Sleep paralysis - New York News

Sleep paralysis

Posted: Updated:
NEW YORK (MYFOXNY) -

The painting called "the nightmare" is one of the classic depictions of sleep paralysis, when people become conscious after sleep but are unable to move because their muscles are so relaxed. For some people it can be terrifying.

"There are certain things which come up again and again including a sense -- a very strong sense -- there's a presence in the room with you, there's something, usually something evil," says Carla MacKinnon. She has directed a documentary film about sleep paralysis for the Royal College of Arts in London. Her own experiences with sleep paralysis led her to work on the documentary.

"I wanted to find out why people seem to get these same kind of narratives that come up again and again," she says, "I started looking into the mythology of it."

There have been myths and folklore: from witches casting spells over people to demons haunting their bedrooms. But there's a more realistic explanation about what causes sleep paralysis.

Dr. Steven Feinsilver, director of the center for sleep medicine at Mt. Sinai School of Medicine, says anxiety and stress are often to blame. He says it is normal for your muscles to be relaxed during dreams.

"The problem is if you are awake during that time... you can have the sensation that you can't move, which can be really frightening," Feinsilver says. He estimates that at least one in 10 people has experienced sleep paralysis and that it is actually more common than people even realize.

"If I were to ask the general public, 'Have you ever had the feeling as you were waking up, particularly, that you were kind of awake but you couldn't move?' I think a lot of people might agree with that," he says, adding that the best treatment is reassuring people that they are not going crazy.

"It's not going to hurt you," he says, "it can be really annoying."

So, don't worry about demons climbing under the covers with you or evil spirits haunting you.

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • Friday Night Live: August 29, 2014

    Friday Night Live: August 29, 2014

    Friday, August 29 2014 11:14 PM EDT2014-08-30 03:14:33 GMT

    This is Fox 5's Friday Night Live, a weekly celebration of the end of the work week. All summer long, the Fox 5 team brings you the latest in entertainment, nightlife, food, and music in our area. In this jam-packed episode: Electric Zoo Festival, Beth Shak, Richard Albrecht, Kathy Wakile, and Moses Laboy .

    This is Fox 5's Friday Night Live, a weekly celebration of the end of the work week. All summer long, the Fox 5 team brings you the latest in entertainment, nightlife, food, and music in our area. In this jam-packed episode: Electric Zoo Festival, Beth Shak, Richard Albrecht, Kathy Wakile, and Moses Laboy .


  • Cocktails with Moses Laboy

    Cocktails with Moses Laboy

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:49 PM EDT2014-08-30 02:49:46 GMT
    Mixologist Moses Laboy came to Friday Night Live to mix up some cocktails to get us started on the holiday weekend. Born and raised in Spanish Harlem, Laboy has mixed drinks at Red Rooster, Los Americanos, Le Colonial NYC, and elsewhere. He has served drinks to President Obama and President Clinton.
    Mixologist Moses Laboy came to Friday Night Live to mix up some cocktails to get us started on the holiday weekend. Born and raised in Spanish Harlem, Laboy has mixed drinks at Red Rooster, Los Americanos, Le Colonial NYC, and elsewhere. He has served drinks to President Obama and President Clinton.
  • Business is good at Coney Island

    Business is good at Coney Island

    Friday, August 29 2014 10:22 PM EDT2014-08-30 02:22:32 GMT
    From the brand-new Thunderbolt roller coaster to the world-famous boardwalk, tourists and business owners alike say Coney Island had a great ride of its own this summer. Toms Coney Island's general manager Vasilios Tourlokas says the mild summer impacted his boardwalk business in the best way possible: a 10 to 15 percent increase.
    From the brand-new Thunderbolt roller coaster to the world-famous boardwalk, tourists and business owners alike say Coney Island had a great ride of its own this summer. Toms Coney Island's general manager Vasilios Tourlokas says the mild summer impacted his boardwalk business in the best way possible: a 10 to 15 percent increase.
Powered by WorldNow
Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | New Terms of Service What's new | Ad Choices