Sleep paralysis

People who wake up and are unable to move or speak may be experiencing sleep paralysis. People who suffer from sleep paralysis are not able to move their limbs when they are asleep. They may feel like someone is sitting on their chest and as if they are being suffocated. Some experts believe that this is a hereditary disorder. Some cases of sleep paralysis can involve all of the skeletal muscles. The paralysis usually happens when the person is just falling to sleep or just waking up. If the person is woken up during a dream they may temporarily experience the inability to move. They may also have a sense of impending danger, as well as audio or visual hallucinations.

This experience may happen to the person only once in their life or it can happen several times each night. This sleep disorder has been known about for centuries. It used to be ascribed to evil presences and thought to be caused by night demons. Researchers now know that it is a common occurrence that some people experience when they are going through sleep stages. When a person is going through these stages they may be unable to move or speak for a few minutes. It is not a dangerous condition but it can be a scary one for some people. There are some people who feel like they are chocking during these sleep transitions. Sleep paralysis may also be caused by low levels of melatonin in the body. Sleeping in certain positions may also cause this to occur and irregular sleep schedules can lead to this condition as well. This condition is also experienced a lot by people who have other sleeping disorders like narcolepsy.

As people begin to fall asleep the body will relax and the person becomes unaware of their surroundings. When sleep paralysis occurs the person remains aware of their surroundings even though they are asleep, but they cannot move or speak. When sleep paralysis happens as the person is waking up, the person is awake, but unable to move temporarily.

The treatment for sleep paralysis typically includes the reduction of stress and the tensions the individual is experiencing. Exercise may also help relieve this condition. There are some prescriptions medications that can be prescribed that will help alleviate the symptoms of sleep paralysis. Patients are told to avoid tobacco, caffeine and alcohol. Keeping a regular sleep schedule is essential. Race may play an important role in sleep paralysis. It is more common in blacks than it is in whites.

The common symptoms of sleep paralysis are:

  • being awake and in your actual environment
  • paralysis or being “crushed” like someone sitting on your chest
  • fear and terror
  • inability to speak
  • hallucinations and hearing voices

Most people find that they have visual hallucinations, including voices, footsteps, and mysterious lights or figures when they are experiencing sleep paralysis. Floating or spinning is another symptom of sleep paralysis that many people who suffer from this condition experience. Some individuals may even feel that they are floating or spinning when they wake up.

Prevention is the best way to deal with sleep paralysis. Make sure you get at least 8 – 10 hours of sleep every night. Eat a healthy diet and exercise every day. Try not to indulge in activities that will make going to sleep hard for you. You should also control your anxiety and stress levels if possible. If you continue to experience trouble with this condition you should consult with your medical doctor for advice. Other sleep disorders may be the cause of your sleep paralysis. A thorough medical exam may be required to rule out other disease and disorders that are causing your symptoms.

Last updated on Jun 22nd, 2010 and filed under Sleep Disorders. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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