Well when I came across this condition sleep paralysis first time, I literally had no idea what is it and most of all what is it about? This was really a new thing for me, and then I start reading about it on the internet. I feel it is an exciting topic to write about because it is something strange, unimaginative, unexpressive, and out of body condition. It is same as that pain that you can express to others, but they can’t feel it just the same way in this condition only the patient knows the real pain of it and most of all it looks a little bit filmy to tell about this condition.
I don’t have any personal experience about these conditions, but after reading from different sources on the internet, I gather some fascinating information regarding it. There might be many questions in your mind after reading the heading that what is this condition about? How is it caused? How can it be treated? To get the answer to all your questions here is all information that I gather to acknowledge you about this condition.
What is Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is a temporary inability of a person to move or speak up anything while he is sleeping or when he wakes up. It is just a feeling of consciousness, but the person cannot talk or move. In this state, the person is aware of everything that is happening in and around him, but it feels like there is some pressure or some heavy load on him that makes him unable to move, talk or walk. In this condition, one feels very pressurised and feared as if they are being chocked ruthlessly by someone. Hallucinations and intense fear accompany it.
There is always a feeling of the presence of someone stranger in the room who is continuously trying to harm physically as well as mentally and because of which a person always remains silent, depressed and scared even at the normal time also. There is something hidden power that one feels is trying to harm his existence when he sleeps.
Most commonly it starts during adolescence and becomes frequent during the 20s and 30s. It is not a severe disease or any life-threatening disorder, but it causes anxiety, stress, jet lag, sleep deprivation and panic disorder. It most probably lasts from a few seconds to a few minutes, but in these few seconds or minutes, a person feels intense fear and stresses.
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Categories of Sleep Paralysis
This is not harmful at all, and it can be prevented or cured. It is a parasomnia or undesired event that is associated with sleep. It just happens when a person falls asleep or when a person wakes up from sleep in the morning, in which a person is not conscious of things. He frightened as if some heavy items are on his or her chest that makes it difficult for one to move around or say anything.
It is like someone is trying to chuckle you out and doesn’t allow you to move at all, which seems as if one is going to die. These episodes often accrued by hypnology experience, which are visual, auditory and sensory hallucinations. This whole episode of sleep paralysis occurred in sleep, and they accountably fall into one of these categories:-
Whenever a person who is having sleep paralysis falls asleep cannot move nor do anything, so he knows whatever is happening around but can’t move. So in this condition he feels petrified and feels some adverse conditions in a room like there are sounds of doorknobs opening, shuffling footsteps, a shadow man, or sense of threatening presence in the room.
There are some other conditions that a person can be a witness of like there is a feeling of pressure on the chest, difficulty in breathing with the sense of being smothered, strangled or sexually assaulted by a malevolent being. The person who witnesses all these feels like he is about to die.
This experience of a sleep paralyses person is very strange; it is like out of body experience. The person feels like he is spinning, falling from some huge height, floating in around, flying on very high heights, and any other type of out of body experiences. The experience of sleep paralysis have been witnessed in many people of different cultures for a long time, but the person whenever experience it may remember it because they believe it is haunting and horrifying.
When a person falls asleep, the body relaxes, and voluntary muscles do not move. These all states help a body to prevent itself from getting injured themselves because of acting out of the dream that means if a person is dreaming anything he does not want intact it while sleeping so remains safe of injuries.
Sleep paralysis is a condition which involves disruption or fragmentation of the rapid eye moment (REM) sleep cycle. It usually happens because of disconnection between mind and body that happens during sleep. There may be some more causes like poor sleep hygiene or not heaving proper sleep habits or sleep disorder like sleep apexes, sleep on your back may also increase chances of causing sleep paralysis, not having a proper routine of waking up and sleeping is also one of the cause. It can also be hereditary that means if someone in your family has had this sleeping paralysis, there are chances that you too can have this.
Some of the factors that have been linked to sleep paralysis include:-
- Irregular sleeping patterns, due for example, to get lay or shift work.
- Sleeping on your back.
- A family history of sleep paralysis.
There is no need to get panic if some is having sleep paralysis because it is not a life-threatening disease that makes your life miserable, it is just a condition where the person in his or her sleep is aware of everything happening around but cannot move, talk or express it because of which is he is almost frightened and sacred and feels some heavy load on his body. It is usually self-treatable, need not go for any medical test or lab test; it is self-diagnosable.
Most of the sleep researches are concluding that, in the majority of sleep paralysis patients, there is a sign that a body is not able to move smoothly. Through different stages of sleep, it is just like it is a corpse lying on the bed when that person is sleeping. It is sometimes said that sleep paralysis is quite linked with psychiatric problems. The patient knows everything that is going on at that time but cannot express his/her feelings at that moment; it is just a half-dead like a body that can’t move, talk or walk.
In ancient times, it was said that the main symptoms that almost everyone felt were the presence of some evil body and unseen night demons that make the person be there without moving. These terrifying shadowy evils used to come in the night and the person feels helpless at that time. There is a feeling of some ghost or hidden person in the room who is trying to terrify that person while sleeping.
It is not a medical emergency or something that needs any medicine to treat, just knowing its symptoms one can be calm and have peace of mind. Mostly the main symptom of sleep paralysis is unable to move, walk or sleep. This episode may last for a few seconds to two minutes.
The person having sleep paralysis may experience:-
- Feeling of going down deep as if someone is pulling or pushing you down and crying sounds.
- Feeling of someone frightening in a room like ghosts.
- A feeling of fear and fasten heartbeat
- Hypnogogic and hypnopompic experiences (HHE’SHHE’S) which are described as hallucinations during, right before or after sleep.
There may also be other symptoms like difficulty in breathing, feeling as if you are going to die, sweating, muscle aches, headaches and paranoia. All these typically end on its own or when other person touches or moves you. A person is aware of all these things happening around but is not still being able to move or speak during this whole part: every day non-threatening sounds, sensations and other things that the brain tries to ignore become more significant.
These all signs, when seen on anyone, can be treated by medical attention. Now the question is how to tackle it? And what one should do to prevent from sleep paralysis? Firstly if a person feels like the symptoms he or she is having is of concern an may have sleep paralysis, it is a time to see a doctor and get yourself treated with whatever measures doctor will recommend taking. Medical attention of doctor will help a sleep paralysis person to tackle with it if: –
- Sleep paralysis happens daily.
- There is a feeling of tiredness or anxiety in going to sleep and have a problem while falling asleep.
- The individual suddenly falls asleep or usually sleep during the daytime.
What a person now needs is to take proper care of him and try to be more cautious of his/her health. Since there is as such no specific treatment for sleep paralysis but taking less stress, having a regular sleep on time and owing good sleep habits can help to reduce the symptoms of sleep paralysis. The main thing that we need to keep in mind is to improve sleep hygiene and try to own good sleep habits. Proper care and less stress can relieve one from this condition.
Some of the points to improve good sleep hygiene are:
- Keep sleep time and wake time consistent, even if there is a holiday or some important function at home.
- One should ensure that he/she is getting a comfortable sleep environment, like suitable bedding and sleepwear and a clean, dark and cold bedroom.
- Reducing the effect of light exposure in the evening time and use night-lights for the bathroom at night.
- Make sure that he/she is getting a fair amount of daylight exposure during waking hours.
- Avoid working or studying in the bedroom.
- Do not take naps after 3.00 pm and should not take a bath for more than 90 minutes.
- Do not sleep with lights on in the bedroom.
- Exercise daily, but not within 2 hours of bedtime.
- Include a calming activity in the bedtime schedule, such as reading or listening to relaxing music.
- Avoid using phones or other electronic devices during bedtime.
All these measures may help a person to have good and calm sleep overnight. One should also manage his depression or anxiety disorder, reduce the intake of stimulants. Practising meditation or regular prayers and should avoid sleep on the back.
The most important thing is to understand the physiology of sleep and mechanisms for sleep paralysis and should follow the above steps to overcome it. If you try to be more cautious about your physical as well as mental health, you can feel much better than before. I hope you have got sufficient information regarding sleep paralysis from this article. Thank you!!!!