At night we sleep peacefully, mostly that is. Nevertheless, it is difficult to find a person who has never struggled some strange and unpleasant feelings accompanying sleep.
© Henry Fuseli/wikipedia
How it feels: The person wakes up at night and cannot move. Added to this are frightening hallucinations and a feeling that there is someone else in the room. In antiquity, this state was associated with mischiefs of evil spirits.
Why it happens: Normally, when we fall asleep, we are paralyzed so that we don’t sleepwalk and such. With sleep paralysis, our muscles “turn off” when the brain is awake.
Approximately 7% of the population have experienced sleep paralysis at least once (source). They say this is more likely when sleeping on the back.
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How it feels: When a person is on the verge of sleeping but still awake, he sees weird pictures before his eyes. Often these are scary faces and fantastic creatures.
Why it happens: This is one of a few types of hallucination that mentally healthy people may have. Children have them more often (source), which could be the reason they don’t want to go to sleep. Such hallucinations may be due to stress or simply a good imagination. They can also appear if you go to bed drunk.
How it feels: Usually, the person who suffers from somniloquy (a fancy term for sleep talking) has no idea about it. This condition is absolutely not dangerous psychologically, though a person with such a problem may worry about blurting out secrets.
Why it happens: Men and children are more prone to this (source), and the reason is stress. The person’s psyche is trying to resist what he or she does not agree with in reality.
How it feels: The person sees a dream, then wakes up, but strange things continue to happen to him. It turns out he was just dreaming that he woke up. This has been explored in the movie Inception. Upon the film’s success, many people reported having experienced this phenomenon.
Why it happens: Esotericists believe that if you have such a dream, this indicates your predisposition to spiritual practices. Official science can’t explain why this happens.
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