Many of you may experience while sleeping like some person or evil or supernatural power lying above you, giving pressure on your chest, waist that make you unable to move. You try as much as you can to speak or move some body parts but unable to do that. What is that all about?
Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. Moreover, there are two types of sleep; REM (Rapid eye movement) and NREM (Non-rapid eye movement, it include stage 1-4).There will be the sleep cycle of about 90 min, transition from NREM to REM sleep. Dreams mostly occur in REM sleep. We wake up automatically in morning after REM sleep but when someone try to make you wake, it is difficult to awake in REM than in NREM sleep.
In REM sleep there will be total body paralysis except above the neck where there will be the rapid eye movement. So, if someone is between the wakefulness stage and in REM sleep they might experience the sleep paralysis and experience above mentioned features, which is mix with hallucinations and body paralysis. Hallucinations like evil or supernatural power above our body, in fear of that one tries to move the body part but can not able to move to due body paralysis.
Up to as many as four out of every 10 people may have sleep paralysis. This common condition is often first noticed in the teen years. But men and women of any age can have it. Other factors that may be linked to sleep paralysis include:
- Lack of sleep
- Sleep schedule that changes
- Mental conditions such as stress or bipolar disorder
- Sleeping on the back
- Other sleep problems such as narcolepsy or nighttime leg cramps
- Use of certain medications
- Substance abuse
Most people need no treatment for sleep paralysis. There’s no need to fear nighttime demons now onward. While there is no direct treatment for it, here are some tips you can use to wake up from an ongoing episode as seen on the infographic by 25 Doctors.
- Don’t fight it, struggling will only worsen how you feel. Many people who try to fight it off get more terrified.
- Relax. If you have an episode, tell yourself that you know what’s going on, and that you will be fine.
- Clench and wiggle. You can try to move your hands by making a fist, this can put an end to the episode. Alternatively, you can wiggle your toes, it can help restore your ability to move quickly.
- Remember to keep breathing. Don’t let fear get the most of you, just keep yourself calm by breathing in and out while trying to make a fist.
- Making a face works just like a fist or a toe wiggle. The successful movement of your facial muscles can quickly wake you up.
You can try these tips and watch episodes end in no time.
Don’t forget to get enough sleep and lie on your side to decrease the frequency of sleep paralysis episodes.
Source: Ganong’s Review of Medical Physiology 25th edition