Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night, unable to move and comprehend your surroundings, only to realize that maybe you are half asleep and half awake? It is why your mind is playing tricks on you. Waking up in the middle of the night because you slept poorly and you had a bad dream sounds terrifying. But not being able to move and feeling heaviness on our chest as if you are still in the nightmare is absolutely worse. That is precisely what sleep paralysis is.
What Is Sleep Paralysis?
According to a medical definition on WebMD, “Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. During these transitions, you may be unable to move or speak for a few seconds up to a few minutes. Some people may also feel pressure on their chest or a sense of choking.”
As per the recent researches of 2019, sleep paralysis was seen prevailing in 7.6 percent of the general population who reported having experienced at least one episode. Thus, these stats go on to show that “sleep paralysis” can be a serious issue to deal with and can hit anybody. Let’s find out what its causes are.
Causes Of Sleep Paralysis
As we sleep, our body relaxes, and voluntary muscles don’t tend to move. It is this characteristic that intercepts us from acting out our dreams and causing havoc or injury in the course of it. Most of the dreams happen when our sleep cycle enters the REM (rapid eye movement) stage, where we experience rapid eye movements. During the night, our bodies continue to switch between REM and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep several times. Each cycle lasts longer than before.
It is during this transition that our body’s synchronization with the brain goes out of sync that causes sleep paralysis. The sleeper is consciously awake, but the body is still in sleep mode remaining paralyzed. And as the brain function is heightened and overly sensitive, areas of the brain start to pick up on threats turning the whole scenario into a horrifying nightmare. Several factors can increase the severity of your sleep paralysis, like:
- Irregular sleeping patterns
- Not looking after mental health
- Jet lag and severe stress
- Family history of sleep paralysis
Although sleep paralysis has many obvious as well as underlying signs and symptoms, the medical condition itself can be a symptom of other bigger medical problems like:
- Clinical depression
- Sleep apnea
- Anxiety disorders
Signs And Symptoms
Sleep paralysis can show itself through various signs and symptoms like:
- Not being able to move your body while you’re falling asleep or when waking up
- Immobile body episodes lasting a few seconds up to several minutes
- Being consciously awake during sleep
- Not being able to speak during a sleep paralysis episode
- Experiencing out-of-body episodes
- Experiencing hallucinations
- Having difficulty in breathing
- A feeling of pressure on your chest
- Feeling a presence around you
- Excessive sweating
- Getting the feeling of death approaching
- Severe migraines, headaches, and muscle pain
Other signs of sleep paralysis may include experiencing everyday attributes of your lives, such as sounds, sensations, and other stimuli becoming abnormally significant. Hallucinations can occur with more frequency that can lead you to have difficulty in differentiating whether you are experiencing reality or if it is just inside your head.
Many people consider experiencing death during a sleep paralysis episode as life-threatening. But we can assure you that although the anxiety and emotional levels may rise, sleep paralysis is not fatal. It has even been linked to genetic disorders and long-term psychiatric illnesses where the severity of having such episodes may increase. But despite the signs and symptoms, you acknowledge, sleep paralysis is generally not considered as a potentially fatal disorder.
All in all, if you want to avoid having a sleep paralysis episode, then focus on the positive aspects of your life. Don’t give in to stress so much that it causes your sleeping patterns to change drastically. Instead, make a routine to sleep on time, schedule naps, and keep electronic devices at bay before you sleep.
If the issue persists or you feel the magnitude of the problem has increased, then it is better to consult a psychologist. Sleep paralysis, like any other medical condition, requires proper diagnosis, medicine, therapy, and precautionary steps to be taken so that it is ensured that it doesn’t happen again.
Subscribe to our Trusted Health Club newsletter for more information about natural living tips, natural health, oral health and skincare. If you are looking for more health resources make sure to check out the Trusted Health Resources list.
Claudia Jeffrey is currently working as a Health Research Analyst at Crowd Writer, an excellent platform to buy research papers. She has sufficient knowledge to cover different types of topics for health research-based content. You can check out her further writing skills through the blogs that she posts online.
Founder Ray Spotts has a passion for all things natural and has made a life study of nature as it relates to health and well-being. Ray became a forerunner bringing products to market that are extraordinarily effective and free from potentially harmful chemicals and additives. For this reason Ray formed Trusted Health Products, a company you can trust for clean, effective, and healthy products. Ray is an organic gardener, likes fishing, hiking, and teaching and mentoring people to start new businesses. You can get his book for free, “How To Succeed In Business Based On God’s Word,” at www.rayspotts.com.