Have you heard people say “witches press me for night”? Or have you experience that weird feeling as if someone is choking you in your sleep with your eyes open and you try to shout but you can’t? You try to move, no way. You keep shouting and suddenly it feels like you are free and you jump out of the bed and start praying and thanking God because your enemies wanted to kill you?
Congratulations, you just experience Sleep paralysis.
Our topic today is:
What is Sleep paralysis?
It is a state, during waking up or falling asleep, in which a person is aware but unable to move or speak. During an episode, one may hallucinate (hear, feel, or see things that are not there), which often results in fear. Episodes generally last less than a couple of minutes. It may occur as a single episode or be recurrent.
Sleep paralysis is a temporary loss of muscle function while you’re sleeping.
It typically occurs:
as a person is falling asleep
shortly after they have fallen asleep
while they’re waking up
According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, people with sleep paralysis usually experience this condition for the first time between the ages of 14 and 17 years old.
It’s a fairly common sleep condition. Researchers estimate that between 5 and 40 percent of people experience this condition.
Episodes of sleep paralysis may occur along with another sleep disorder known as narcolepsy.
Narcolepsy is a chronic sleep disorder that causes overwhelming drowsiness and sudden “sleep attacks” throughout the day. However, many people who don’t have narcolepsy can still experience sleep paralysis.
What are the symptoms of sleep paralysis?
Sleep paralysis isn’t a medical emergency. Being familiar with the symptoms can provide peace of mind.
The most common characteristic of an episode of sleep paralysis is the inability to move or speak. An episode may last for a few seconds to about 2 minutes.
You may also experience:
feeling as if something is pushing you down
feeling like someone or something is in the room
hypnagogic and hypnopompic experiences (HHEs), which are described as hallucinations
during, right before or after sleep.
Note that other symptoms may include:
difficulty in breathing
feeling as if you’re going to die
Episodes typically end on their own, or when another person touches or moves you.
You may be aware of what’s happening but are still unable to move or speak during an episode. You may also be able to recall the details of the episode after temporary paralysis disappears.
In rare cases, some people experience dreamlike hallucinations that may cause fear or anxiety, but these hallucinations are harmless.
What can cause sleep paralysis?
the usual causes include:
poor sleep hygiene, or not having proper sleep habits that are necessary for good quality sleep
sleep disorders like sleep apnea
Having a disrupted sleep schedule has also been linked to sleep paralysis. Examples where your sleep schedule can be disrupted include working night shifts or being jet lagged.
In some cases, sleep paralysis seems to run in families. However, this is rare. There’s no clear scientific evidence that the condition is hereditary.
Sleeping on your back may increase your chances of an episode. Lack of sleep may also increase the risk of sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis is also usually caused by a disconnect between mind and body, which happens during sleep,
How to treat sleep paralysis?
Symptoms of sleep paralysis typically resolve within a matter of minutes and don’t cause any lasting physical effects or trauma. However, the experience can be quite unsettling and frightening.
Sleep paralysis that occurs in isolation doesn’t typically require treatment. But those who also have signs of narcolepsy should consult a doctor. This is especially important if symptoms interfere with work and home life.
How can I prevent sleep paralysis?
You can minimize symptoms or the frequency of episodes with a few simple lifestyle changes, such as:
✔️Reduce stress in your life.
✔️Exercise regularly but not close to bedtime.
✔️Get sufficient rest.
✔️Maintain a regular sleep schedule.
✔️Keep track of medications you take for any conditions.
✔️Know the side effects and interactions of your different medications so you can avoid potential side effects, including sleep paralysis.
✔️Sleep on your side and avoid sleeping on your back.
The take home…
Sleep paralysis is a common condition, and while it isn’t dangerous, it can be scary and unsettling for some people.
If the condition is causing you distress or affecting the quality of your sleep, then you may want to see a doctor.
I hope you have learnt something new today. Thanks for reading till the end. Please share what you’ve learnt with your loved ones.