Have you ever been in a situation where you cannot speak or move as you wake up or fall asleep? If the answer is yes, then you might be experiencing sleep paralysis. So what exactly is sleep paralysis, and how can you get it treated?
In This Article:
- What Is Sleep Paralysis?
- What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Paralysis?
- Can Sleep Paralysis Hurt You?
- What Causes Sleep Paralysis?
- How Can I Treat Sleep Paralysis?
- How Can I Prevent Sleep Paralysis?
What You Should Know About Sleep Paralysis
1. What Is Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is the sensation of being awake but unable to move. It happens when a person transitions between the stages of alertness and sleep. You may be unable to move or talk for a few seconds to a few minutes throughout these changes.
Some people may also experience pressure or choking. Other sleep disorders, such as narcolepsy, may be accompanied by sleep paralysis. Narcolepsy is characterized by an excessive need to sleep caused by a difficulty with the brain’s capacity to regulate sleep.
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, people with sleep paralysis often experience this condition for the first time between the ages of 14 and 17 years old.
2. What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Paralysis?
The inability to move or talk is the most typical symptom of a sleep paralysis episode. An episode might last anything from a few seconds to nearly two minutes.
You may also experience:
- Feeling like something or someone is in the room
- Feeling fear or anxious
- Feeling as if you’re going to die
- Feeling like something is pushing you down
- Hypnagogic and hypnopompic experiences (HHEs) are hallucinations that occur during, just before, or after sleep
- Lucid dreaming
- Muscle aches
- Difficulty breathing
These episodes of sleep paralysis will go away naturally or when another person touches or moves you.
3. Can Sleep Paralysis Hurt You?
Sleep paralysis itself is not dangerous; however, repeated bouts have been related to sleep disorders such as narcolepsy.
Although there is no disputing that sleep paralysis may be a terrifying experience, there is nothing to be concerned about. It does not damage the body in any way, and no clinical fatalities have been reported so far.
4. What Causes Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep paralysis can affect both children and adults of all ages. Certain populations, however, are at a more significant risk than others.
People suffering from the following conditions are at a higher risk:
- Bipolar disorder
- Anxiety disorders
- Insomnia (sleep deprivation)
- Major depression
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
It can also be caused by:
- Sleep disorders like sleep apnea
- Poor sleep hygiene or a lack of healthy sleep practices required for high-quality sleep
Sleep paralysis has also been related to a disturbed sleep routine. Working night shifts or being jet-lagged are two examples of how your sleep routine may be disturbed. Sleep paralysis appears to run in families in some situations. This, however, is unusual. There is no conclusive scientific proof that the disease is inherited.
5. How Can I Treat Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep paralysis that happens in isolation usually does not need treatment. Those who have signs of narcolepsy should see a doctor. This is especially essential if symptoms interfere with your job or home life.
If narcolepsy is the underlying cause of your sleep paralysis, your doctor may prescribe specific medications to help you manage it.
If you have sleep paralysis or other narcolepsy symptoms, the research data will assist your doctor in establishing a diagnosis. This sort of research necessitates an overnight stay in a hospital or sleep facility.
6. How Can I Prevent Sleep Paralysis?
The key to preventing sleep paralysis is to improve sleep hygiene by following a proper nighttime routine that includes:
- Avoiding blue light before going to bed.
- Keeping the room temperature low.
- Reduce the amount of stress in your life.
- Exercise on a regular basis, but not too close to bedtime.
- Get enough sleep.
- Maintain a consistent sleep pattern.
- Keep a record of any drugs you are taking for any ailments.
- Learn about the adverse effects and interactions of your drugs so you can prevent probable side effects such as sleep paralysis.
- Sleep on your side rather than your back.
Not only that, but the following might also help you prevent sleep paralysis:
- Trauma counseling
- Breathing exercise
Sleep paralysis is a common condition that, while not harmful, can be frightening and unpleasant for some people. If the issue is causing you distress or impairing your sleep, you should consult a doctor.
If you have questions about sleep paralysis or any of the conditions discussed here, connect with us and learn more. Get information and support from our Blogs and shop our Supplements and Cosmeceuticals for Integrative Medicine.
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