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Definition of Sleep Paralysis

  • Updated February 12, 2022
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The person or figure who stands at the foot of the victim’s bed is the `Sleep Demon”. In Old English, the name for these beings was mare or mære (from a proto-Germanic *marōn, cf. Old Norse mara), hence comes the mare part in nightmare. The word might be etymologically cognate to Greek Marōn (in the Odyssey) and Sanskrit Māra. Different countries have a different way of describing the sleep demon figure such as the way the demon looks, its task, and how it terrorizes the victim . In certain parts of Brazil, there are folkloric tales of a creature with long fingernails that lurks on people’s rooftops during the night ( Miller).

The creature, called ‘Pisadeira,’ comes into a person’s house and tramples on the chests of those who sleep. In Spain, the demon has the tale of the ‘Pesanta,’ a black animal, often a dog or a cat, that invades people’s homes and sits on their chests while they are asleep, making it difficult to breathe and causing nightmares. In Newfoundland, Canada, it’s the ‘Old Hag ” that comes and sits on a sleeping person.

And among an ethnic group in Vietnam and Laos, a ‘pressing spirit’ sits on sleepers’ chests and tries to asphyxiate them ( Miller). The idea of a weight holding someone down is also reflected in the terminology used in Mexico to describe sleep paralysis. Translated from Spanish, the phrase means ‘a dead body climbed on top of me.’In Inuit culture, for example, people tell of shamans who can cast a spell when a person is sleeping, causing an experience called ‘uqumangirniq,’ during which a person can’t move, talk or scream and is visited by a shapeless or faceless presence (Miller).

Sleep paralysis is a non curable terrifying situation that only some people have to experience during their lifetime. Sleep paralysis is called the sleep demon which is the ancient, story told figure that is told to be suffocating and choking the sleep victim.The thirty second to two minute episode, causes the person to be scared to sleep and not ever want to go into a slumber for another second. The terrifying episodes affect people in several negative ways such as getting no sleep, being scared to go to sleep, and stress. If a person gets no sleep, that can cause him/her to perform negatively in daily activities the person participates in.

Sleep paralysis is terrifying and stressful to go through, and the causes of the episodes are still not determined if its caused by lack of sleep, genetics, or actual demons. Some people have it once a year and some can have it every week. The next task is to find out how to stop the terrifying episodes so that people can finally go to sleep peacefully and enjoy the next day with energy and happiness.

Cite this paper

Definition of Sleep Paralysis. (2022, Feb 12). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/definition-of-sleep-paralysis/

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