Why the paralyzing ‘sleep dєmσn’ still hαunts humans ?
Sleep paralysis occurs when you wake up during the dream phase of sleep. During this time, your brain cuts off signals to the rest of your body to prevent it from moving or fulfilling your dreams.
If you suddenly wake up while still in this phase, you are fully conscious but unable to move.
Many of us experience these disconcerting side effects without really understanding what is going on. You will often feel
- Unable to move your limbs
- Inability to speak
- Heavy pressure on your chest
- Inability to breathe easily.A feeling of foreboding
- The sense that someone is in your room
- The sensation of someone pressing on your chest or choking you
- An image of a monster, witch, demon, or other menacing figures.
Hypnagogic and hypnopompic hallucinations
Vivid dream-like experiences, called hypnagogic or hypnopompic hallucinations, can seem real and are often frightening. They can be mistaken for nightmares and can occur during sleep (hypnagogic) or wakefulness (hypnopompic).
Sleep paralysis is a severe condition where one begins to mentally wake up and become conscious while still under the influence of rapid eye movement (REM). It is a condition associated with the inability to move that occurs when an individual is sleeping or waking up. The victim feels trapped, unable to move or speak when they fall asleep or wake up, but can breathe and is aware of their surroundings.
Sleep paralysis is a fairly common condition. The cause is unknown, but studies have identified some potential risk factors.
They may include;
- Insomnia, sleep deprivation, erratic sleep schedules.
- Mental conditions such as bipolar disorder
- Stress or trauma; PTSD
- Genetic influences
- Physical illness
- The use of certain medications such as ADHD
- Substance use such as drugs, alcohol, or prescription drug addiction.
- Other psychiatric disorders such as childhood sexual abuse, anxiety disorders, narcolepsy, etc.
Here are some other tips to help reduce your risk of experiencing these episodes:
- Adopt a healthy sleep schedule. Go to bed and get up at the same time each day, and aim for 6-8 hours of sleep per night.
- Improve your bedtime routine. Take a cue from Pisadeira’s story and avoid going to bed on a full stomach. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as bedtime approaches. Doing something relaxing before bed can also help you get a good night’s sleep.
- Don’t sleep on your back. Sleep paralysis is more likely to occur when you sleep on your back, as you are more likely to be awakened by snoring or sleep apnea, so opt for any other comfortable position. If you tend to end up on your back even after falling asleep in another position, placing a pillow on each side can prevent you from rolling over completely.
- Treat any underlying conditions. Stress, anxiety disorders and other mental health issues can contribute to frequent episodes of sleep paralysis. Treating the underlying cause can help prevent these episodes.
- Talk to your doctor about the medications you are taking. Side effects of some medications can cause sleep problems, including vivid dreams, nightmares and sleep paralysis. If your episodes started or increased after