Do you suffer from sleep paralysis? When you sleep, you lose awareness when entering the first phase of sleep. Then your brain releases chemicals that cause the body to remain still, paralyzed. This is the reason you could dream that you are dancing and actually be completely still in bed. When you have finished your hours of rest, you stop dreaming first, then you begin to regain mobility and then you wake up.
When a person suffers from sleep paralysis, this process is disrupted and the brain continues to produce chemicals that make you paralyzed without you still being asleep. This process can be distressing and stressful for the person who is living with them, so this OneHowTo article explains how to deal with sleep paralysis so you know what you can do to get through it.
Sleep paralysis may occur for several reasons. One reason is that the sufferer experiences sleep disturbance such as narcolepsy, for example. However, it is common for someone to experience this situation due to external factors that may be affecting their sleep (caffeine, stress, etc.). Some people may have suffered from this paralysis during periods in their life when they were stressed, but they might not suffer from it chronically.
It is very easy to know if you suffer from sleep paralysis as the most obvious symptom is that you experience the feeling of waking but you are unable to move any part of your body. During the sleep-wake cycle or vice versa it's when this distressing disorder prevents you from moving your body or communicating with your body's exterior. This feeling produces a frightening and stressful sensation for the person suffering from it. These episodes can last for a few seconds or minutes and might stop due to an external stimulus (someone touches your body, produces a loud noise, etc.).
However, the exact causes of this condition are not yet known. There are some people who experience sleep disturbances or mental illnesses, which could cause the sleeping disorder. However, others who don't suffer from any of these conditions still experience this pathology all of a sudden.
As this is a condition that occurs sporadically in healthy people, currently there is no specific treatment. However, it is true that doctors can give you some guidelines for healthy living to help you avoid the appearance of these really annoying symptoms.
It is important to know how to deal with sleep paralysis, i.e. what to do if you are in this situation. On a medical level, there are no scientific facts to indicate what needs to be done, but people with this condition are advised to follow these steps:
- Try to move some parts of your body: all of your concentration should focus on attempting to move a finger, hand, ankle, and so on. When you move one of these, your body will wake up and you can escape this paralysis.
- Observe the movement of your eyes: the ability to open or close your eyes is not affected by this condition so a good idea is to try to open them or move them quickly to fully awaken.
- Focus your attention on your breathing: when you feel like you cannot move, this provokes a feeling of being overwhelmed which will increase your nerves and anxiety. It is important that you relax and calm yourself down, so concentrate on your breathing to regain control of your body.
Although we have said that this condition cannot be treated, the fact is that you can incorporate healthy practices into your everyday life that allow you to reduce anxiety and to achieve a much deeper sleep. In addition, there may be a trigger for this situation (e.g. taking any medication, drinking coffee, etc.) so it is important to learn to identify these factors so you stop doing them before going to bed.
OneHowTo gives you some advice to avoid sleep paralysis which includes:
- Sleep for 8 hours a day: one of the possible causes of this condition under investigation is that the person prematurely enters the REM phase and this happens when the person is not sleeping enough. So it's important to sleep for 8 hours a day to restore your vital functions.
- Do not sleep on your back: 60% of patients suffering with this condition were sleeping face up, so you can break this habit by trying to sleep on your side whenever you can. If you find it hard, you can place a tennis ball in your back which will prevent you from feeling comfortable when sleeping face up.
- Do exercise: it is important to burn off excess energy which accumulates in the body through food. In this way, you can burn it off and will ensure that your hours of sleep are truly reparative.
- Goodbye to stress: anxiety and nerves cause normal sleep cycles to become interrupted, so dedicate your life to being free of stress and spend time reading, listening to soothing music, getting a massage or meditating. OneHowTo gives you more ideas as to how to combat stress.
- No caffeine in the evening: we recommend that you do not drink caffeine or stimulants during the 5 hours before going to bed because this could disturb your sleep patterns.
If you want more information on how to stop this disorder in OneHowTo we explain you how to stop sleep paralysis for good.
This article is merely informative, OneHowTo does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
If you want to read similar articles to How to Deal with Sleep Paralysis, we recommend you visit our Mental health category.