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Sleep Paralysis: Causes, Symptoms, And Coping Strategies

Sleep paralysis is a common experience that occurs when you start to wake up or fall asleep. although it's not dangerous, it could be unsettling. By following a few simple suggestions, you could greatly reduce your possibility of experiencing sleep paralysis.

Your body temporarily paralyzes during some sleep stages, which can stop you from acting out any dreams. Sleep paralysis is common, but because you are asleep, you are not aware not normally it.

You'll be completely conscious of being paralyzed if this “off switch” persists for some seconds to three mins once you wake up. even though you could listen generally, you could find it upsetting that you are unable to speak or move.

Although it may occur when you are asleep, sleep paralysis usually takes place right as you're waking up.

Hallucinations that accompany episodes of sleep paralysis can occasionally happen and can be frightful. For instance, you might think someone is intruding into your room.

Sleep paralysis is more prevalent in adolescence and often disappears as you age. There are no recognized health risks associated with it.

Talk to your healthcare provider and explore effective treatments for a peaceful slumber.

Sleep Paralysis: Causes, Symptoms, And Coping Strategies

Why do people get sleep paralysis?

Sleep paralysis's actual etiology is unknown. Studies have evaluated data to identify factors that increase one's risk of sleep paralysis; the results have been inconsistent. Based on such results, scientists think that several variables contribute to the development of sleep paralysis:

  • Some of the strongest associations with isolated sleep paralysis have been seen with sleep disorders and other sleeping issues. One study found that 38% of persons with obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), characterized by periodic pauses in breathing during sleep, also experienced increased sleep paralysis. Nighttime leg cramps are more common in those who also have sleep paralysis.
  • There is proof that insomnia symptoms including trouble falling asleep and excessive daytime tiredness are related to sleep paralysis. Because their internal circadian rhythms vary with the local day-night cycle, shift workers and people with jet lag may also be more prone to sleep paralysis.
  • Some mental health conditions have a connection to sleep paralysis. It appears that anxiety disorders, especially panic disorder, raise a person's likelihood of contracting the condition. People with PTSD and others who have gone through difficult times physically and mentally often show some of the strongest correlations.
  • Rebound from REM after stopping alcohol or medications can result in sleep paralysis. Although no specific genetic factor for sleep paralysis has been identified, it is essential to note that a family history of the condition increases your chance of developing it.
  • It is good for you to remain conscious and live in the present. It can reduce the likelihood of experiencing sleep paralysis. Having clear and stressful dreams during sleep paralysis is common.

To further explore these connections and comprehend the many possible causes of sleep paralysis, more study is required.

How is sleep paralysis identified?

To identify sleep paralysis, no diagnostic procedures are required.

Your doctor may also ask you to keep a sleep journal in which you describe your sleep paralysis episodes.

If your doctor suspects a problem with your sleep-related breathing or brain activity, he or she may suggest a sleep study.

This is typically only suggested if sleep paralysis is keeping you up at night.

Is there a cure for sleep paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is incurable. As part of the treatment, it is important to take steps to reduce the disease's risk factors. People usually only experience sleep paralysis once, and it never returns. It is possible to experience sleep paralysis at any point in our life. If you are noticing the symptoms consistently, you should see a doctor to get a proper diagnosis.

The important thing for treatment is to understand the root cause of sleep issues.

Numerous explanations for such an episode are possible. Sleeping on the back, disrupted sleep patterns from work shifts or jet lag, sleep apnea, and other psychiatric mental disorders are some of the common causes of insomnia or insufficient sleep at night. Narcolepsy, or daytime sleepiness and loss of muscle control, is another common cause.

The doctor will offer strategies for removing these triggers after determining the main problem and underlying reason.

If the person is suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, he might recommend counseling. A smart way to make sure the body is exhausted enough to sleep uninterruptedly through the entire REM period is through physical activity.

How can you prevent sleep paralysis?

You can not do much to stop sleep paralysis from happening. But you can take precautions to reduce your risk.

Enhancing the quality of your sleep is among the best strategies to prevent sleep paralysis. This is possible by:

  • having a regular sleep schedule with set hours for bed and wake-up
  • establishing a quiet, dark environment that is conducive to sleep
  • putting computers, tablets, phones, and e-readers away before bed
  • taking a bath, reading, or listening to calming music to unwind before bed


Sleep paralysis is rather rare. However, many people experience fear after an incident. You might have felt so out of the ordinary during the experience that you are not sure anyone will believe what happened.

Do not let these emotions prevent you from receiving the care and assistance you require. To reduce your risk of further episodes, a psychiatrist can identify the causes, prescribe medicines, or suggest self-care measures.


1.  What is the sensation of sleep paralysis?

You can hear and feel your surroundings during an episode of sleep paralysis, but you are unable to move or talk. However, you can still breathe and move your eyes. Hallucinations, where people hear or see things that are not there, make experiences much more terrifying.

2. When does sleep paralysis occur?

Your body is calm and your muscles are immobile during REM sleep. When the sleep cycle is transitioning between stages, sleep paralysis happens. Your body is paralyzed when you suddenly awaken from REM because it is still in the REM phase even though your brain is awake.

3. Can someone who is experiencing sleep paralysis touch you?

A paralysis episode can linger for a short while or for a long time. The episode usually ends on its own, although it can also be stopped by being touched or spoken to. You can occasionally force yourself out of sleep paralysis by exerting deliberate body movement.

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