Tips for Managing Sleep Paralysis

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  • Sleep paralysis is a medical condition in which sufferers are sometimes unable to move and may experience other symptoms when first going to sleep, or on waking.
  • It is a condition which, while not life threatening, is extremely disturbing and frightening when it occurs.
  • There is currently no cure for sleep paralysis, but there are factors which can decrease the risk and steps that can be taken to decrease the likelihood of suffering from sleep paralysis.

While falling asleep or waking from sleep, some people experience a period of a few minutes when they are completely unable to move.

Sleep paralysis is a disorder that affects over seven and a half percent of the population. It can be an extremely disconcerting and even frightening experience. (source)

What Is Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is a condition that occurs when moving through different stages of sleep. It has two basic types – hypnagogic, or predormital sleep paralysis, and hypnopompic, or postdormital sleep paralysis.

Predormital sleep paralysis happens as a person is falling asleep. Postdormital sleep paralysis occurs as a person is waking from sleep. In both cases, sleep paralysis is a conscious state where the person is unable to move any part of their body.

The following advice can help to avoid or reduce the frequency of sleep paralysis episodes:

Try not to sleep on your back. Research indicates that sleep paralysis occurs more frequently in back sleepers, so try to adopt a different sleeping position.

Make sure you get enough sleep every night. Research indicates that sleep paralysis is more likely to occur when a person is sleep deprived. Most adults need between seven and nine hours of sleep each night.

It’s also important to try to relax your muscles during sleep paralysis, trust that the episode will pass, and give the brain time to readjust and switch on the muscles rather than trying to fight against the paralysis.

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Keep reminding yourself that sleep paralysis is a temporary problem which is going to resolve itself. This will help to reduce feelings of anxiety, fear and panic.

If you experience hallucination or a feeling of someone or something being in your room, try to reassure yourself that no matter how real things appear to be, you are safe and there is no actual threat.

Seek advice from your doctor, who may be able to prescribe medication to help. Your doctor will also be able to inform you of any new types of treatment which may have become available.

Treatment for Sleep Paralysis

by Helen Sanders, HealthAmbition

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