A common condition characterized by transient partial or total paralysis of skeletal muscles and areflexia that occurs upon awakening from sleep or less often while falling asleep. Stimuli such as touch or sound may terminate the episode, which usually has a duration of seconds to minutes. This condition may occur in normal subjects or be associated with narcolepsy; cataplexy; and hypnagogic hallucinations. The pathophysiology of this condition is closely related to the normal hypotonia that occur during REM sleep. (From Adv Neurol 1995;67:245-271)

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