Sleep paralysis

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Have you ever felt that you are awake but unable to move? Were you afraid but you could not ask for help? This condition is called sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis can occur in a person one time or occur frequently, several times per night. The good news is that this condition is not considered a dangerous health problem.


1. Overview
2. Researchers opinions
3. What is sleep paralysis
4. When sleep paralysis occurs
5. What happens in hypnagogic sleep paralysis case?
6. What happens in hypnopompic sleep paralysis case?
7. Who can manifest sleep paralysis?
8. Diagnosis of sleep paralysis
9. How is sleep paralysis treated?

Researchers opinions

Researchers concluded that, most often during sleep paralysis is a sign of unnatural movements that occur when a person goes through the stages of sleep.

Sleep paralysis was rarely associated with serious or psychiatric disorders. Over the centuries, sleep paralysis symptoms have been described in many ways and were often assigned to the presence of an unseen evil demon that appeared during the night, hag, predatory aliens, etc.

The researchers have been searching for explanations since the first reports of this mysterious paralysis during sleep and its attendant feelings of terror.

What is sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis refers to the situation where a person is conscious but unable to move. This occurs when a person passes the stage of sleep during the night.

During this transition, the person who sleeps may be unable to move or speak for several seconds to several minutes. Some people may feel a sense of suffocation or pressure.

Sleep paralysis may be accompanied by other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy – overwhelming need to sleep, caused by the brain’s inability to regulate sleeping.

When sleep paralysis occurs

Paralysis during sleep usually do not occur consecutively. If this occurs when a person falls asleep, is called hypnagogic sleep paralysis. If occurs when a person is awake is called hypnopompic sleep paralysis.

What happens in hypnagogic sleep paralysis case?

While a person sleeps, the body slowly relaxes. Will usually be less aware, and change will be difficult to observe. However, if a person remains or becomes conscious when asleep, he will see that he can’t move or speak.

What happens in hypnopompic sleep paralysis case?

During sleep the body passes alternately from REM sleep (rapid eye movement) in the NREM (non-rapid eye movement). A REM and NREM sleep cycle lasts about 90 minutes. NREM sleep appears first and is up to 75% of total sleep time.

During NREM sleep the body relaxes and recovers. At the end of NREM sleep, REM sleep occurs. Eyes begin to move quickly and the person is dreaming, but the body remains very relaxed. If a person is conscious before REM sleep is possible to see that he can’t move or speak.

Who can manifest sleep paralysis?

Four in ten people have sleep paralysis, and the first condition usually occurs during teenage years. Sleep paralysis can be found mostly in the same family.

Other factors that may be related to sleep paralysis include:
- Sleep deprivation
- A program that modify sleep habits
- Mental disorders such as stress or bipolar disorder
- Sleeping on your back
- Other sleep problems such as narcolepsy or cramps at night
- Use of certain drugs
- Substance abuse.

Diagnosis of sleep paralysis

If you are unable to move or talk for a few seconds or minutes, when you’re asleep or awake, you probably suffer from recurrent sleep paralysis.

Often there is no need to treat this condition. However, you should consult your doctor if you have any of these problems:
- Your symptoms cause anxiety
- Following the events you feel tired during the day
- Symptoms persist during the night.

The doctor will want to know as much information about your sleep habits and he might require or recommend any of the following:
- To keep a sleep diary for several weeks and to describe more detailed symptoms
- To them with details about your health condition, including any known sleep disorders that manifest or manifests in your family
- To consult a sleep specialist for further evaluation.

How is sleep paralysis treated?

Most people do not need a cure for sleep paralysis. Treating any underlying conditions such as narcolepsy, can help if you are anxious or you can’t rest well.

Sleep paralysis is a rare or singular event. In these cases, no treatment is needed. For many people is enough to understand what is happening and realize that something serious can’t happen and the condition often disappears by itself.

During an episode of sleep paralysis, the affected person will be conscious but paralyzed. There are rare cases where other people have witnessed this phenomenon and have occurred. Episode ends when the person will be able to move very slowly, in a first stage or fall asleep.

Some people have found that an alert noise (a strange noise that wakes them up) or a tactile sensation can stop the episode. Others found that sleep paralysis simply ceases abruptly. This usually takes a few minutes.

Sometimes the sleep paralysis sufferers can feel totally exhausted. Emotional experience can be overwhelming and some people will wake up crying or panting, with a rapid heart rhythm, embarrassed by the experience and often avoid tell about their experience to others.

Others are even afraid to sleep. The first step to treat paralysis during sleep is to avoid potential triggers. For those who have more episodes of sleep paralysis and considers them unacceptable, may aid medicines such as selective serotonin receptor inhibitors (SSRIs).

These events should be treated easily as well as other conditions that may disrupt sleep. If the problem is recurrent, consult your doctor to know the available treatment options.



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