If You’ve Ever Woken Up At Night Unable To Move, Here’s What It Means
Sleep paralysis is a feeling of being conscious, but unable to move. It occurs when a person passes between stages of wakefulness and sleep. – WebMD
People who have experienced it know how strange it is to wake up and not being able to move any body part, although they are totally aware of everything around them. It is highly frightening phenomenon.
ecause the person is paralyzed but conscious at the same time, s/he becomes frightened and disturbed. However, you need to know that many people encounter with this and it doesn’t pose any threat to the body.
This condition takes place during one of the two stages known as “hypnagogic” and “hypnopompic”. Hypnagogic occurs before falling asleep, while the second happens as soon as the person wakes from REM sleep.
When we fall asleep, our body relaxes and the mind becomes less aware. In hypnagogic sleep paralysis, the mind remains aware but the mind is in relaxation state. During REM sleep, the muscles are paralyzed, but some part of the brain wakes.
A study shows that around 8% of the population experiences sleep paralysis. However, people with mental disorders, such as depression and anxiety are more prone to frequent episodes of this condition, including people with an underlying sleep condition, sleep apnea and people who take some specific medications.
This is the list of risk factors:
- Sleep problems like nighttime leg cramps or narcolepsy
- Lack of sleep
- Mental conditions, like bipolar disorder or stress
- Substance abuse
- Frequent changes in sleep schedule
- Certain medications, like the ones with ADHD
- Sleeping on the back
In the case of a sleep paralysis, people cannot speak or move for several seconds or minutes, most often shortly after they have fallen asleep, or immediately after waking up.
In most cases, this issue is not medically treated, but at times, the doctor may inquire into other aspects of the sleep health, and if the sleep conditions get worse, he may even ask the help of a sleep specialist.
There is usually not a prescribed treatment, as this paralysis happens naturally. Yet, if an expert finds another underlying condition in the process of diagnosis, he may prescribe a treatment, such as:
- Treatment of any underlying sleep disorders
- Prescription for sleeping aids
- Referral to a mental health professional
- Implementation of a sleeping schedule
- Prescription for an anti-depressant
- Referral to a sleep specialist
Sometimes, you may prevent sleep paralysis episodes if you successfully reduce the stress before going to sleep and make the healthy sleep your priority.
Moreover, if you experience this once, you should not immediately seek a professional help. If these issues are rare, doctors advise that you pay more attention to your sleeping habits, and sleep well for 8 hours, as lack of sleep often contributes to the occurrence of these issues.
Furthermore, you should reduce or completely eliminate the intake of caffeine, nicotine, alcohol/drugs, nicotine and caffeine, and do not keep your electronic devices close to your bed while sleeping.