Ever felt paralyzed, completely unable to move or speak right after waking up? Well, if you have, that wasn’t any sort of supernatural phenomenon. It was a clear symptom of sleep paralysis, a common condition that disables people from making any movement or speaking for several minutes right after waking up from a deep sleep.
Wondering why would anything like that happen? Sleep paralysis occurs when a person wakes up before the rapid eye moment, a stage of sleep when you have dream with most of the muscles in resting mode. In simpler words, it happens when a person is awake from sleep but the muscles are still inactive. However, it can happen when a person is almost asleep.
Sleep paralysis can be a harrowing experience for the person experiencing it. People who suffer from it describe it as a feeling of being trapped inside one’s body.
This condition is more common than you might think, 4 out of 10 people suffer from sleep paralysis with varying degrees of effects at some point in their lifetime.
Here are some of the common symptoms to watch out for if you think you might have sleep paralysis.
Also read: 10 Tips for Better Sleep
The person experiencing sleep paralysis will be unable to move or talk at all. This may happen when you wake up or in some cases even when you are just falling asleep. This feeling can last from one to two minutes and can be terrifying.
While some people with this condition get fine after few minutes of physical inactivity, some experience a lot of discomfort. Many people who suffer from this condition often mention feeling a heavy weight on their chest. Some people also report feeling choked or having trouble breathing normally.
Sleep paralysis occurs in the REM phase of the sleep. This is the phase where we experience dreaming. When a person having sleep paralysis wakes up, their muscles are paralyzed and mind is awake, but they are still in the dreaming phase. This can lead to various hallucinations, a subset of people suffering from sleep paralysis show the symptoms of hallucinations. So if wake up at night and see a ghostly figure while being unable to move, it’s time to see a doctor.
Also read: How sleep position affects sleep quality?
Although there is no proven scientific association yet between insomnia and sleep paralysis, several people with the medical condition find it difficult to sleep.
So if you experience these symptoms along with inability to move or talk right after waking up from sleep, you may have sleep paralysis.
Most people need no treatment for sleep paralysis. But some steps can be taken to sleep well. These treatments may include the following:
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