People who suffer from sleep paralysis are unable to move their bodies while falling asleep or waking up. People who are affected by this phenomena are awake but unable to move their muscles.
Although this occurrence can be rather frightening, especially if it is accompanied by hallucinations, it is crucial to remember that it is completely safe and only lasts a few minutes.
Our bodies stop moving their muscles during the REM period of sleep. The goal is to stay safe while sleeping, which means not moving while dreaming in order to avoid injury.
When the body prohibits muscular action but the person is not in the REM period of sleep, i.e. her mind is awake and conscious, this is known as sleep paralysis.
Experts say that paralysis can happen in two ways: when a person falls asleep or when they wake up.
What are the risk factors?
It has been observed that sleep paralysis is more common in people with certain medical conditions, and there are other factors that increase the likelihood of its occurrence:
Narcolepsy – this disorder affects the sleep-wake cycle and is most often accompanied by sleep paralysis.
Apnea is a breathing problem that affects people while they sleep.
Improper sleep schedule – people who work different shifts and go to bed at different times each night are more likely to experience sleep paralysis.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) – This disorder, when combined with stress, tiredness, and some past trauma, can lead to sleep paralysis.
Genetic factors – according to research from 2015, it is possible that sleep paralysis is also related to genes.
How to deal?
Because sleep paralysis is not a harmful disorder and usually goes away on its own, most people do not even need help.
However, the event itself can be frightening enough to cause anxiety in the person. In certain circumstances, sleep paralysis leads to insomnia as a result of the person’s fear of falling asleep.
If you’re having trouble with this, and it’s happening more frequently and affecting your life, it’s time to get professional treatment.
Although there is no specific treatment for this illness, your doctor can assist you if you have a major problem.
You can alternatively take the following steps to address this issue:
- Change your sleeping habits. Try to go to bed at the same time every night, and wake up at the same time every morning. In fact, people who have a sleep schedule are much less likely to experience sleep paralysis.
- Change other life habits. Experts recommend that exercising in the morning, avoiding coffee and alcohol at bedtime and relaxing evening activities can reduce the risk of sleep paralysis.
- Consider whether you have any other health issues. As previously stated, sleep paralysis can be caused by a variety of medical disorders, including apnea and even depression. If you have an issue like this, talk to your doctor about it.
- Continue to educate yourself. When you have a greater understanding of the issue, it will appear less frightening. Read, chat to those who have more experience, watch videos, and learn everything you can about this illness. You won’t be able to completely rid of it, but you will be able to minimize the anxiety it creates.
Finally, you should know that if you have only experienced sleep paralysis a few times in your life, you should not be concerned. Focus on improving sleep quality and eliminating unhealthy lifestyle behaviors in general.
It is best to contact a doctor if the disorder is causing you troubles in your daily life.