Idea Health

Organic Health & Food Blog

Sleep Paralysis: what it is and how to stop it

Have you ever had that uncomfortable (sometimes terrifying) feeling of waking up with a temporary inability to move or speak?

If so, then chances are that you suffer from a condition known as sleep paralysis, a condition that is nothing to worry about due to the lack of effect it has on your physical health.

As the name suggests, sleep paralysis is an extremely strange sensation that affects your mobility despite feeling awake. This uncomfortable feeling can last for just a few seconds or sometimes up to several minutes for some sufferers.

For an unlucky few, sleep paralysis can sometimes affect your breathing with additional pressure being forced upon your chest.

Even though sleep paralysis only lasts for a moment, the effects of it can last longer, as it causes some to feel not only anxious, but paranoid too. A small portion of sufferers will experience hallucinations during their episodes of sleep paralysis, such as imagining that another person is forcibly pushing them down.

If you suffer from sleep paralysis and wonder why you’re suffering from it, then read on and discover how to limit how often you suffer from this condition.

What causes sleep paralysis

As we sleep at night, our muscles relax which makes us unable to act out our dreams, but sometimes our muscles can remain relaxed…. even when you wake up.

The delay in your body waking up is the cause of sleep paralysis. Despite the worrying and uncomfortable feeling, you have when you’re experiencing a sleep paralysis episode, there’s no need to panic as there is no underlying condition behind it and it is not harmful.

Even though this experience can be a one-off for some, sleep paralysis is more common in certain groups than others, especially teenagers and young adults. Sleep paralysis can also run in the family, and it’s believed that 40% of people may have it.

How often you suffer from sleep paralysis can be increased by several different factors. Some of the most prominent reasons include having an irregular sleeping pattern, sleep deprivation, medications and sleeping on your back.

Other causes of sleep paralysis include mental health conditions such as bipolar disorder and stress, but it’s believed that if your episode is short lived and irregular then it’s not going to be due to a mental health issue.

How to limit sleep paralysis

If you’re alarmed by how often you suffer from this condition, then there are several things you could do to prevent having sleep paralysis on a frequent basis.

Firstly, a comfortable, supportive mattress is essential to a good, uninterrupted sleep. Choose a softness which feels supportive and comfortable to you, which will help you to have a quality amount of REM sleep.

Cutting down on the amount of caffeine you consume is a good start, especially close to your bedtime, and limiting the amount of alcohol you drink will also have an equally beneficial effect on you.

Exercising in the evening is another good way of tiring yourself out before bed, and once again it’ll give you a higher chance of having a deep, uninterrupted sleep.

By creating a comfortable sleep environment and blocking out both natural and blue light, you’re going to stop your circadian rhythm from being disrupted.

Talking to a friend, family member or doctor about your problems could also reduce any stress, which will also help you sleep better at night.

If you’ve tried numerous methods to limit your sleep paralysis episodes and you’ve yet to have any success, it’s a good idea to see a doctor to discover whether you have any underlying medical conditions.