sleep paralysis

2010

video

Creating an archive of cinematic accounts

I met Ray at a party. Like many people I encounter, he confessed to having a sleep disorder once I revealed to him that I had been studying sleep science. Sleep Paralysis is a condition he has been experiencing off and on since puberty. His mother has it, as does his grandfather.

After hearing him speak briefly about his condition, I asked if he could retell his experiences to me on film. We met at his place and shared a meal. After dinner, I set up my camera and tripod in his bedroom. He sat on his bed. I took a seat across from him and pressed record.

“Sleep paralysis is partial or complete paralysis during the onset of sleep or upon awakening. Patients are awake and conscious during the attack…sleep paralysis is often very frightening, due to the inability to move, speak, or communicate during the episode. Sleep paralysis may also occur in the general population, but usually is a fairly uncommon event.”

Geyer, James D., Richard B. Berry, and Paul R. Carney. Clinical Sleep Disorders. Philadelphia,  Pa; London: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, 2005.

[video excerpt]