep or rapid eye movement sleep, which is the lightest phase of sleep. However studies have shown that most people awoken in the middle of rem sleep have nightmares at that point. You don’t remember most of them if you’re not woken up. So basically you’re having a nightmare, while being awake, and your body is paralyzed because your brain doesn’t realize you’re awake.

A related question – I’ve had this experience and was amazed how my brain was able to overlay the nightmare onto what I was actually seeing with my open eyes, or at least that’s what it seemed to me. Anyone know how this can happen? It was basically like augmented reality. I was frozen in bed and burglars were coming through the window. It was so real and totally terrifying. The alternative would be that it was an eyes-shut dream, but my room was perfectly reproduced as far as I could tell, which is not normal with dreaming I think. Just putting this out there.

On the subject of nightmares & sleep paralysis,
I once had a bad episode, I woke up paralyzed, but I see myself get out of bed? And I walk to the mirror on the wall in front of my bed and stare at myself.
But then we both make eye contact, and I’m trying to scream but I can’t, but the ME that got out of bed is.
I finally snapped out of it, cried and ran to my parents room.
The creepy part is, the scream it let out was demonic.

The brain is fucked

Argghhh I hate my sleep paralysis demon. He sucks! He stands at the end of my bed and tries ‘steal’ my soul from my body. Its absolutely terrifying and at the time it feels real. I can see it and I’m trying to scream out. I find I get it when I’m asleep on my back and I’m over heated. I had them nearly every night when I was pregnant and I could only sleep on my back/side. My dad still suffers from sleep paralysis too. Brains are strange.

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