What Causes Sleep Paralysis?

August 07, 2021

What Causes Sleep Paralysis?

What Causes Sleep Paralysis? 

Sleep paralysis is a type of sleep disorder that often occurs when you are either falling asleep (hypnogogic) or when you are waking up (hypnopopmic). During both of these periods, your eyes move swiftly, your muscles are incredibly relaxed, and dreams occur as part of rapid eye movement, also known as REM sleep. If you happen to wake up during this stage, you may experience the inability to move speak or move. In fact, some individuals recall intense hallucinations which can include: 

  • The sensation of something pressing on your chest and holding you down
  • The overwhelming sense that someone or something is in your room
  • A feeling of foreboding

Research is still uncertain as to why or how these hallucinations actually occur, however, some suggest a harmless neurological disturbance may be involved. An episode can last between a few seconds to a few minutes.

About

Sleep paralysis is more common than one may think. Studies suggests that over 40 percent of people have experienced this sleep disorder at least once during their lives. Interestingly enough, many cultures have adopted their own terms and/or reasons to why it occurs: whether that be a vengeful spirit, aliens coming to abduct you, or something akin to an out of body experience. 

What Are The Causes?

There is not one single cause, but rather a multitude of things that can increase the likelihood of someone experiencing this sleep disorder. This includes: 

  • Sleep deprivation or a lack of sleep
  • A significant change in ones sleep schedule
  • Sleeping on your back
  • The use of certain sleep medications 
  • An overwhelming amount of stress
  • Substance abuse
  • Other sleep-related problems including narcolepsy 

Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that often causes overwhelming daytime sleepiness. Sudden attacks of sleep, a sudden loss of muscle tone and hallucinations may also occur. 

Treatment Options

If you experience only occasional episodes oftentimes no treatment is necessary. It's important that you prioritize getting plenty of sleep (7-9 hours) in order to reduce your risk of experiencing an episode. If you find yourself being unable to fall asleep and stay asleep it may be worthwhile to look into an all-natural sleep support supplement like Easy Sleep. If you are, however, troubled by frequent and intense episodes you should contact your doctor right away. 

How Is It Diagnosed? 

Sleep paralysis can be diagnosed in a number of different ways. If you find yourself unable to move or speak for a few minutes or even seconds when falling asleep or waking up then it is possible you have some form of this sleep disorder. Contact your doctor if you have any of these concerns: 

  • You feel scared about your symptoms and your episodes 
  • You feel very tired during the day
  • Your symptoms of sleep paralysis keep you up at night 

Sleep Paralysis Summary

  • Sleep paralysis is a type of sleep disorder that often occurs when you are either falling asleep or when you are waking up.
  • Research is still uncertain as to why or how these hallucinations actually occur, however, some suggest a harmless neurological disturbance may be involved. An episode can last between a few seconds to a few minutes.
  • There is not one single cause, but rather a multitude of things that can increase the likelihood of someone experiencing sleep paralysis.
  • Sleep paralysis can be diagnosed in a number of different ways. If you find yourself unable to move or speak for a few minutes or even seconds when falling asleep or waking up then it is possible you have some form of the sleep disorder.


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