Have you ever woken up from sleep and you were unable to move as much as you are aware of your surroundings? Then, you have ever experienced sleep paralysis. People who have had sleep paralysis have a rough time coping with day to day activities. Others think they are bewitched, it is a sign of death, while others have no idea what they are experiencing. Sleep paralysis episodes come and go depending on various factors and it can be prevented if it occurs constantly. This state of your mind is awake but your body remaining in a rested state, is scary, to say the least. You might have a good bed, Tempurpedic mattress, perfect sleeping environment and still experience sleep paralysis.
This may be in the form of hallucinations and at least 30% of people experience it once in their lifetime. The percentage may be higher if most people reported their experiences. Despite the fact that you might be told you are going crazy. In simpler terms, since the body has a specific cycle it goes in stages of sleep, sleep paralysis just shows the body did not go through all the stages as it should with success. It is not a mental disorder condition however mental illness can trigger sleep paralysis occurrences.
There are two categories one is a hypnagogic category that you experience when you are falling asleep. This happens when your body is in a relaxed state but the brain is aware that you are awake. While the hypnopompic one happens when you are waking up. Here your mind is alert and up before the rest of your body has had a chance to wake up. There is no treatment yet for sleep paralysis, however it risks can be mitigated in various ways. Although, if it is constantly having a doctor examine you will help you identify the specific problem.
Different causes of sleep paralysis
Sleep paralysis has more of risk factors compared to causes which are mainly dependent on sleep-related issues and the successful completion of the REM sleep cycles.
Use of drugs and alcohol
These lifestyle habits interrupt your sleeping routines and cause you to have poor sleep quality. That alone gives you a higher chance of experiencing sleep paralysis. If you abuse such substances and you also have stress and anxiety you are very likely to have repeated episodes of sleep paralysis. The two issues combined trigger sleep paralysis and make your sleep quality and quantity a nightmare.
Disturbed sleep pattern
Having a sleep pattern is very important for your overall health and well-being. However sometimes because of work, life issues, or illness. The sleep pattern may be disturbed and this makes you fatigued, moody and even confused. Some of the issues that alter this pattern are shift work, poor sleeping habits, newborns and all these are risk factors of sleep paralysis.
For you to get effective sleep there are certain sleep positions that are encouraged especially when you have a certain sleep condition or if advised for quality sleep. Sleeping on your back has been discouraged especially when you experience sleep paralysis frequently. Considering that it increases the chances of getting sleep paralysis. Sleep disorders like a nighttime cramp, restless leg syndrome do also provoke the chances of experiencing sleep paralysis.
Although there are no advanced studies as to what causes sleep paralysis. Those who have experienced it first-hand claim that one of their parents or multiple relatives experience the same. Whether it is genetic or not more causes are yet to be established to understand this condition better.
Preventing and handling sleep paralysis episodes
Handling sleep paralysis is important to be able to be okay with it. Understand and get more information on the condition for this will help you solve half of the problem. Learning what lifestyles might provoke your sleep paralysis and its onset will help you handle it better.
In case it occurs be calm and doesn’t panic since in most cases the brain is awake try and think of something different to distract you. For instance, sing a song in your head, wiggle your toes, distract with anything else and the episode will just end quicker. Practicing meditation helps a lot to train your mind to focus on which most people these days have lost touch with. This will help you during your distraction phase to breaking free of sleep paralysis.
To prevent the occurrences of sleep paralysis. First of all, find different ways to boost a good night’s sleep. this can be from the foods you eat, regularly followed sleep routines, exercises. Also reduce bad sleep habits for like, consumption of caffeine and alcohol at night or having being addicted to electronics too late hours of the night.
Have a general health checkup or treat any underlying health conditions to prevent any triggers from them. According to any sleep disorders that you may be suffering from either as a child or an elderly person. Get checked so as to mitigate the risks of ending up with sleep paralysis. Some of these issues are insomnia, sleep apnea, mental issues, and narcolepsy among others. Getting these checkups or treatments is a plus to having quality sleep which has more benefits other than preventing sleep paralysis.
Make sleep a priority and prepare for it in different ways like reading a book, listening to soothing music, dimming the lights and all this should be done an hour before since it helps calm your head to sleep better. Avoiding pleasure habits like watching late time movies, working from home also helps you prioritize and see its importance in a unique way. Enjoy sleep to boost your health and sanity.
In conclusion, sleep paralysis is not a death sentence for anyone. Actually, most people get it when they are most anxious, panicked or have a poor sleep cycle. To heal from it faster don’t shy away from sharing it, even with your doctor to it might raise a health issue you know nothing about.