Waking up in the middle of the night, to see everything, hear everything.
But be unable to move a toe or push the slightest cry, as if it was enclosed in an inert body.
This is not a nightmare but a well-known phenomenon called “sleep paralysis”. A lot of people experience it once or twice in their lifetime, most often during the teenage years or early adulthood.
What causes this phenomenon? Should we be worried? The Figaro is the point.
What are the causes?”In reality, we should rather speak of a paralysis of the alarm clock,” says from the outset, Dr Bertrand Of The Giclais, head of the center of the sleep of the clinic of Argonay, near Annecy. A rare but well-known to physicians.
“This can occur at the time of the onset of sleep or if the person awakens during a stage of rem sleep, where we dream,” says the doctor sleep. During this phase, brain activity is intense, but the communication between the brain and the muscles is cut off. And this for a good reason: to prevent the person to shake and thus hurt during her dream. “When a person wakes up in the middle of a phase of rem sleep, there may be a short period of time where the muscular hypotonia maintains that the brain is “perfectly awakened”, explains Dr. . Of The Giclais. Where the impression to be paralyzed. This latency is always short-lived, a handful of seconds to a few minutes.
” READ ALSO – Why our brain is in desperate need of sleep, A phenomenon without gravitéBien that distressing, these paralyses night are without gravity: the people who experience it will eventually regain full control of their body. . Don’t panic so. . “This can occur in case of intense fatigue, sleep debt, acute: the body will not react as quickly as it should and the muscle tone will take a few seconds longer than normal to come back,” says the doctor, also a member of the French Society for research and sleep medicine.
Then you have to calm down to manage to end his night.
In the vast majority of cases, these awakenings nuisance occur very occasionally and are not the sign of an underlying problem.
But if the phenomenon repeats itself, it should put on the trail of a pathology little known: narcolepsy. “Approximately one third of patients with narcolepsy frequently experience sleep paralysis,” says Dr. . Of The Giclais.
In France, about 15,000 people are affected by this disease which manifests itself in particular by a need uncontrollable sleep during the day. “The people narcoleptics may also have auditory or visual hallucinations at the time of the onset of sleep as well as cataplexy, that is to say, a brutal loss of muscle tone in the case of emotion,” echoed the doctor.