Paranormal or Parasomnia? Phantoms in the night or something far less sinister?
It wasn't until I was involved in the paranormal community that I researched sleep disorders and how they might relate to the paranormal. I learned a lot about my own sleep disturbances and garnered new information to use in the field. I was taught to debunk every possible cause before assuming something other worldly is haunting the client. I found myself mulling over medical articles, books and websites looking into many interesting sleep disorders scientifically known as Parasomnia.
Before I proceed I also feel it's important to note that I do believe in the paranormal and I've experienced my fair share in the paranormal field to make me a believer. As interesting as the possibility may be that something could be paranormal, debunking is still part of the job while investigating. This means checking for more than creaky doors and loose floorboards. It tasks us to ask the client about themselves, their religion, their lifestyle and even their sleep habits. It's important that investigators work to rule out other possibilities for their clients experiences before telling them that their home has become a haven for the afterlife.
Now let's take a look at some of the not so well known, alternatives to the paranormal that you or a client could be suffering from. Can parasomnia be a cause of unwanted night time disturbances?
Have you ever heard your name called out in the night? It had to be real right? After all, the sound was very real and you weren't quite asleep yet. The noise heard could be an eerie whisper that sends one shooting straight up in bed or maybe it was a loud and clear voice calling out a name? Whether it was a spirit or not, it's important to know that there are alternative possibilities.
Let's first take a look at Auditory hallucinations (Paracusia). Auditory hallucinations occur when you start to fall asleep or during the beginning stages of sleep. These dreams can completely trick you into believing you're hearing things. Typically, several minutes after our head hits the pillow our brain goes into a neutral state referred to as REM (Rapid Eye Movement). It's during this time that the brain can start the dream process. It's also within this sleep stage that we can experience sounds, and voices that seem very real when it's actually caused by our brain relax