Sleep Paralysis- Awake, But Can't Move The Body

A transient lack of muscle function while you sleep is known as sleep paralysis. It typically occurs:

  • as a person is falling asleep
  • shortly after they have fallen asleep
  • while they’re waking up

Narcolepsy, another sleep disorder, and episodes of sleep paralysis can coexist. A chronic sleep disease called narcolepsy results in extreme tiredness and unexpected "sleep attacks" throughout the day. Sleep paralysis can nevertheless occur in a large number of people without narcolepsy.

Symptoms of sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis isn’t a medical emergency. You may feel more at peace if you are aware of the signs. The inability to move or talk is the most typical sign of a sleep paralysis episode. A single episode could last anything from a few seconds to two minutes. You may also experience:

  • A sense that something is pulling you downward
  • A sense that someone or something is there in the room
  • Feeling fear
  • Hallucinations during, right before, or after sleep

Other symptoms may include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling as if you’re going to die
  • Sweating
  • Muscle aches
  • Headaches
  • Paranoia

Usually, episodes end when you touch or move yourself or when they stop on their own.

You can be aware of what's happening during an episode yet unable to move or speak. After the short immobility has passed, the details of the experience may also come to mind. Rarely, some people will have nightmare-like hallucinations that may make them feel frightened or anxious but are harmless.

What can cause sleep paralysis?

Sleep paralysis can affect people of all ages, including kids and adults. But some groups face a greater risk than others.

People in some groups are more vulnerable, such as those who have the following ailments:

  • Insomnia
  • Narcolepsy
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Major depression
  • Bipolar disorder
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (ptsd)

Another common factor in sleep paralysis is a disconnection between the body and mind.

The typical causes are as follows:

  • Lack of excellent sleeping habits, poor sleep hygiene, or both can affect the quality of your sleep
  • Sleep disorders like sleep apnea
  • Sleep paralysis has also been connected to sleep schedule disruption. Working night shifts or experiencing jet lag are two situations where your sleep schedule may be disturbed
  • Your chances of experiencing an episode may rise if you sleep on your back. Sleep paralysis may become more likely if you don't get enough sleep

How to prevent sleep paralysis?

    With a few straightforward lifestyle adjustments, such as:
  • Reduce stress in your life
  • Exercise regularly but not close to bedtime
  • Get sufficient rest
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule
  • Keep a record of all the prescriptions you take
  • To prevent side effects like sleep paralysis, be aware of the interactions and adverse effects of the various medications you take
  • Avoid sleeping on your back by choosing to sleep on your side

he following these tips can also help prevent sleep paralysis:

  • Therapy
  • trauma counselling
  • Yoga and breathing techniques might help you regain control over your body
  • If you have a mental health condition, such as anxiety or depression, taking an prescribed medicines may diminish episodes of sleep paralysis
Dr. Priyanka Srivastava
Department of Behavioural Sciences
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