Health and Wellness

Sleep Paralysis and its Salient Features

Salient Features of sleep paralysis
Written by Banani Chakraborty

Salient Features of Sleep Paralysis are specific conditions when we are unable to move or speak. It may occur not only when we are waking up but also when we are falling asleep.

Salient Features of Sleep Paralysis

An Overview:

In the first place, sleep paralysis occurs to almost every person and at any age. Although, this is a common scenario for young adults and also the adolescence.

Actually, some have experienced it only for a very few times in life, whereas a good number of people have experienced it quite frequently.

All We Should Know About Sleep Paralysis:

salient features of sleep paralysis

source google image

To tell the truth this is not at all harmful or life-threating. Moreover, it will pass very shortly, maybe in some seconds or a few minutes. However, it may be frightening for us and causes anxiety and stress.

Actually, we feel that we are aware and our senses are intact, but we are unable to do anything as some pressure or power has chocked them. Added to this there may be a sense of hallucinations and powerful fear.

Some Facts on it:

Some salient features of it-

  • It normally occurs during puberty to 30ties.
  • It lasts from 20-30 seconds up to some minutes.
  • Sleep deprivation or insomnia or stress or jet lag or panic disorder may aggravate it.
  • The most vital is unable to move or speak and maybe hallucinations.
  • It is not at all physically harmful and is curable.

What is Sleep Paralysis? 

Actually, it is a parasomnia or an unwanted event related to sleep.

It happens just in the period between waking up and falling in deep sleep.

1) Intruder: Sounds like doorknobs opening or footsteps or shadow of a man, or some threatening sensation prevailing in the room.

2)Incubus: Sense a burden on the chest or problem to breathe or sexual harassment of sleeping women by a male demon along with the fear of dying.

3)Vestibular-motor: A unique and frightening feeling of falling and floating or flying and hovering or spinning.

A Nightmare:

Although it is brief and not threatening for life, but the experienced person may recall it as haunting and shocking. Therefore, it hampers our sound and sufficient sleep.

In all honesty, it is a nightmare.

Because of the disturbance of sleep and mental agony, it affects our stipulated works along with our happiness.

Sleep Paralysis Demon: Signs and Symptoms:

sleep paralysis demons

source google image

The key indication or symptom of sleep paralysis is that we are totally conscious about our surroundings, but for that very moment we are unable to talk and to move. Generally, this situation occurs when we are going to fall asleep or we are going to wake up.

Throughout sleep paralysis the followings normally occur:

It may happen that we are almost unable to take deep breaths and feel the sensation that our chest is crushing and we may die at any moment.

  • Although we can move our eyes and some people can even open their eyes, but maximum people find it that their eyes are not opening.
  • In fact, we start to feel that there is some power around us and it wants to harm us.
  • Therefore, this sensation makes us frightened.

Most importantly, all these feelings or to be more precise sleep paralysis can be for a few seconds or may run-up to a few minutes.

Common Sleep Paralysis Dreams: common hallucinations :

So far, we came to know that it can cause scary nightmares or hallucinations. Among the most common hallucinations are-

  • a black figure moving around the room
  • a strip of bright light or flashes or colours
  • some deadly animals or ghost hovering around
  • Moreover, females see that someone is trying to try to sexually molest her in all sorts.

Some of the Signs and Symptoms are:

  • Awake and conscious.
    signs and symtoms of sleep paralysis

    source google image

  • Feel chest pressure.
  • Hard to breathe.
  • Unable to move the body.
  • Unable to speak.
  • Fear of death.
  • Sweating.
  • Hallucinations may occur.
  • Headache and muscle pain and paranoia.
  • Most importantly, common and non-threatening sounds and feelings of every day, and other stimuli that

    we generally ignore.

After this phase, we will become as normal as usual. We will start speaking and moving and doing all other activities as usual. But it is very hard to get relief from the agony and the fear. So, it may happen that we are anxious to go to sleep once again.

Diagnosis: When to consult a general physician:

To tell the truth, sleep paralysis generally does not repeat or in other words, it may not happen in your life daily or too often.

Moreover, it is not either harmful or a problem.

But it is advisable to consult a general physician if:

  • If we feel drowsiness or sleepiness almost all day.
  • As we experience fear as well as very anxious to go to sleep or it is causing a problem in deep sleep and causing stress.
  • Because we fall into a sleep all on a sudden and lose the power to control our muscle.
  • It occurs very often or regularly.
  • To tell the truth, it can be a medical problem in case of hypertension or migraines or obstructive sleep apnea or anxiety or clinical depression.

These are some symptoms of severe sleep disorder which is narcolepsy.

Our general physician can suggest us the importance of sleep and also some ways to improve sleep. Added to this they may also give us a mental booster and discuss foods helpful for sleep. If necessary, they can advise consulting a sleep specialist or a neurologist.

Causes of Sleep Paralysis:

source google image

Most importantly, it generally happens when we are in rapid eye movement (REM) stage of sleep and therefore, we are awake. In this stage of sleep as our brain remains very active so we normally dream in this phase.

Indeed, at the time of sleeping our body relaxes and voluntary muscles remain stationary. This is the reason why we do not have any injury at the time of dreaming.

Sleep paralysis normally disturbs the rapid eye movement or REM phase of the sleeping cycle.

Our body interchanges between non-rapid eye movement (NREM) and rapid eye movement (REM) phases.

In fact, every cycle of both the REM and NREM sleep lasts for 90 minutes and so. Moreover, the maximum time that we spent in sleeping, is in NREM state and at this time our body relaxes.

On the other hand, in the REM phase, our eyes move quickly and body relaxes and brains remain very active. This is the reason that dreams mostly occur in this stage.

Reasons for sleep paralysis are:

    •   Narcolepsy-a long-prevailing situation when a person all on a sudden fall asleep at any time
    •  Sleep deprivation or insomnia
    •  Irregular sleeping due to shift work or jet lag.
    •  Generally family history.
    •  Sleeping on our back.
    • Treatment for Sleep paralysis:

In most of the cases, sleep paralysis may happen for a few times at the time of our teens and youths and most importantly, it is not a very regular phenomenon. Generally, the situation recovers totally over time. Moreover, sound and sufficient sleep can help us to tackle the situation.

Tips for better sleep:

Actually, there is no hard and fast treatment available in the market. But stress management and sound sleep can be very helpful.

To know more about better sleep read:

         Sound and Sufficient Sleep: Key to being Healthy.

         Different phases and Benefits of Deep Sleep.

To control stress read:

o          Features of the stress-the silent killer.

Moreover, these indirectly may help somehow:

How to Wake up from Sleep Paralysis?

  1. First, we must try to avoid stress and anxiety, if possible all day and specifically just before sleep. If we are facing chronic stress, then we must treat for that. If there is no stress, then it is highly possible that there is no sleep paralysis.
  2. Secondly, we should be calm and cool, maintain a positive attitude, use the power of spoken words as well as the happiness of mind.
  3. Thirdly, we must ease our body totally at the paralysis phase. We will not battle it convincingly, because this can make us panic and is able to better the chance of scary hallucinations.
  4. Fourthly, we may try to move our eyes. We shall either blink our eyes or look around or here and there of the room in order to work together for the brain and the body
  5. Fifthly, we will slowly jiggle our fingers and toes to instruct our brain that our body is still awake.
  6. Then, we also try to move our facial muscles along with the lips.
  7. Finally, we shall focus our breathing and start to take a slow and deep breath as we can.

If we are able to continue these during sleep paralysis, then we will be able to get rid of this fear.

Most importantly, if we are able to stick to these we will surely and certainly get the satisfactory result instantly as well in the long run.

Sleep Paralysis Statistics:

In the first place, according to various studies over 36533 number of people, it is clear that 7,6% of common people, 28.3% of pupils and 31.9% of psychological patients (psychiatric) do experience sleep paralysis in their lives. Among psychiatric patients, 34.6% suffer from sleep paralysis.

Has Anyone Died from Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep Paralysis Can Kill:

Although, it is very frightening, yet it does not cause any physical damage. Most importantly, we may feel that we are going to die or we will wake up dead. Therefore, fear of death is very common in it. But, it is not at all harmful.

To tell the truth, so far there is no such known incident.

Finally, we will remember that we will sleep well and lead a stress-free life. Moreover, we will not bother about sleep paralysis. Furthermore, we will lead a happy life with the help of love and relationship.

Overall, anyhow we will not think of it at all and we will recover.

It is not fatal and it cannot harm us anyhow.



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Banani Chakraborty

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