Sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a neurological phenomenon in which a person awakens from sleep but is temporarily paralyzed.

The episode may last a few seconds to minutes and is accompanied by the strangest hallucinations. It can feel terrifying.

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  • Understanding what is happening during sleep paralysis helps to prevent fear cycles. People are relieved to hear they are not "crazy".
  • Literally turn your back on the terrifying monster by dreaming a coherent dream in which you are aware you are dreaming.
  • Meditation relaxation (MR) therapy was designed to treat sleep paralysis. The treatment includes techniques of cognitive reappraisals, emotional distancing, meditation, and muscle relaxation.
Out-of-body experiences

Sleep paralysis can sometimes make us feel like we're floating outside our body. The out-of-body experience can reliably be reproduced in the laboratory by disrupting the temporo-parietal junction in the brain. This region helps build a body image based on inputs it receives from the senses. The area is usually turned off during REM sleep.

In sleep paralysis, there is no feedback from the body telling the brain how to build the body image, resulting in out-of-body hallucinations such as seeing your body float in the air or sink deep into the bed.

Sleep paralysis often occurs when we take a nap, when jet-lagged or sleep-deprived. We wake up while still in the stage where vivid dreams occur, called the rapid eye movement sleep (REM).

During REM, the front brain - central to our ability to plan and think logically - turns off and makes our bodies temporarily paralyzed. It prevents us from acting out "real" dreams. Sometimes we wake up in this stage. The vivid and sometimes threatening dreaming of REM can "spill over" into conscious awakening. It can feel like a nightmare coming alive.

Seeing a ghost

The most distressing during sleep paralysis is seeing an intruder that sometimes attacks the sleeper. Anything the imagination can invent can happen. Commonly, the intruder chokes the person by crushing his chest. The creature can include details like a demonic face with sharp teeth and cat eyes.

One explanation is that in the same way that people who are born with a missing arm may experience phantom limbs - they feel the missing limb - a person can 'feel' another phantom person during sleep paralysis.

Research suggests that your beliefs about sleep paralysis can shape your experience.

In Denmark, people see sleep paralysis as something trivial caused by the brain. Egyptians fear dying from sleep paralysis and consequently have longer episodes. The fear will activate fear areas in the brain, making them more likely to wake up during REM. The escalating anxiety would worsen sleep paralysis, causing more intense bodily hallucinations.

  • Make the change gradually. Don't let your body go into shock. It is preferred if you set your alarm 15-20 mins earlier for the past several weeks until your adjusted to your ideal schedule.
  • Consistency is key.
  • Limit exposure to light an hour before bed because it blocks the body's production of melatonin.
  • Avoid stimulating activities during the time you should be asleep.

What you participate in or what your daily activities are are usually what reinforces your chronotype.

The Sleep-Wake Cycle

A chronotype is what a person's sleep cycle calls under, whether they're a night owl, an early bird, or somewhere in between.

One's chronotype is determined by a combination of nature and nurture. Respectively, one's genes determine whether one prefers to be awake late at night or early in the morning; whereas nurture is how we choose our lifestyle.

Being in a bad place mentally is extremely difficult when going through it alone, however, the good thing about the modern world is it offers three main sources for solace:

  1. Psychiatric medicine
  2. Cognitive Behavior Therapy (CBT)
  3. Psychotherapy.

At a first glance, it seems like psychotherapy is not an option you'd like to get yourself involved in since it requires a large amount of your time, active engagement, and sustained emotional efforts.

However, psychotherapy is a great way to correct our self-ignorance in the most profound ways. It provides a safe space to let ourselves heal consciously.

When administered correctly, the medicine we get from our psychiatrist helps correct the chemical imbalances of our brain that help us get through our daily lives.

The side effects of these may range from nausea to sleepiness, but with it, we'd be able to function... more or less.

  1. We are able to make our unconscious feelings become conscious. Since experiencing trauma we are unable to grasp what we truly long for. We learn here crucial ideas and feelings that come from our unconscious to be exposed and healed.
  2. Transference. Here we learn where our impulses come from and develop less self-defeating ways of interacting with people moving forward.
  3. It is most likely our first good relationship. The therapist is the first truly supportive and reliable person we've encountered.

These are psychiatric sessions that last around 6 to 10 hours where we learn techniques to argue rationally with our irrational mind.

Our internal persecutors like paranoia, low self-esteem, shame, and panic, will be tackled. We'll then be able to distinguish facts from irrational thoughts.

Everyone who's been to a spa knows how relaxing the atmosphere of the place. You can do that too at home by lighting an aromatic candle, lights down low, some calm relaxing music playing in the background, and a diffuser with green tea and bamboo oil is scenting up the place.

De-stress yourself with those and include a little stretching here and there, but don't forget to drink your water.

Work hours are up! It's time to get some relaxation going and it's harder to relax with constant buzzing from your work e-mail and it's extremely tempting to check them.

Practice "Out of sight, out of mind."

Another day has passed and it's time to wind yourself down again. Meditation changes our state of mind. It can energize you, soothe calmness into you, or even both. It allows our bodies to become present in the moment.

If meditation isn't for you, there are other ways to sooth yourself like the box-breathing method, or yoga.

Make a list of remaining tasks

There are some projects that we aren't able to finish in a day, but luckily for us, there's always a chance to finish it tomorrow.

So whatever task you have left from work, jot it down so you won't forget about it.

Do something physical

Either you just take a walk around the block for 15 minutes or have an extreme workout session at the gym, it can help get your mind off of work.

Sometimes its better to get your blood going, stretch your limbs, and transition into relaxation mode.

After a long day of working, call a friend and just share laugh with them. Or just have an intimate conversation with your significant other.

"A simple video call with your loved ones is just a humanizing feeling, it helps us reconnect and regenerate the jolt to put the workday behind."

  • As it reduces the risk of food poisoning and extends shelf life, it, however, affects the texture, flavor, and nutritional value of certain food;
  • It affects several vitamins such as vitamin A concentration increases, while the concentration of vitamin B2 decreases;
  • It may cause softening of tissues on vegetables, nutrient changes - some increasing and some diminishing;
  • It loses some aroma compounds for fruit juices and reduces vitamin C and carotene.
  • In 1864, Louis Pasteur developed the technique to heat wine before aging it to kill microbes and reduce its acidity. Hence, the name pasteurization.
  • However, the process itself has been around way before Louis Pasteur. It was popularly used in China to preserve wine in 1117AD.
  • The main reason why it is named in his honor is due to his research that pointed towards microorganisms as the culprit for spoilage and disease that led to the Germ Theory of Disease.

It now is able to disinfect food and inactivate soilage enzymes without significantly diminishing nutrient levels, this includes both thermal and non-thermal processes.

  • It is the process of applying low heat to kill pathogens and extend shelf life of food and beverage products.
  • The process does not eliminate bacterial spores, so it doesn't truly sterilizes products.
  • Pasteurization earlier use was to improve the flavor or food and beverages but not it's primarily for food safety.
  • It greatly reduces risk of food poisoning.
  • The process is dependent on the nature of the product and whether it is packaged or not.
  • Liquids and products packaged in plastic and metal containers can be pasteurized either through steam or hot water.
  • Packaged food in glass containers can be pasteurized too by using hot water with the consideration of the glass's breaking point.
  • The temperature and duration of the process of pasteurization are delicately controlled.

Milk offers a place where numerous pathogens grow and increase in numbers, including those that may cause tuberculosis, scarlet fever, E. coli, and more.

Before pasteurization, raw milk has been many milk-related diseases and deaths; only after the pasteurization process was introduced, milk-related diseases dropped drastically.

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