Throughout history there have been reports of demons who visit us in the night. They come in the middle of sleep, when you can’t move. The apparition makes it hard to breathe; you would scream if you could. Cultures call the experience everything from “witch riding” to “night pressure,” but what is it really? Are ghosts to blame for terror in the night, or could it be something more psychological?
In my latest Because Science, I’m breaking down the science of sleep paralysis, a phenomenon we’ve only discovered relatively recently. Now, it could be that ghosts appear at your bedside, eager to strangle, but sleep paralysis explains most of these symptoms without the supernatural element. When disturbed sleep cycles are combined with paralyzing neurotransmitters and culturally universal images of ghosts and demons, sleep paralysis just might be the better explanation. Even for alien abduction stories.
Have you ever had sleep paralysis? Since I learned about the condition, my demons stopped bothering me. I hope the episode might help you take power back from the paranormal too.
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