While you can’t stop sleep paralysis from happening, simply knowing what it is can make the experience more tolerable, reports Well+Good.

Let’s be real: Sleep paralysis seems absolutely terrifying. When you dream, your body goes into full-on paralyzation mode to protect you so you don’t act out what you see. But sometimes people remain in this paralyzed state for a few minutes before they fall asleep or after they wake up—and during that time, they have to endure lying there helplessly, sometimes experiencing creepy hallucinations until they snap out of it.

The condition is pretty common: About 7.6 percent of the world has experienced it, yet the cause isn’t known, according to a review of 35 studies co-authored by Brian Sharpless, PhD, and associate professor at Argosy University, Northern Virginia.