Are you among the many people who have faced a frightening experience while sleeping, waking up immobilized? This experience is so terrifying and you cannot move your body, make a sound, and you experience shortness of breath. Moreover, this condition may be accompanied by a strong feeling of pressure on your chest, weighing your body down and a sense of danger. This condition is actually quite common and known as sleep paralysis.
What is Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is a form of parasomnia, which isn’t actually dangerous. This condition lasts up to several seconds and it occurs when a person is awakened from sleep, and it also can occur when in the process of falling asleep. Although the exact reason for this difficult sleep experience is still unknown, it appears that many instances of sleep paralysis occur because of difficulty transitioning between different sleep stages. This is particularly true when moving in and out of REM sleep.
During the rapid eye movement or commonly known as REM, the body becomes paralyzed. This happens so because this paralysis protects the body from injury during sleep. Hence, during REM the dreaming occurs. In case there isn’t a paralyzing effect, there may be a physical response to the dreams, which can be quite dangerous.
When it comes to sleep paralyzes, it is believed that it occurs during the transitions in and out of REM sleep and other sleep stages. Thus, you wake up and become aware of the paralysis. This condition may be accompanied by hallucinations of ghosts and sensations of falling or flying. Although it is frightening, it isn’t dangerous at all.
This is quite a common phenomenon and there are certain groups of people more susceptible to sleep paralyzes. Therefore, people who have disrupted sleep cycles, have experienced trauma, or suffer from depression are more prone to experiencing sleep paralysis. It is also believed that this phenomenon occurs due to heredity.
What to Do in Case of Sleep Paralysis?
If you do experience sleep paralysis, don’t panic. Make sure to remember that this frightening phenomenon is only temporary and harmless.
How to Prevent Sleep Paralysis?
Luckily, it is possible to decrease the chances of experiencing sleep paralysis. You can do so by improving your lifestyle. Hence, you should undertake the following steps:
- avoid excessive alcohol consumption;
- maintain a regular sleep routine;
- do regular exercises;
- avoid late night dinner;
- have a healthy and balanced diet;
- reduce stress and maintaining the mental health;