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The terrors of sleep paralysis - Ami Angelowicz

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  • 11,433 Questions Answered
  • TEDEd Animation

Let’s Begin…

Imagine you’re fast asleep and then suddenly awake. You want to move but can’t, as if someone is sitting on your chest. And you can't even scream! This is sleep paralysis, a creepy but common phenomenon caused by an overlap in REM sleep and waking stages. Ami Angelowicz describes just how pervasive (but harmless) it is and introduces a cast of characters from sleep paralysis around the world.

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TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Adam Comiskey
  • Educator Ami Angelowicz
  • Animator Rob Vaughan
  • Artist Sam Davies
  • Narrator Ami Angelowicz
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Sleep: Sleep paralysis is caused by an abnormal overlap of the REM (rapid eye movement) and waking stages of sleep. Learn more about the stages of sleep.
Dreams
Sleep disorders: Here are some other freaky sleep disorders.
In this short talk, Arianna Huffington shares a small idea that can awaken much bigger ones: the power of a good night's sleep. Instead of bragging about our sleep deficits, she urges us to shut our eyes and see the big picture: We can sleep our way to increased productivity and happiness -- and smarter decision-making.
In today's world, balancing school, work, kids and more, most of us can only hope for the recommended eight hours of sleep. Examining the science behind our body's internal clock, Jessa Gamble reveals the surprising and substantial program of rest we should be observing.
Here's a cool Reddit post about sleep paralysis.
Russell Foster is a circadian neuroscientist: He studies the sleep cycles of the brain. And he asks: What do we know about sleep? Not a lot, it turns out, for something we do with one-third of our lives. In this talk, Foster shares three popular theories about why we sleep, busts some myths about how much sleep we need at different ages -- and hints at some bold new uses of sleep as a predictor of mental health.
Avatar for Duc Do
Duc Do • Sofia, Bulgaria • LESSON IN PROGRESS
06/13/2014 • 
 6 Responses
 / 6 Updates
Avatar for Paul Woodward
It would be interesting to see the other side of this phenomenon: sleepwalking. If REM Atonia is supposed to keep us paralyzed while we sleep, how does sleepwalking occur?
06/04/2014 • 
 2 Responses
 / 2 Updates
Avatar for Patrick Cardenas
I'm sure Ami A. is a nice person, and I appreciate the explanation (already heard same one years ago) but it's super annoying her explaining this like she's reading a god***n kids book. Sleep paralysis sucks and is scary as hell. I'm not saying it needs to be over dramatized, but don't read stuff like this like your explaining thunder to 5 year olds.
06/03/2014 • 
 1 Response
 / 1 Updates
Avatar for Paulina Frias
Paulina Frias • Guelph, Ontario, Canada • COMPLETED LESSON
I think it may be hard to understand exactly how this can cause a sight of something horrific instead of something more pleasant if you have not experienced it yourself.
07/30/2013 • 
 27 Responses
 / 27 Updates
Avatar for Wilson Camilo Llano
I think this phenomenal dreaming just happen rarely in one year.
11/08/2015 • 
 1 Response
 / 1 Updates
Avatar for Sreerupa Roy
Sreerupa Roy • Ranchi (Jharkhand), India • LESSON IN PROGRESS
I am sharing my personal experience and observation of sleep patterns of people around me. Sleep Paralysis happens to me many times and every time it happens, I find myself waking up with my arms crossed around my chest. Only this particular posture, none else. Is this medical condition anyway related to our sleeping posture? Has anyone else experienced the same?
11/01/2016 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for Vi Trinh Thanh Le
I haven't try, so i really want to know how do it feel?
11/08/2016 • 
 2 Responses
 / 2 Updates
Avatar for Andrés Olalla
11/05/2017 • 
 1 Response
 / 1 Updates
Avatar for jiovanni cervantes
idk sleep walking _mozzzy
05/24/2018 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates
Avatar for norah w
there might be different types of sleep paralisis. i know one thing. i could'nt speak or move.
04/07/2020 • 
 0 Responses
 / 0 Updates

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Create and share a new lesson based on this one.

About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Director Adam Comiskey
  • Educator Ami Angelowicz
  • Animator Rob Vaughan
  • Artist Sam Davies
  • Narrator Ami Angelowicz

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