Monday, January 26, 2009

Experiences I Do Not Recommend

I get this occasionally. Do not envy me.

Q: Since early childhood, I've suffered from sleep paralysis. My father suffered from it, as well as my brothers. There have been many times when I thought I'd never awaken from it. What causes it? What can I do to prevent it from happening?

A: For folks unfamiliar with your frightening affliction, here is a description: When you awaken from sleep, your body is temporarily frozen. For, on average, a period of 15 seconds to a minute, you're paralyzed. You can't move or speak, and there's often a feeling of suffocation. There may be a period of hallucinations where dreaming and consciousness overlap. It usually happens upon awakening, but can also happen when falling asleep.