Everything you need to know about sleep paralysis, including its symptoms, causes, and treatment.
Sleep paralysis (SP) is a condition characterized by an inability to move when an individual is napping or even just waking up. It could happen in healthy people as isolated SP. Other underlying psychiatric, family and sleep issues have also been related to it. According to statistics, 8% of the overall population struggles with SP. Your brain assists the nerves in your legs and arms in relaxing while you sleep or wake up. With sleep paralysis, you wake up yet are unable to move. Paralysis is only transient and does not indicate a serious medical problem. Identifying and treating the root of your discomfort can assist you in preventing future recurrence.
When and what causes sleep paralysis?
Sleep paralysis usually in one of two ways. If it happens as you’re falling asleep, it’s known as hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. It is known as hypnopompic or postdormital sleep paralysis if it occurs when you are having to wake up. This prevalent disorder is frequently discovered in adolescence. However, it is possible for men and women of all ages. Sleep paralysis may be inherited. Other causes that could contribute to the disorder include:
- Sleep deprivation
- Anxiety and bipolar disorder are two examples of mental illnesses.
- Changing sleeping pattern
- Other sleep issues include narcolepsy and nightly leg cramps.
- Alcohol abuse and the usage of some medicines, like those for ADHD
- Laying on your stomach
- Sexual abuse as a child or various forms of physical and psychological misery
What are the common symptoms of the problem?
The incapacity to move the muscles when taking a nap or waking up is the main symptom of sleep paralysis. However, throughout these episodes, patients may have additional symptoms such as:
- Not being able to communicate during the episode
- Experiencing illusions and sensations
- Experiencing chest tightness
- Feeling frightened
- Having the feeling that you’re about to die
- Muscle pain and headaches
- Having trouble breathing
- Hypnagogic and hypnopompic episodes (hhes) are illusions that occur before or after sleep
- Dripping with sweat
- If anyone or anything is in the bedroom
- Sensation as if anything is dragging you downwards
How can sleep paralysis be treated?
Sleep paralysis symptoms usually recover within minutes and do not create any long-term bodily consequences or trauma. The experience, though, can be quite unpleasant and scary.
Sleep paralysis that happens in isolation usually does not necessitate therapy. Some who show signs of narcolepsy should see a doctor. Moreover, this is critical if your difficulties impact your work or personal life. However mild symptoms can be treated by simply developing some healthy habits like
- Maintaining a regular bedtime and wake-up hour
- Keeping a dark, warm bedroom
- Decreasing nighttime light exposure as well as using nightlights in the bathroom
- Avoiding trips at night
- Obtaining adequate daylight exposure throughout waking hours
- Refraining from evening meals or dining within 2 hours of falling asleep
- Avoiding alcohol or caffeine in the evenings
- Cognitive behavioral therapy for anxiety and depression management may be beneficial.
- Addressing any problems with mental health that may be contributing to sleep paralysis
- Other disorders, such as insomnia or muscle cramps, are also treated.
- Daily exercise, but never within 2 hours of falling asleep
- If prescribed, use anti-depressants to assist in normalizing sleep cycles.
The Bottom Line
Sleep paralysis is indeed a frequent symptom that, while not hazardous, can be frightening and uncomfortable for some people. This happens when a person’s body and mind are not in synchronization at the time of sleeping or waking up. Although If the problem is giving you stress or impairing your sleep, you should see a doctor. To decrease the likelihood of future episodes, a health professional can determine the underlying causes, prescribe therapies, or make self-care recommendations.