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date: 03 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Sleep paralysis is an experience of being temporarily unable to move or talk during the transitional periods between sleep and wakefulness: at sleep onset or upon awakening. The feeling of paralysis may be accompanied by a variety of vivid and intense sensory experiences, including mentation in visual, auditory, and tactile modalities, as well as a distinct feeling of presence. This chapter discusses a variety of sleep paralysis experiences from the perspective of enactive cognition and cultural neurophenomenology. Current knowledge of neurophysiology and associated conditions is presented, and some techniques for coping with sleep paralysis are proposed. As an experience characterized by a hybrid state of dreaming and waking, sleep paralysis offers a unique window into phenomenology of spontaneous thought in sleep.

Keywords: sleep paralysis, sleep, neurophenomenology, dreaming, neurophysiology, spontaneous thought

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