Am I paralyzed when I sleep?
One of my clients recently asked me whether she is paralyzed when she sleeps. As it is a really interesting question, I would like to share my answer to my client with you.
One of her issues is that she feels very uncomfortable when she sleeps. We discussed her relationship with sleep, and we figured out that sleep is very closely related to helplessness, being exposed and especially the idea of being paralyzed when you are sleeping.
Yes, to some extent you are paralyzed. What is really important to understand however, is that sleep or being asleep is not the same as being unconscious. You’ll probably understand this best if you've ever shared a bed with a baby or with an animal. Depending on what moves they make, even when you are asleep, you will react. You will roll to the side. You will just know, as your body is not completely switched off.
However, when you are dreaming, or when you are in REM stage, you are paralyzed just to protect yourself. If you weren’t, you would be under the possibility to act out whatever you are dreaming, which could potentially be really harmful.
One of the issues that people encounter, when researching sleeping pills, is that the pills sedate some nerves, some channels and so you might still be moving because it's a sedation that doesn't work exactly the same. That is why a lot of people, who are under the influence of sleeping pills, are sleep walking or moving. So it's not quite working the way that nature intended it.
However, there are some people who also move quite a lot in their REM sleep without the influence of pharmaceuticals and to some extent, it's been shown that this might be a slight defect. If that happens to you or if you do this very often, I'm not talking about a twitch here, but literally acting out what you're dreaming, I would go and see a sleep specialist in a sleep clinic, where they can check you out. I am not saying this to scare or paralyze you. To some extent, this has been shown as having a correlation with people who might have certain diseases related to aging and brain issues. It's not necessarily cause and effect. But it might be a good idea to have it checked out. That is the only time when your body is basically protecting you and when you are, to some extent, paralyzed.
Please know that yes, when you are asleep you are exposed, but you are not unconscious.
Sometimes we react to situations that are threatening to us, even when we are asleep. It's when you hear a certain noise that is super loud and you're just triggered and wake up. Your body knows. Just trust it. It's not something to be scared of and nature knows what she's doing.
I hope this was helpful. Let me know if you have any other questions, so that I can answer them next week.
Have a lovely week.