Sleep Paralysis: What Causes It and How Can We Prevent It?

  • 19 months ago
5 minute read.
Sleep Paralysis: What Causes It and How Can We Prevent It?

Whether it's insomnia or sleep paralysis, anything that impacts your sleep is often disturbing. However, unlike any other health conditions, people are least aware of sleep paralysis.

While mostly, it isn't much concerning, in some cases, the causes and symptoms can't be neglected. And diagnosis becomes necessary.

So, what exactly is sleep paralysis? How much attention does the condition need? What are the possible treatments? All your questions will be answered in this blog. Also, don't miss the easy ways to simply prevent it.

What is Sleep Paralysis? 

It's quite a common condition in which a person fails to move his body in sleep. Simply put, sleep paralysis is a transition sleep stage in which your body is neither asleep nor awake. Although it is not much risky yet has the potential to cause inconvenience to a person.

During sleep paralysis, the body gains a little conscious state. And despite consciousness, you can't move your legs or arms. Sometimes, you also get a feeling of getting choked. It's often hard for the sufferer to describe their experiences.

Many times, the condition of sleep paralysis leads to pressure, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorders.

Types of Sleep Paralysis 

The condition is generally categorized into two types; Isolated and recurrent.

  • Isolated Sleep Paralysis: It is a comparatively more common type of sleep paralysis. In this, a person encounters isolated episodes over time.
  • Recurrent sleep paralysis: In contrast to isolated sleep paralysis, recurrent involves multiple episodes over time that usually make a person take more frequent naps during the daytime.

What are the Possible Causes of Sleep Paralysis? 

During your sleep cycle, your mind shows you dreams. Your brain works to restrict your body from moving in order to prevent you from walking in dreams.

Sleep paralysis occurs when you become a little conscious of your surroundings. This is generally termed REM or rapid eye movement stage of sleep.

People suffering from several kinds of sleeping disorders may experience sleep paralysis a little often. Also, when you have nightmares and aren't entirely awake or dreaming, then you may feel sleep-paralyzed.

Indeed, there's no specific cause for this feeling. However, some researchers have reported that sleep paralysis could be caused by Insomnia, Narcolepsy, and Shiftwork.

Note: Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder that affects the nervous system. It usually disrupts the normal sleep cycle, affecting your body's overall functioning.

What are the Symptoms of Sleep Paralysis?

According to an American Academy of Sleep Medicine study, you are more inclined to witness sleep paralysis in your adolescence.

Since people rarely know about this mysterious sleep condition, it's obvious to miss the symptoms. The major symptoms of sleep paralysis are as follows:

  • Sense of feeling choked:One of the many causes of feeling choked is sleep paralysis. It's just the sensation of a lump in the throat.
  • Sleep hallucinations: According to studies, more than 70% of the population with sleep paralysis experience hallucinations. Specifically, a hallucinating person imagines things that do not even exist. In many cases, it has proven to be dangerous.
  • Inability to shout or speak: Sometimes, you are in a dream and try to shout, but you simply can't. This may be due to sleep paralysis.
  • Muscle tightening: This is the most common symptom of sleep paralysis. In this, you feel stiffness in your legs and arms.
  • Fear, anxiety, and restlessness: This may or may not be a symptom of sleep paralysis. However, proper diagnosis is required whether or not it's sleep paralysis.
  • Loss of muscle control: Sleep paralysis is usually identified as "Atonia." In which you lose control over the muscular movement.

How is Sleep Paralysis Diagnosed?

According to studies, the percentage of people who suffer from sleep paralysis ranges between 5-40%.Although sleep paralysis is not risky as other disorders, patients in severe conditions need some medical support.

Generally, no serious medical examinations are required for the diagnosis. All you have to do is list your sleeping habits in detail. In addition, if you have a genetic history, inform your doctor immediately.

Other sleep disorders may coexist with sleep paralysis in a few cases. As a result, your doctor may advise you to seek treatment for those first.

How to Treat Sleep Paralysis?

According to experts, sleep paralysis is pretty easy to cure unless you don't have any other mental issues. In case you suffer from depression, anxiety, or schizophrenia, it is a must to get them treated.

It is vital for a person to socialize to relieve daily stress. This not only helps to regulate your sleep patterns, but it also helps to maintain your mental health.

Also, bad postures, sometimes, in the long term, may affect your sleep cycle. So, correcting your sleeping posture favors the treatment process. Besides, many self-help methods are greatly effective in normalizing sleep patterns.

Five Easy ways to Prevent Sleep Paralysis 

According to Dr. Oyewole, good hygiene is the secret to preventing sleep paralysis. And what should be included in good sleep hygiene?

  • Everything from eating healthy to sleeping at the right time is a must to avoid such conditions. Sleep management and sticking to a healthy lifestyle is the ultimate solution to preventing sleep paralysis.
  • Moreover, avoiding caffeinated drinks, alcohol and junk could help a lot in mitigating the chances of having a sleep disorder.
  • Also, don't forget to add 20-30 minutes of exercise to your daily routine. A daily workout frees your body from toxicity while refreshing your cerebral energy.
  • Staying hydrated can also help eliminate toxins from your body (that might be causing sleep troubles or hormonal imbalances)
  • Keep stress away. Try relaxation exercises like meditation and learn coping mechanisms to stay stress-free. A counselor on The Wellness Corner may help you achieve your goal to lead a life with emotions in balance.


Sleep paralysis isn't something you should fear. You just need to follow the right steps, and the problem will vanish within days.

So, spare some time to reflect on your daily schedule. This way, you can determine what's working and what needs improvement. Simply fixing your sleeping habits can solve half of the health problems that you might be struggling with.

However, if you feel the need for a doctor, don't hesitate. Schedule an appointment and get professional advice right away.

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