A condition many people suffer with but don’t realize it most of the time and include it in their sleep schedule. Sleep paralysis is a condition where you lose the ability to speak or move while in sleep or upon waking up. It may occur only for a minute or two but, sometimes, can be frightening.
Sleep paralysis usually occurs in people who are suffering from narcolepsy or sleep apnoea. You could feel some pressure on your chest or choking, hallucinations, and intense fear, for no reason. Mostly, it begins when you are an adolescent and becomes more frequent when you are in your 20s or 30s. However, it is not life-threatening or physically harmful and can be easily handled.
What is Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is an undesired event associated with sleep. In medical terms, this condition is called parasomnia. This condition is also known as dream paralysis. A person with sleep paralysis can feel hypnagogic experiences, such as auditory, visual, or sensory hallucinations. Hypnagogic is a state just before you drift off to sleep.
Types of Sleep Paralysis
There are three types of sleep paralysis and are consistent. Sleep paralysis has been documented for centuries in different parts of the world, but the experiences of people from different cultures have been similar, as stated below.
This type includes a feeling of pressure on the chest, smothering difficulty in breathing, strangling, or sexual assault. Sometimes, it also feels like you are about to die, but the feeling passes quickly.
This experience can give you a false sense of doorknobs opening, footsteps approaching, some other threatening presence in the room, or shuffling footsteps.
A type of dream paralysis known as V-M hallucination gives you a feeling of flying, floating, falling, something hovering your body, spinning, or other out-of-body experiences.
These psychological experiences do not harm you physically but can be frightening and mentally draining, say experts. In case you are feeling something else apart from the above-mentioned sleep paralysis types, then it could be some other type of sleep disorder you can read about here to manage them.
Causes of Sleep Paralysis
A justified explanation and the exact reason for people experiencing sleep paralysis is unknown. Extensive research is conducted throughout history by various scientists who examined people from different races and cultures to find the cause of sleep paralysis. The study conducted by multiple teams concludes them to believe numerous factors can cause sleep paralysis.
There are many reasons for sleep paralysis, from sleep apnoea to night-time cramps. Some conditions put forward by scientists and researchers for causing sleep paralysis are
- Sleep Apnoea
The highest number of people who have sleep paralysisare those who have sleep apnoea. It is a condition where breathing during sleep is abnormal. Those who suffer from sleep apnoea have extended pauses while breathing during sleep lowering the supply of oxygen in the body and low sleep quality. This condition can also lead to potentially serious health consequences.
It is a common sleep disorder in the United States. It affects adults and children, includes both sexes but is seen more commonly in men.
Three types of sleep apnoea can cause sleep paralysis, such as:
- Obstructive Sleep Apnoea
- Central Sleep Apnoea
- Mixed Sleep Apnoea
It is a sleep disorder where people cannot fall asleep, stay asleep or both in some cases. Many people who have insomnia do not feel, remarkably, fresh after waking up, which leads to other physical health issues. Among all the sleep disorders, insomnia is the most common of them all by the American Psychiatric Association (APA).
The organization further stated that this type of sleep disorder causing sleep paralysis is seen in one-third of the whole adult population in America. About 6 to 10 percent of those who report insomnia have such severe symptoms diagnosed with insomnia disorder.
It is a condition that affects the nervous system of the person suffering from it, causing abnormal sleep and affecting the quality of life. Narcolepsy is a low condition as 1 in thousands experience it. It causes significant drowsiness, sleep attacks, an overwhelming urge to sleep, and not falling asleep quickly/adequately at night.
There are two types of narcolepsy. Type 1 is the most common whose symptom is known as cataplexy or muscle tone loss. People with this type of narcolepsy have difficulty maintaining jobs, doing well at school as they experience extreme urges to sleep during the day. Type 2 is people without cataplexy where people do not feel the sudden loss of muscle tone but wanting to sleep during the day remains.
Sleep Paralysis Demon
Apart from the three major causes of sleep paralysis, there is something called a sleep paralysis demon, which is not real but feels very real. Have you ever felt like there is some presence around you in bed that is obstructing your moment? If yes, then you have experienced sleep paralysis demon.
It is a condition where you just have a feeling that something is hovering over or around you while you’re asleep at night. Research says that the sleep paralysis demon is different for people from different backgrounds. Some people say that they have experienced some faceless monster, some see aliens, many people say they felt their predecessors’ presence. Also, the explanation for the sleep paralysis demon is different in almost every culture.
However, the sleep paralysis you experience is real, but the demon itself is not.
How to Avoid Sleep Paralysis?
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