Researchers study sleep paralysis

Professor Chris French, has co-authored a paper on sleep paralysis with Julia Santomauro, both of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit at Goldsmiths, University of London,  which is published in Issue 22 (August 2009) of The Psychologist.

If you’ve never heard of sleep paralysis you’re lucky, according to the paper: “It appears that up to 50 per cent of the population will experience sleep paralysis in one form or another at least once in their lifetime, and some people experience it far more often than that”.

It’s easy to understand why reports of alien abductions are often associated with the phenomenon as “Attacks often involve feelings of intense fear, terror, bliss, joy, anger, and feelings of dying or imminent death. False awakenings are also commonly reported. The individual believes that they have awoken and that the episode is over, only to discover that they are still in fact asleep.”

“In addition, the individual might experience hallucinations. In a sample of 254 college students who had experienced sleep paralysis at least once (Cheyne et al., 1999), 75 per cent had concurrently experienced body paralysis and hallucinations.”

The team at Goldsmiths is now searching for more people who have experienced sleep paralysis or similar symptoms to come forward and speak to them about it for a further project on this fascinating phenomenon.

To take part in this important study, please contact the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit on 020 7919 7882 or e-mail [email protected]


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