Sleep paralysis happens while being consciously aware of your surroundings, but unable to move your body parts. It makes you wonder if you’re really awake or if you’re still just dreaming. This sleep paralysis lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes. Fortunately, it does not cause physical harm to the body, but it’s a very strange feeling.
As we fall asleep in normal situations, our body becomes deeply relaxed while our minds concurrently become less aware. However, when sleep paralysis occurs, our mind still remains aware while, the body achieves an involuntary state of relaxation, which causes panic.
Even though this phenomenon is rare, about 8 percent of people experience this on a regular basis. In fact, the ones that are most prone to it, are individuals with mental disorders, like anxiety and depression.
Here are the main risk factors of sleep paralysis:
- Sleeping on your back
- Mental conditions, like stress or bipolar disorder
- Substance abuse
- Not getting enough sleep
- Sleep problems like narcolepsy or nocturnal leg cramps
- Frequent changes in sleeping patterns
- Certain types of medication, such as ADHD
The most common symptoms of sleep paralysis:
When experiencing sleep paralysis, you are unable to move any part of your body or speak for a few seconds or even several minutes. Additionally, you may experience pressure in the chest, difficulties breathing, headaches, muscle pains, hallucinations, and sensations that lead to fear and panic.
Sleep paralysis, by itself, is not treated as a medical disorder, so there is generally no prescribed treatment. However, if this happens frequently, your specialist might treat the following underlying conditions.
- Implementation of a better sleeping schedule
- Treatment of any underlying sleep disorders
- Psychological counseling
- Referral to a sleep specialist
- Sleeping aids
Additionally, you will benefit a lot if you avoid the consumption of alcohol, drugs, caffeine, and nicotine, as well as from sleeping in a bedroom with no electronic devices.