Have you ever found yourself completely unable to move or talk despite being fully awake and aware of your surroundings? This is what is known as sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is something many have experienced at least once in their lifetimes.
The body has a unique mechanism it uses to shut down and limit movement during sleep. This mechanism is a protective measure to keep you from acting out your dreams which may end up in you falling off the bed and injuring yourself.
If sleep paralysis is something that you experience often, then you may have a disorder. So to help you better understand, here are causes, prevention and treatment options for someone experiencing frequent cases of sleep paralysis.
What Causes Sleep Paralysis?
According to sleep experts, sleep paralysis often occurs owing to severe sleep deprivation or a complete lack of sleep. You may also experience mild cases of sleep paralysis if you abruptly adjust your sleep schedule, use certain medications, experience increased stress, or if you like sleeping on your back.
Understanding When Sleep Paralysis Occurs
Sleep paralysis can occur either when you are falling asleep or as you are waking up. When sleep paralysis happens during the process of you waking up, it is medically known as predomital or hypnagogic sleep paralysis.
When sleep paralysis occurs during the process of falling asleep, it is medically known as postdormital or hypnopompic sleep paralysis.
In both cases, you will have no control over your body movement or speech. You can, however, feel and hear everything around you. Some people report experiencing hallucinations which may be caused during postdormital sleep paralysis when you haven’t fully transitioned from the dream phase to being fully awake.
How to Prevent And Treat Sleep Paralysis
Experiencing sleep paralysis once is not a good reason to seek expert treatment. However, if this is something you experience every time you fall asleep, then it should be a cause for concern.
If you experience sleep paralysis once or twice in say a week or a month, you can prevent re-occurrence by getting plenty of sleep at night. Eight hours or more is recommended.
Additionally, avoid stress. Whether it is physical, mental, or emotional, stress can lead to frequent cases of sleep paralysis. If you normally sleep on your back, you may also want to learn to embrace a different sleep position. Almost all cases of sleep paralysis come when people are sleeping on their backs.
If none of these prevention ideas yield results, you may want to visit a sleep expert for further testing and evaluation.
The good news is that not many people need to seek professional treatment for sleep paralysis. But when at-home remedies fail, you are likely to find yourself consulting with a sleep expert. More often than not, it emerges that an underlying condition is the culprit behind your sleep paralysis. It could be a sleep disorder or a mental disorder.
Treatment for sleep paralysis may therefore involve
- Treating or addressing the psychiatric or mental issues which may be causing sleep paralysis
- Treating sleep disorders that may be causing sleep paralysis. Common disorders here include Narcolepsy and Bipolar disorder.
- Taking prescription antidepressants to help encourage and regulate sleep
- Sleeping for six to eight hours while under close observation by sleep professionals
Who is Likely to Develop Sleep Paralysis?
Going by recent statistics, as many as four out of every ten people experience sleep paralysis. Both men and women have an equal chance of developing this problem. Sleep paralysis often begins once an individual enters their teen years.
If there’s one or more of your close family members or relatives that have developed sleep paralysis, then there’s a high chance that you may also follow suit. This because you are genetically predisposed to developing the condition.
It is also evident that people who are addicts or people who abuse drugs, and other intoxicating substances have a higher chance of experiencing sleep paralysis than sober people.
Going by the information presented above, you can address sleep paralysis issues right at home. All it takes are a few adjustments in your sleeping positions and lifestyle habits. Consider taking up yoga and meditation or exercise as a means to help alleviate the stress that may be causing you to develop sleep paralysis.
If you are unable to find a lasting solution, then your best option would be to see a sleep expert. You may be surprised that you have hidden sleeping disorders which, with the help of medication, can be well treated and managed.
In the long run, sleep paralysis is a treatable condition that many have developed and eradicated successfully. Do you know anyone struggling with sleep paralysis? Could you be one of those people experiencing sleep paralysis? Above you will find resourceful information on ways you can alleviate and eliminate sleep paralysis once and for all.