What is the principle of "ghost press"? Scientific explanation: sleep paralysis

Learn about the science of sleep paralysis, also known as the "ghost press." Discover how to prevent and handle this phenomenon with our helpful tips.

Apr 18, 2023 - 17:36
Apr 23, 2023 - 14:55
What is the principle of "ghost press"? Scientific explanation: sleep paralysis
Sleep Paralysis


As you sleep in bed, you suddenly wake up and see a scary shadow in the room. You want to shout, but can't open your mouth at all...

This is the so-called "ghost press." According to statistics, 40% of people will encounter this terrifying phenomenon. It's also considered very unlucky among people.

So, is the ghost press really that scary?


What Causes Ghost Press?

The phenomenon known as "sleep paralysis" is a strange experience that scientists at the University of California, San Diego have linked to confusion in one area of the brain.

According to these scientists, sleep paralysis occurs when a person wakes up during rapid eye movement, which is when dreaming usually occurs. These rapid eye movement sessions last for 5 to 15 minutes and repeat every 90 minutes. During sleep paralysis, the person is awake but their muscles are almost paralyzed, which may be an evolutionary mechanism that prevents people from walking in their sleep.

While most people who experience sleep paralysis do not report seeing ghosts in the room or feeling pressure on their chests, a minority of people do. Scientists attribute this phenomenon to a disorder in one brain region, where parts of the brain may have a genetically inherent picture or template of the body. The researchers say that this intrinsic image arises in the parietal lobe, which is the upper-middle part of the brain. When a person wakes up suddenly during rapid eye movement, the parietal lobe monitors the neurons in the brain that command the muscles to move, but the limbs temporarily fall into paralysis, leading to confusion in the brain and resulting in hallucinations.

Most people panic when this phenomenon occurs and feel scared after waking up, thinking that they are being suppressed by some unknown object. As a result, there is a saying that has developed of a "ghost pressing the bed."


What to do when a ghost presses the bed?

If you experience symptoms of a ghost press, follow these steps to quickly restore your muscle tone: First, rotate your eyeballs quickly in circular motions, moving them up and down, left and right. Then, blink and contract the muscles around your mouth, move your jaw and tongue, and when muscle tension sets in, move your neck, shoulders, hands, fingers, legs, ankles, and toes. Finally, sit up and move all your muscles.


 How to prevent sleep paralysis? or How can you get out of sleep paralysis?

  1. Avoid eating before bedtime
    You may experience poor quality of sleep if you eat before going to bed since your stomach and intestines will not get the chance to rest, which can lead to an increased burden on these organs and other parts of the body.
  2. Don't overthink before bedtime
    Try not to engage in intense mental activities before bedtime. Allow your brain to relax and unwind, as this can help you fall asleep more easily. Otherwise, your brain may remain stimulated and make it difficult to sleep, potentially leading to insomnia.
  3. Avoid intense emotions before bed
    Strong emotions such as excitement or sadness can interfere with sleep, especially in children who have experienced negative events like physical punishment or verbal scolding. It is important to allow time for the child to calm down before trying to put them to sleep.
  4. Avoid conversations before bedtime
    Talking can excite people, making it difficult to fall asleep.
  5. Avoid consuming stimulating beverages before bedtime
    Strong tea and coffee can affect your nerves, leading to excitement and difficulty falling asleep.
  6. Don't sleep excessively
    According to some research, excessive sleep can cause dizziness, weakness, listlessness, and loss of appetite. The optimal sleep time is generally 6-8 hours, and excessive sleep can be detrimental to your overall well-being.

What's Your Reaction?








Sakib I am Sajedul Islam Sakib from Bangladesh. Currently, I am a student at AIUB studying computer science but I also like reading and learning new things, especially about Blogging and Education.