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Sleep paralysis: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

A phenomenon occurs while people sleep, which makes them feel trapped in their own body, unable to perform any type of movement, without even being able to speak. Many have awakened immobile and have blamed greater forces for their state of shock; however, no matter how much they insist that such an event is a supernatural event, the truth is that it has an obvious and proven scientific explanation: it is of sleep paralysis, which is nothing more than the interruption of rest in the transitional stage between sleep and wakefulness, which, in effect, makes the person unable to move or speak for a few seconds and, In some cases, dreams or hallucinations occur that can be terrifying.

In general, this condition passes quickly and can end on its own or when the person suffering from it is touched. Although it is an event that does not cause any type of damage to the organism, being immobile, knowing that the body does not respond to the intention of speaking and hearing voices, or having hallucinations that are derived from the dream we were having, convert to paralysis of the I dream in a kind of nightmare that is lived awake. Fortunately, this sleep disorder is sporadic and usually has few repetitions. Learn everything you need to know about sleep paralysis: causes, symptoms, and treatment in this FastlyHealarticle.

Sleep paralysis: can we all have it?

Sleep paralysis is a rare event. However, it must be considered that you only need to be asleep for it to occur, something that we do every day. Studies that have taken into account the frequency with which people sleep have determined that sleep paralysis is an episode that 60% of the entire population could experience.

This figure can be alarming, but considering the frequency with which we sleep throughout our lives, it is not considered a discouraging percentage. Similarly, it should be noted that what is experienced by the person during sleep paralysis is very subjective since it responds to the interruption of a dream, something that is not real; therefore, knowing what sleep paralysis is about can help a person who has never experienced it to make the situation more bearable when this disorder occurs.

Causes of this condition

Sleep is a biological process that is made up of different phases. Generally, the body of a person who sleeps is paralyzed in the paradoxical phase of sleep (REM), which is the phase where we begin to dream. This process is normal because it is a response of the body to the neurotransmitter glycine, which prevents the body from making any type of movement to prevent the person from moving based on everything living in the dream.

Sleep paralysis occurs when there is an atypical and unexpected interruption of sleep by the body; this paradoxical phase, or REM phase, causes the person to wake up just when the brain inhibits muscle movements because it is aware that it is the part of the most profound dream where the person is dreaming. Therefore, this waking phase interruption causes the person to be half awake and half asleep simultaneously, which is why they may have hallucinations derived from sleep. However, those who suffer from this condition are fully aware that they cannot move, which triggers fear, nightmares, and fatigue upon awakening. Therefore, sleep paralysis is due to a lack of coordination between brain and nervous system processes during sleep.

Some reasons why it happens are:

  • Narcolepsy
  • Stress.
  • Anxiety.
  • Fatigue.
  • Drastic life changes: moving, time zone change, death of a family member.
  • Inverted sleep schedule.

Symptoms of sleep paralysis

  • Impossibility of movement upon awakening.
  • Inability to speak upon awakening.
  • The only active muscles are the eye and respiratory muscles.
  • Hallucinations: the most frequent ones give the impression of feeling the presence in the bedroom of someone else who wants to hurt you but whom you cannot see or speak to. You may also experience the sensation that someone is pressing your body towards the bed, usually on the chest.
  • Fear of not being able to move and fear of that presence in the room.
  • Extracorporeal hallucinations include seeing yourself lying in bed while floating across the room.
  • There are also auditory hallucinations (footsteps or creaks), visual hallucinations (light, objects), and kinesthetic (sensation of falling, vibration or floating).

Treatment of sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis is so rare and non-repetitive that the person usually does not require treatment. The most important thing is to identify if you have experienced any causes of sleep paralysis, such as tiredness, fatigue, stress, anxiety, etc. Even to avoid these episodes, it is enough not to think about them before going to sleep so that they do not occur.

However, when sleep paralysis becomes a repetitive event, it is necessary to visit a specialist to verify the origin of this series of repetitions. In some cases, to alleviate sleep disorders in people with depression and anxiety, it is necessary to use antidepressants to guarantee deep sleep and reduce the level of emotional charge that directly influences the quality of sleep.

Sleeping simultaneously, exercising before bed, taking a hot shower before bed, and drinking a relaxing infusion are some actions that can help keep the body calm, prevent sleep paralysis, and ensure sound sleep.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Sleep paralysis: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Mental Disorders .

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