Imagine waking up from a deep slumber, opening your eyes, and finding yourself unable to move or talk. It’s sleep paralysis, when a person’s brain is awake but their body is still in a paralyzed sleep condition, this is known as sleep paralysis. It occurs while a person is falling asleep or waking up and is caused by a misalignment of the body and mind. It can be frightening at first, but it’s completely harmless, and most people only get it once or twice in their lives.
To understand what causes sleep paralysis, we need to dive into some education regarding sleep phases that occur during sleep -
Sleep Paralysis happens during the deepest period of sleep, REM (rapid eye movement). Our motor neurons are blocked during REM, paralysing the body.
This is done as a safety precaution to prevent the body from acting out the vivid dreams that occur during this stage of sleep. Because most of us are sleeping at this period, we aren’t aware of the paralysis and aren’t bothered by it.
However, when a person has Sleep Paralysis, they are not totally asleep as they are transitioning into or out of slumber, and they are painfully aware that they are unable to move.
It’s unclear what causes sleep paralysis, however, it’s been connected to:
The inability to move the body when falling asleep or awakening is the most common sign of sleep paralysis. People may, however, have various symptoms during these periods, such as:
Although there is no particular therapy for sleep paralysis, stress management, a regular sleep schedule, and excellent sleep practices can help to lower the risk of sleep paralysis. The strategies one can opt to improve sleep habits are – going to bed at the same time every night, ensuring a comfortable sleep environment free of distractions, and avoiding caffeine before sleeping.
You may help to manage sleep paralysis by diagnosing and treating any underlying issues as well as enhancing your sleep health to guarantee a comfortable, fear-free night’s sleep.