Sleep Paralysis-Symptoms & Treatment

sleep paralysis

We usually consider being asleep or awake as well specified and separate states. However, circumstances like sleep paralysis put these limits to the test.

A sudden incapacity to move that happens a little while after falling asleep or waking up is known as sleep paralysis. People remain conscious during episodes, which usually include disturbing visions and a feeling of suffocation.

Such a condition may lead to many uncomfortable symptoms. Such a thing occurs due to these bouts of sleep paralysis containing parts of sleep and waking.

While much about sleep paralysis is still unknown, studying its forms, symptoms, causes, effects, and therapy might help people better understand the disorder. It may also help them avoid it.

What Is Sleep Paralysis?

In simple words, sleep paralysis is characterized by a transient lack of muscular control (Atonia). It occurs shortly after Sleep or waking. During periods of sleep paralysis, patients frequently experience hallucinations in addition to Atonia.

To define sleep paralysis, a term known as Parasomnia is used. Parasomnias are sleep-related aberrant activities. The rapid eye movement in our normal sleep cycle, also known as REM, sometimes undergoes sleep paralysis. This is classified as REM Parasomnia.

A typical REM sleep cycle includes intense dreaming and Atonia. Such a thing helps prevent dream actors from carrying out their fantasies. People are never aware of their incapacity to move when they wake up. In other words, their Atonia stops now.

How Does Sleep Paralysis Feel?

how does Sleep Paralysis feel

Atonia, or the inability to move the body, is the most common symptom of sleep paralysis. It occurs immediately after falling asleep or waking up. So, a person is awake and aware of the loss of muscular control throughout an episode.

Studies showcase that nearly 75% of such episodes include visions that are not ordinary dreams. These can happen as you’re falling asleep (Hypnagogic Hallucinations) or waking up (Hypnagogic Hallucinations). It is similar to Atonia (Hypnopompic Hallucinations).

Sleep paralysis can be categorized into three kinds of hallucinations:

  • Intruder hallucinations are hallucinations in which a threatening person or presence is seen in the room.
  • Suffocation can be induced by chest pressure hallucinations, commonly known as Incubus hallucinations. These typically occur in conjunction with hallucinations of intruders.
  • Vestibular-motor (V-M) hallucinations include encounters of visions (like a presence flying) or being outside of one’s body.

Atonia can be upsetting and disturbing hallucinations. So, they may encourage sleep paralysis episodes. As a result, approximately 90% of occurrences are connected with dread, with only a tiny percentage having more pleasant or even joyful visions. It has also been discovered that a person’s perspective on these occurrences varies greatly depending on their cultural context.

Episodes can range in length from a few seconds to over 20 minutes. Also, the average episode can last between six to seven minutes. Most of the time, attacks cease on their own, although another person’s touch or voice can disrupt them. It can also be disrupted by a solid attempt to move that defeats Atonia.

Variations Of Sleep Paralysis

Two terminologies are routinely used in medical terms of explaining occurrences of sleep paralysis.

When bouts of sleep paralysis are not linked to an underlying diagnosis of Narcolepsy, a neurological illness that inhibits the brain from correctly managing alertness, it is used. Also, bouts of sleep paralysis are the disorder known as Isolated sleep paralysis.

Multiple instances of recurrent sleep paralysis occur throughout time.

These two traits are frequently coupled to form a Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis (RISP) syndrome. This involves repeated episodes of sleep paralysis in people who do not have Narcolepsy.

Is Sleep Paralysis A Common Disorder?

common disorder- sleep disorder

Sleep paralysis seems to have an unknown cause. Studies have looked at data to discover whether factors are linked to a higher incidence of sleep paralysis. So, the results have been mixed. However, researchers believe that there are numerous variables contributing to sleep paralysis.

Isolated sleep paralysis is probably the most elevated of joins with rest issues and other sleeping issues. People with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a sleep disease characterized by recurrent interruptions in breathing, report higher rates of sleep paralysis (38% in a study by Sun-Wung Hseih and team). Individuals who have daily leg cramps are bound to have sleep paralysis too.

Sleep paralysis has been connected to many psychological conditions. Psychological problems, like anxiety attacks, appear to increase the risk of developing the illness. Individuals with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and those with exposure to youth sexual abuse, different kinds of physical and mental torment show the best links to Sleep Paralysis. Halting, drinking or utilizing antidepressants could create REM bounce back, prompting sleep paralysis.

How To Treat It ?

treatment-sleep paralysis

Consulting a doctor is the first step in treating sleep paralysis. It will help understand the underlying issues that may be contributing to the severity and frequency of episodes. This could incorporate Narcolepsy treatment or methodologies to help monitor sleep Apnea.

Improved sleep hygiene is a prominent emphasis in preventing sleep paralysis because of the link between sleep paralysis and general sleeping issues. The room environment and regular schedules that affect sleep quality are also a part of it.

The following are some examples of healthy sleep tips that can help you improve your sleep hygiene and get more regular nightly rest:

  • Consistently, including at the end of the week, stick to a similar sleep time and improve the wake-up arrangement.
  • Keeping a steady pre-bed custom that helps you be comfortable and calm.
  • Choosing the most excellent mattress and pillow for your needs when it comes to your bed.
  • Coordinate your room with the end goal of keeping light and disturbances to a base.
  • Decreasing Liquor and Caffeine utilization, particularly in the evening.
  • Before going to bed, put away electronic gadgets, including cell phones, for at least a half-hour.

The Bottom Line

Some drugs have been shown to reduce REM sleep, which may aid in treating sleep paralysis. However, these medications can have negative aftereffects, remembering a bounce back for REM rest after somebody quits utilizing them. As a result, it’s critical to consult with a doctor before taking any medicine to explore the potential advantages and drawbacks.