It is a sign that the body is not moving well through the stages of sleep. In rare cases, it links with psychiatric problems. Hence, people think it is due to an “evil” presence or sleep paralysis demons among popular beliefs.
1. How it can happen?
In this sleeping condition, you’ll feel like you are awake but can’t move. Therefore, it happens if you pass between the stage of being awake and asleep. In these transitions, you are unable to move or even speak for a few seconds. Also, it can last up to a few minutes.
At this point, you may feel like someone is choking you. However, sleep paralysis may go with other sleep disorders like narcolepsy. Such disorder refers to an extreme need to sleep. Also, this situation results from a problem with the brain’s ability to manage sleep.
2. When it might occur?
Once it happens while you are falling asleep, it is hypnagogic sleep paralysis. If it happens as you wake up, it is hypnopompic or postdormital sleep paralysis.
3. Hypnagogic Sleep Paralysis
While falling asleep, our body relaxes. Therefore, do not notice the changes because you become less aware of what’s going on. In this case, you are still aware even if you’re asleep. Also, you may notice that you cannot move your body or even speak a word.
4. Hypnopompic Sleep Paralysis
Moreover, your body takes turns between rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (NREM) sleep. A cycle of REM and NREM sleep lasts for 90 min. NREM sleep happens first. Afterward, it takes up 75% of your sleep time. Also, during this sleep, the body calms and restores itself. After NREM, you will undergo REM sleep. Here, your eyes move fast, and dreams occur. Hence, your body stays relaxed. During this sleep, your muscles are “turned off.” If you turn out to be aware even before the end of this cycle, you may notice that you cannot move or speak.
5. People Who Can Have This Condition
Four out of ten people can have sleep paralysis, meaning this condition not rare. Also, it becomes noticed most in the teen years. Still, anyone of any age or gender can have it. It may run in the family. Factors that have a possible connection with sleep paralysis are:
- Lack of sleep
- Changes in sleeping schedule or pattern
- Mental conditions like stress or bipolar disorder
- Sleeping on the back
- Sleep problems like nighttime leg cramps
- Certain medications or drugs (e.g., for ADHD)
- Alcohol and drug abuse
6. How to Know If You Have One
Sleep paralysis meaning may include the inability to move any part of your body or speak when falling asleep or waking up. In this situation, you may have isolated recurrent sleep problems. Mostly, there are no linked to sleep problems. Mostly, there is no need to treat such conditions.
Tell your doctor if your symptoms:
- bother you or make you feel anxious
- leave you feeling weak or tired during the day
- keep you up at night
Your doctor may ask for more information about your sleep by:
- Asking you to describe your symptoms
- Asking you to keep a sleep diary for weeks
- Talking about you and your family’s health history (esp. for sleep disorders)
- Getting a referral to a sleep doctor for further evaluation
- It is good to have daytime nap studies or overnight sleep studies. By doing so, they will know if you have other sleep problems.
Often, people do not need treatment for sleep paralysis. Also, the goal is to treat what makes you have it. Treatment for underlying conditions may include:
- Improving sleep habits like getting 6 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
- Using medication to help relieve symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Treating mental health problems that may affect sleep.
- Treating other sleep disorders like leg cramps or narcolepsy.
Instead of fearing sleep paralysis demons, seek help to know why you have sleep problems. Take care of your body and mental health. Get enough sleep. Try new things that may relieve stress and boost your energy. If you sleep on your back, try new sleeping positions. See a doctor if this condition stops you from getting good sleep.
Furthermore, a full night’s sleep brings lots of benefits. Additionally, it boosts our mood and immune system. With enough sleep, you will have a sharper brain and memory.