Throughout human history, across different cultures, people have told tales about supernatural visitations during the night.
We now know that these stories refer to a condition known as sleep paralysis, a hybrid sleep/wake state whereby our muscles are largely paralysed but our brain ‘wakes up’.
Today we speak to psychology professor Christopher French about this common, and often frightening sleep disorder – how its symptoms manifest, the fascinating cross-cultural background and some strategies to help manage and cope with sleep paralysis
This Episode’s Guest
Professor Christopher French is the Head of the Anomalistic Psychology Research Unit in the Psychology Department at Goldsmiths, University of London. He has published over 150 articles and chapters covering a wide range of topics. His main current area of research is the psychology of paranormal beliefs and anomalous experiences. He frequently appears on radio and television casting a sceptical eye over paranormal claims.
Article in the Guardian: https://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2009/oct/02/sleep-paralysis
Sleep Paralysis Project: https://sleepparalysisproject.wordpress.com
Cheyne et al Factor Analysis: https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S105381009990404X
Article: Sleep paralysis demons
Episode Homepage: https://sleepjunkies.com/sleep-paralysis-explained/