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Sleep. 1992 Jun;15(3):217-25.

Isolated sleep paralysis elicited by sleep interruption.

Author information

1
Department of Psychology, Waseda University, Tokyo, Japan.

Abstract

We elicited isolated sleep paralysis (ISP) from normal subjects by a nocturnal sleep interruption schedule. On four experimental nights, 16 subjects had their sleep interrupted for 60 minutes by forced awakening at the time when 40 minutes of nonrapid eye movement (NREM) sleep had elapsed from the termination of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep in the first or third sleep cycle. This schedule produced a sleep onset REM period (SOREMP) after the interruption at a high rate of 71.9%. We succeeded in eliciting six episodes of ISP in the sleep interruptions performed (9.4%). All episodes of ISP except one occurred from SOREMP, indicating a close correlation between ISP and SOREMP. We recorded verbal reports about ISP experiences and recorded the polysomnogram (PSG) during ISP. All of the subjects with ISP experienced inability to move and were simultaneously aware of lying in the laboratory. All but one reported auditory/visual hallucinations and unpleasant emotions. PSG recordings during ISP were characterized by a REM/W stage dissociated state, i.e. abundant alpha electroencephalographs and persistence of muscle atonia shown by the tonic electromyogram. Judging from the PSG recordings, ISP differs from other dissociated states such as lucid dreaming, nocturnal panic attacks and REM sleep behavior disorders. We compare some of the sleep variables between ISP and non-ISP nights. We also discuss the similarities and differences between ISP and sleep paralysis in narcolepsy.

PMID:
1621022
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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