Sleep paralysis is a provisional inability to speak or move, which occurs when you’re falling asleep or waking up.
Reality-TV star and model Kendall Jenner lately revealed that she is afraid to go to sleep due to a condition is known as sleep paralysis.
Experts claim that this sleep issue is certainly frightening, and it happens when an individual experiences 2 states – muscle paralysis and dreaming – which typically occur during the rapid eye movement (REM) sleep stage. Though, in people who experience this problem, the paralysis and dreaming occur while they are awake.
This condition is not harmful and usually, passes in a few minutes or seconds. Many people experience sleep paralysis 1-2 times in their life, while others have it a few times per month or even more frequently.
It’s not harmful and should pass in a few seconds or minutes, but can be very frightening.
It affects people of all ages and is most common in teenagers and young adults.
Sleep Paralysis Symptoms
The main symptom of sleep paralysis is being totally aware of your surrounding but momentarily being unable to talk or move.
This usually happens as you’re waking up, but can occur when falling asleep.
In the course of an episode of sleep paralysis you might:
- be able to move the eyes – some individuals can also open their eyes, though, others find they cannot
- find it really difficult to take a deep breath, as if your chest is being restricted or crushed;
- feel really frightened, and/or
- hallucination (have a sensation that there is something or someone in the room with you) – many individuals feel this presence wants to harm them
The length of an occurrence may vary from a few sec. to several minutes.
You will be able to speak and move as normal afterward, even though you may feel anxious and unsettled about going to sleep again.
Causes of Sleep Paralysis
Sleep paralysis occurs when parts of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep happen while you are awake.
This is a stage of sleep when your brain is very dynamic and dreams often appear. The body cannot move, aside from the muscles and eyes used in breathing, conceivably to stop you acting out the dreams and hurting yourself.
It is not clear why rapid eye movement sleep can sometimes appear while you’re awake, though, it has been linked to:
- irregular sleeping patterns – for instance, because of jet lag or shift work;
- not getting enough sleep (insomnia or sleep deprivation);
- narcolepsy – which is a long-term condition that causes an individual to suddenly fall asleep at the inappropriate time, and/or
- a family history of sleep paralysis.
In most cases, sleep paralysis is a once-in-a-lifetime or very occasional episode that happens in someone that is otherwise healthy.
See also: Best and Worst Foods for Sleep
Natural Treatments for Sleep Paralysis
Sleep paralysis typically gets better over time, however improving your sleeping environment and sleeping habits can help. Here are some natural treatments, tips to get rid of sleep paralysis:
- get a good sleep a night – most people need 6-8 hours of good quality night’s sleep
- go to bed at approximately the same time every night and get up approximately at the same time every morning
- create a sleeping environment that is comfortable, silent, dark and not too cold or hot
- avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol, smoking, or eating big meals shortly before going to bed
- get regular exercises (but not within 4 hours of going to bed)
When to Visit Your GP
In most cases, this issue is a one-off and won’t occur again. It is not harmful and is not usually a sign of some underlying problems.
But it is a good idea to visit your GP if:
- you have sleep paralysis frequently
- you’re struggling to get enough sleep or you feel anxious about going to sleep
- you feel sleepy during the day, or have occurrences where you lose muscle control or fall asleep suddenly – these are symptoms of a correlated sleep disorder known as narcolepsy
Your healthcare professional will suggest you some ways to improve your sleep. If your symptoms are really severe they might refer you to a neurologist or other sleep specialist.
Sleep paralysis is more common condition than people realize, affecting up to 8% of people. It is especially common among women and young adults. People with anxiety, depression and the chronic sleep disorder are also more likely to experience it, the scientists assumed.
Improving sleep habits will help you avoid these events. You can treat this issue naturally by going to bed and waking up approximately the same time every day; avoiding TV before bed; not using a cellphone or laptop in bed; avoiding daytime napping, and avoiding stimulants close to bedtime
Although it can be a quite frightening experience, many experts claim that sleep paralysis is not a medical emergency.
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