Sleep paralysis is a state in which you are conscious, but unable to say a word or move. It happens when you wake up, but not completely, as reported by WebMD.
Sleep paralysis can be described in a really simple way. Imagine you lie in your bed with your eyes wide open but your body doesn’t respond to your thoughts and desires. You can’t move, speak or even wink. It’s like a nightmare, but this one is real, and happens to many people. The only thing you should remember is the fact that it will go away eventually. Learn how to be patient in the quiet chaos.
This is probably the hardest thing people go through when it comes to dealing with sleeping issues. There’s nothing stranger than being unable to move your body while being consciously aware of everything that goes on.
Here’s what really happens
Sleep paralysis is a rather frightening phenomenon. The person experiencing it can’t move the body and is still conscious about the surrounding. These people are often terrified, and that’s understandable, because they are unable to have any control over their movement.
Luckily, this is a common “issue,” and has no dangerous effect on the body. Sleep paralysis happens during the hypnagogic and hypnopompic stage. Hypnagogic sleep paralysis happens before you fall asleep, and hypnopompic sleep paralysis happens when you wake from your REM sleep.
As you fall asleep, your body is deeply relaxed and your mind is less aware. In cases of hypnagogic sleep paralysis, the mind is aware, and the body reaches an involuntary state of relaxation. The person realized they can’t move despite their hard effort, and this causes a terrible panic.
During the REM (rapid eye movement) sleep, the muscles are paralyzed, and you can’t act out your dreams. When you experience hypnopompic sleep paralysis, a part of your brain wakes sooner, and this doesn’t affect the part of your brain responsible for REM paralysis. The result is a specific degree of wakefulness and no control over muscles.
Most people don’t experience sleep paralysis, and many experience it once or twice in their entire life. However, some people deal with this phenomenon pretty often, sometimes even several times a week.
According to a study conducted at Penn State University, about 8% of the population deals with sleep paralysis on a regular basis. Individuals dealing with anxiety and depression and other mental disorders are prone to experiencing episodes of sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis is common in people with sleep apnea, those who take specific medication and individuals who deal with an underlying sleep condition.
We give you the full list of risk factors:
- Changes in sleep schedule
- Mental conditions (stress, bipolar disorder)
- Sleeping on the back
- Narcolepsy, nighttime leg cramps, and other sleep problems
- Medication, and those with ADHD
- Drug abuse
Individuals who deal with sleep paralysis can’t move or speak for a few seconds or even a few minutes. This takes place in the initial stage of falling asleep or after waking up.
Sleep paralysis doesn’t require any treatment, but your doctor may inquire into other areas that involve your sleep health. If your sleeping gets worse, ask for medical help and talk to a sleep specialist.
Sleep paralysis occurs naturally, and there’s no prescribed treatment. Medical professionals can detect the underlying condition, and set up a treatment regiment, such as:
- Setting up a sleeping schedule
- Consulting a mental health professional
- Consulting a sleep specialist
- Treating underlying sleep conditions
- Sleeping aids
Making adequate sleep is a priority, and the same goes to limiting unnecessary stress before bedtime. This condition has a rather enigmatic nature, and the combination of formal and informal treatments is ambiguous.
Let’s get things clear. You don’t have to run to your doctor’s if you have a single episode of sleep paralysis. If your episodes are rare, you don’t need any treatment, and sleep deprivation is giving you all the problems.
Avoid alcohol, caffeine, nicotine and drugs. Keep electronic devices away from you and establish a healthy sleeping pattern.
Sometimes the episodes occur regardless of what you do. If this is your care, try to stay calm and wait for it to pass.