Can we be “out” of our body? Characterization and clinical implications of out-of-body experiences during sleep paralysis: Preliminary results



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"Sleep paralysis is a period of transitory immobility which occurs during sleep onset or offset. It is characterized by the inability to perform voluntary movements when the person feels awake and conscious about the environment. During an episode of sleep paralysis can occur different types of hallucinations: The Intruder, characterized by the sense of an evil and threatening presence, visual and tactile hallucinations. The Incubus, characterized pressure on the chest and other body parts, breathing difficulties, feelings of suffocation, choking, pain and morbid thoughts of imminent death. Unusual body experiences which includes Illusory Movement Experiences (IMEs) and Out of Body Experiences (OBEs). IMEs are vestibular sensations such as the sensation of rolling or floating, and/or motor sensations of displacement without a visual component.The OBEs are an altered state of consciousness, defined as the experience in which an observer perceives the world from a point of view outside of their physical body. Unlike the other two components (incubus and intruder), during IMEs and OBEs the person may not feel body paralysis, and they are considered as more pleasant. OBEs during sleep paralysis can occur spontaneously or it can be induced with training by the recognition of an aura that precedes the experience. Here, we will discuss preliminary results of an online survey with subjects who had unusual sleep experiences, such as OBEs and Sleep Paralysis and its clinical implications."


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