Media Release

Sleep Paralysis: the waking nightmare explores the terrifying experience of sleep paralysis, what it is, what it means, and will it happen to you? Sleep Paralysis: the waking nightmare will be available on SoundCloud Friday 5 June 2020.

Sleep specialist, and creator of the educational resource SleepHub, Dr David Cunnington explains the paralysis and the terrifying visual imagery the disorder is infamous for, then unpacks with producer Gianni Francis the experience of sleep paralysis in contemporary culture and throughout history.

“Sleep paralysis is a sensation of being awake but having most muscles of the body paralyzed.  It’s usually something that’s transient, that only lasts a few minutes or so typically, but it can be really terrifying when it occurs because the only muscles that people find that work other muscles that can move their eyes,” Dr Cunnington says.

“If you look at how it’s been described historically over the centuries and across multiple cultures there is that common theme of vulnerability and a sort of hidden sinister presence that is either just lurking in the shadows or somewhere.”

Producer Gianni Francis says the use of expert voices and the anecdotal evidence of real people to take the listener on a horrifying journey that will have them afraid to go to sleep.

“We know little to nothing about dreams and where we go when we sleep. Sleep paralysis is popular among internet culture as a pseudo paranormal phenomenon, with many reporting similar visual imagery. We wanted to provide an immersing experience to the listener with a morbid curiosity”.

Gianni Francis hopes to bring this obscure subject into the light of day, exploring the phenomenon and culture surrounding sleep paralysis in culture and address misconceptions and mysteries alike.

Gianni Francis is a Media and Communications (journalism) student at La Trobe University, staff writer for La Trobe’s online magazine Upstart and the podcast editor for 3RRR FM’s program The Grapevine. Gianni has also written for The Junction Student Journalism.


Image Attribution
“No escape” by ezhikoff is licensed under CC BY 2.0, available here

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