Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Eyes Wide Open, But Nothing Else is Working

Occasional sleep paralysis is normal. It is an evolutionary solution to the problem of reacting to one's dreams in a way that might cause injury. Running away from a dreamed-up terror could cause you to suddenly depart from your bed with dire, or perhaps just embarassing consequences. While asleep, we are generally unaware of this loss of voluntary muscle control, but sometimes our brain partially wakes up without reactivating the neural pathways that control skeletal muscles. The result is that you think that you've suddenly become completely paralyzed, because in fact you HAVE, though only temporarily. As frightening as it may be, sleep paralysis is usually no cause for alarm. Most every child will experience the condition at least once for a few terrifying, confusing, frustrating seconds, and adults can also experience the condition. there's nothing to worry about. Except, of course, if the ability to move is a particularly pressing need, such as when the Promethean eagles are swooping in for another meal of fresh liver.

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