Sleep Paralysis: Separating Myths from Facts

Have you ever woken up suddenly and felt unable to move, speak or felt a force holding you down to the bed?

Many beliefs (religious or cultural) have proposed possible causes but perhaps you didn’t know that this is a common phenomenon called SLEEP PARALYSIS.

Sleep Paralysis is a feeling of being conscious but unable to move.

It’s usually a stage between wakefulness and sleep and usually occurs either at the stage of falling asleep or waking up.

It  occurs because the body is not moving smoothly through the stages of sleep.

It could occur alongside perceived respiratory difficulty, anxiety and hallucinations (seeing objects, persons or hearing sounds not necessarily real).

Due to some of it’s characteristics it has been attributed over the years in many cultures to be due to the presence of evil powers such as demons and this is responsible for the widespread panic about it.

Most of us have probably experienced sleep paralysis at least once though the number of times it’s experienced in most individuals is usually low.

It runs in some families and usually begins in teenage years, though both men and women of all ages can experience it.

Certain factors that can be linked to sleep paralysis include;

1. Lack of sleep
2. Sleeping on the back
3. Substance Abuse
4. Certain Sleep Disorders
5. Certain medications

Quite thankfully sleep paralysis might not necessarily require medical attention except if it’s very frequent and the symptoms leave the person tired during the day.

It is also an issue when the symptoms keep the individual awake during the night probably due to an underlying sleep disorder.

Steps that can be taken to prevent it involve;

– Ensuring adequate sleep

– Reducing stress especially before bedtime

– As well as trying new sleep positions.

In conclusion, in most instances there is no cause for alarm friends…(Smiles)

Olusanya Oluwatomi

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