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29 April 2010, JellyBean @ 8:13 am

If you have ever woken up in the middle of the night and found you can’t move, or even cry for help, you have experienced sleep paralysis. If, during this bizarre paralysis, you suddenly felt that someone—or something—was watching you, you have come face to face with the waking hallucination known as the Intruder. And if all this happens and then a ghastly creature resembling a gnome or a night elf crawls onto you to whisper sweet impish nothings into your ear, congratulations, you are one of the lucky ones to know the Incubus.

And you’re not alone.

Sleep Paralysis (SP) and its associated visions, known as hypnagogic hallucinations (HH), are still a mystery to medical science, even though 40% of the world’s population has experienced it at least once in their lives. Although a common symptom of narcolepsy and other sleep disorders, sleep paralysis can also be induced in healthy dreamers due to factors like sleep deprivation, jet lag, or too much cannabis before bed.

Normally in REM sleep, the body is paralyzed to prevent us from acting out our dreams. In sleep paralysis, the REM paralysis persists momentarily after we have “woken up.” But we’re not really awake—rather we are aware in a fugue state in between dreaming and the waking world. We literally project the dreamscape onto the landscape of our sleep environment.

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Reality Sandwich

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