During the transition from waking up to sleep, you may feel heavy chest pressure. This is a sign of sleep paralysis. If you’re unable to breathe deeply, you may have difficulty moving around. During this time, you might be unable to move or communicate with others. If you try to call for help, you might be able to whisper, but you’ll only be able to tell a whisper. During this time, you might feel suffocated and frightened.
What is Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is a condition where your muscle moments are restricted, but your eyes are open, and you are conscious of your surroundings. This condition is a disruption in the sleep cycle. This disorder is pervasive, and it’s often a symptom of related disorders, such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea. It can be very distressing for sufferers, and repeated episodes can cause emotional or psychological distress.
A healthcare provider can diagnose and treat sleep paralysis and determine whether the underlying condition is the cause. A physician specializing in sleeping disorders can recommend a sleep study if necessary.
It occurs in two primary forms
- At the beginning of sleep, known as predormital sleep paralysis
- Waking up from sleep also known as postdormital sleep paralysis
What Happens During Sleep Paralysis?
This condition is common and can cause physical and mental problems. People with sleep paralysis may experience hypnagogic experiences during the episodes. These occurrences often involve auditory, visual, and sensory hallucinations. Incubus hallucinations are characterized by sounds and an inability to breathe correctly. Many people with sleep paralysis experience difficulty breathing during their episodes. They may also experience a feeling of being choked and having difficulty breathing. It usually lasts between 20 seconds to a few minutes and affects almost 7 % of the population.
What Causes Sleep Paralysis?
The underlying cause of sleep paralysis is not known. However, it is often caused by a disconnect between the brain and body. It can affect any group but is not hereditary. Some reasons for sleep paralysis can be as understated.
- Not getting enough rest or a disturbed sleep schedule. It is important to note that this disorder is a temporary condition and can happen to anyone.
- The most common causes of sleep paralysis include a variety of conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, or childhood sexual abuse.
- Other factors are less common but are more severe. In the case of anxiety disorders, people with this condition are more prone to experiencing it.
- In addition, stopping alcohol and antidepressants can cause REM rebound.
- While no known genetic causes of sleep paralysis have been identified, genetics can play a role.
Symptoms Of Sleep Paralysis
People who experience sleep paralysis can have hallucinations. These can occur during sleep or can begin before you fall asleep. Often, the episodes are brief and end on their own, but you may know what happened during the episode and remember specific details.
People who experience sleep paralysis often describe an evil presence in the room. About 58% of patients reported that they sensed an evil presence in the room, while another 22% saw a person in the room. Some even report that they can hear voices while they are dreaming. However, sleep paralysis is not always a dangerous condition, and most people will recover from it within a few days. If you actually experience any of these symptoms, you should consult a medical professional as soon as possible.
Thus, hallucinations, fear, loss of breath, and muscle atonia are considered the prime symptoms of Sleep Paralysis. Therefore, such patients must sleep on easily movable beds.
How To Diagnose Sleep Paralysis
A healthcare provider can usually help you determine the cause of sleep paralysis. Some people may have a related health condition. For instance,
- If you have narcolepsy or an anxiety disorder, your sleep problems may be related. If your episodes are frequent and recurring,
- Your doctor can recommend a sleep study to confirm the diagnosis.
- A board-certified sleep specialist can help you determine if you have any underlying health conditions or are experiencing episodes of sleep-related paralysis.
If you’ve had sleep paralysis for years, it’s essential to get medical help immediately. Although it is rare, it’s worth visiting a doctor for a diagnosis. A neurologist can perform tests on your body’s electrical activity and rule out other underlying health issues. Besides, it’s essential to remember that your symptoms may be related to a medical condition. A doctor can also refer you to a neurologist who can treat you.
How To Treat Sleep Paralysis
While there is actually no specific treatment for sleep paralysis, there are some home remedies for controlling symptoms.
- First of all, you must actually make sure that you get enough rest.
- If you experience excessive anxiety and drowsiness during the day, you should try reducing your stress before bed.
- Next, try changing your sleeping position.
- Finally, if sleep paralysis occurs regularly, you should visit your doctor. They might actually want to examine you to determine an underlying medical issue.
How to Prevent Sleep Paralysis
The first step to treating sleep paralysis is to understand the condition. Many people are surprised to learn that sleep paralysis is a real problem. However, the condition is not dangerous. The fact is that your body needs at least 7 hours of sleep each night. It is good to get this amount of rest to keep your body and mind in good health. It also helps to prevent the development of sleep apnea.
- Keeping a consistent routine is an essential step in preventing sleep paralysis. Even if you’re getting enough sleep each night, there are chances that you’re missing out on essential periods of sleep, such as REM. If you’re not sleeping enough, creating a sleeping routine is an excellent way to reduce your risk.
- Additionally, keeping a journal while you sleep will help you identify your sleep patterns and habits.
- The most common way to treat the condition is to relax and stop the feeling. Using techniques such as visualization, relaxation, and affirmations will help you sleep better. These methods can also be combined with physical relaxation to increase the chances of a successful resolution. For example, please make a list of positive statements and affirmations and practice them before bedtime.
- In some cases, talk therapy can help you overcome your fear of death or harm. It is essential to get treatment for any underlying mental health issues causing sleep paralysis. These mental health disorders are chronic anxiety, depression, and PTSD.
- Other than that, You must also avoid caffeine and alcohol before sleep.
- Have a regular exercise schedule
- Limit the use of electronics before bed
- You must also sleep on soft mattress.
Sleep apnea episode is a common problem that may not be life-threatening, but it can be terrifying. This condition can leave you feeling anxious and sleepy throughout the day. It can also result in anxiety and mental health disorders. Although sleep apnea episodes can occur at any age, they tend to disappear as you get older. The only treatment for sleep apnea is a treatment for the disorder.