Sleep paralysis is not commonly viewed as a condition that poses a significant risk to one’s life, despite the fact that it can result in great anxiety.
The majority of instances normally only persist for a few seconds to a few minutes, despite the fact that further research is required to investigate the long-term effects.
Why does sleep paralysis occur?
You will have an episode of sleep paralysis right before you fall asleep or right as you are ready to wake up. Because you feel as though you are paralysed, you are unable to speak or move. It may only last just a few moments, but the uneasy sensation it leaves behind can persist for quite a while.
When you have sleep paralysis, you could have dreams that are so real that you wake up from them, and these dreams might give you a feeling of intense anxiety and panic.
When this occurs as you are waking up from a sleep state, it is referred to as hypnopompic sleep paralysis. When it takes place just as you are beginning to drift off to sleep, the condition is referred to as hypnagogic sleep paralysis.
The term “isolated sleep paralysis” refers to instances of sleep paralysis that take place by themselves without being accompanied by any other symptoms (ISP). ISP episodes that occur frequently and generate visible distress are referred to as having recurrent isolated sleep paralysis (RISP), which is an acronym for the full word (RISP).
What causes sleep paralysis?
In a 2018 paper titled “Trusted Source” in the International Journal of Applied & Basic Medical Research, it was said that the non-scientific community has paid more attention to sleep paralysis than the scientific community has.
Our present understanding of sleep paralysis is constrained with respect to:
- risk factors
- long-term damage
Clinical research is now less accessible than cultural information, for instance:
- Many people in Cambodia think that sleep paralysis is a spiritual assault.
- Sleeping face down on the bed with a pile of sand on it and a broom by the door is a well-known folk treatment in Italy.
- Many people in China think that a spiritualist should be consulted to treat sleep paralysis.
Several factors linked to sleep paralysis have been found from a medical standpoint, according to a 2018 analysis published in the journal Sleep Medicine Reviews, including:
- physical sickness,
- mental illness,
- subjective and objective sleep difficulties,
- especially post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD),
- panic disorder,
- substance use, and
- signs of psychiatric illness, notably anxiety symptoms
Sleep paralysis and REM sleep
It’s possible that hypnopompic sleep paralysis is brought on by the transition out of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep.
NREM sleep, also known as non-rapid eye movement sleep, is the initial stage of the regular sleeping process. During NREM, the waves of your brain slow down.
After around ninety minutes of non-REM sleep, the activity in your brain shifts, and REM sleep begins. Your eyes are darting around quickly while you are dreaming, but your body is completely still.
In the event that you awaken before to the completion of the REM cycle, you may become aware that you are unable to talk or move.
Sleep paralysis and narcolepsy
A sleep disorder called narcolepsy results in excessive daytime sleepiness and sporadic sleep attacks. Regardless of their status or the circumstances, most narcoleptics can struggle to maintain sustained wakefulness.
Sleep paralysis is one symptom of narcolepsy, however not everyone who has it has the disorder.
A 2013 studyTrusted Source claims that one way to distinguish between sleep paralysis and narcolepsy is that the sleep paralysis attacks are more frequent when you wake up, but the narcolepsy attacks are more frequent when you’re falling asleep.
Although there is no known treatment for this chronic condition, many symptoms can be controlled with medication and lifestyle adjustments.
What is the frequency of sleep paralysis?
According to research that was conducted by Trusted Source in 2011, 7.6% of the total population has had at least one instance of sleep paralysis. The percentages of students (28.1%) and psychiatric patients (48.4%) who smoked marijuana were significantly higher than other groups (31.9 percent).
Sleep paralysis normally does not continue for a very long period and is not considered to be a life-threatening condition; yet, the experience of waking up unable to move or speak can be extremely distressing.
If you suffer sleep paralysis more often than sometimes, you should make an appointment with your primary care physician to rule out the possibility of any underlying medical conditions.
Inform them of any previous sleep issues you may have had and any current medications or dietary supplements you may be taking. Also let them know if you are currently on any medications.