Being unable to move any body part, after waking up, have you ever experienced it? It is called sleep paralysis, it is caused when you are between stages of sleep and wakefulness, or it is also known as the “Hypnopompic” and “Hypnagogic” stage.
The second stage occurs before you fall asleep, and the first one comes right after you wake up from the so called REM phase.
It is quite frightening to experience, and in some cases it can cause a panic attack, because you cannot control any part of your own body.
It is a very common condition, so you should not be scared by it at all, and it also cannot cause any damage to you or your body.
When falling asleep your body relaxes and the mind is becoming less aware. On the other hand in the phase of hypnagogic stage, the mind stays aware but the body is in a relaxing stage, and therefore it cannot be moved not even a little bit.
During the so called REM phase, the muscles are paralyzed, and then the brain awakes and that is when you experience the hypnopompic sleep paralysis.
Paralysis episodes can be experienced very often. Some people never experience this in their lives, while some experience it almost every time they fall asleep. Researchers from Penn State University found out that 8% of the world’s population experience sleep paralysis.
People who suffer from sleep issues also are more likely to experience these sleep paralyses. People who suffer from sleep apnea, or have mental disorders, like anxiety or depression, or if they use some heavy medications.
Risk factors according to WebMD:
- Abuse of powerful substances
- Sleeping on your back
- Changing your sleep schedule very often
- Missing sleep (lack of sleep)
- Narcolepsy or having nightmares while asleep
- Stress or bipolar disorder
- Certain medications, like the ones that are used for ADHD
Sleeping paralysis is characterized by the few next things, unable to move any body part for several minutes, and the inability to speak or call for someone. This is not treated with any medications. But when doctors find out that this paralysis is caused by another health condition, they prescribe the next treatments:
- Cooperate with a sleep specialist
- Prescribe sleep aids
- Prescribe anti-depressant
- Implementation of a sleeping schedule
- Treatment of any underlying sleep disorders
- Referral to a mental health professional
To avoid this condition improve your sleep and manage your stress.
But if you experience it once in a while, not too often, you don’t need to see the doctor or any specialist, just try to manage your stress and improve your sleep.
Limit your intake of alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and avoid to use any devices before bedtime. Remember to stay calm if you experience this kind of paralysis, as it can be scary or terrifying, it will end in a short period after a few minutes.