Friday, April 8, 2016

Sleep Paralysis linked to Genetics

In my younger years, I believed that I was the only one in the world who hated sleep.  It seemed like every time I closed my eyes, I would be abruptly awoken by some demonic entity breathing on me: I would shout and try to fight it off only to realize that I was unable to move or talk.  This hellish encounter occurred all the time (it seemed like), and I never understood why this happened to me.  It wasn’t until years later that I realized this hallucination was a condition called, Sleep Paralysis. 
Sleep paralysis occurs during the REM stage of sleep, during this stage, muscles in your body are paralyzed, (which explains why I was unable to move). 

This article touches upon how this condition could be genetically related and could possibly passed to offspring.  Researchers compared the genes of 862 identical and non-identical twins and found that 50% (of both groups) had suffered from sleep paralysis.  After comparing the genes, researchers found a specific gene called PER2- “which is linked to daily cycles of wakefulness called circadian rhythms”.  The researchers discovered that any one who had the alteration of this gene were more likely to have sleep paralysis. 

I have suffered from sleep paralysis almost daily in my youth, and after reading that “sleep paralysis seems to be gene influenced” is a scary thought to knowing that my children could possibly suffer from this phenomenon. 

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