What is sleep paralysis? Causes, symptoms and treatment

The phenomenon of sleep paralysis is often associated with mysterious stories tinged with spirituality. However, in reality, this phenomenon is a fairly common form of sleep disorder. Understanding sleep paralysis will help readers know how to handle and reduce anxiety and fear when encountered.

What is sleep paralysis?

The phenomenon of sleep paralysis is often associated with somewhat mysterious and spiritual explanations

What is overburden phenomenon?

Surely, all of us have experienced the phenomenon of sleep paralysis or folk also known by the name ghost. In fact, this phenomenon is often associated with bizarre spiritual stories. Even, many places circulated legends about ghosts to explain the phenomenon of sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis is actually a form of non-organic sleep disorder (without physical damage to the brain) scientifically known as sleep paralysis or sleep paralysis. This phenomenon can occur before sleeping or after waking up with the characteristic that the body is completely paralyzed, unable to move limbs although consciousness is still awake.

Some people also experience hallucinations and hallucinations when paralyzed. This is also the reason sleep paralysis is often associated with stories tinged with spirituality. According to statistics from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM), sleep paralysis usually first appears between the ages of 14-17 and lasts a lifetime. It is estimated that about 5 – 40% of the population has experienced this condition.

Sleep paralysis can be accompanied by other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, insomnia, late arrival of sleep, and frequent awakenings during the night. In essence, sleep paralysis is not dangerous to health. This phenomenon is completely harmless and usually does not require treatment. However, in some cases, sleep paralysis can be a sign of alarming health problems.

Causes of sleep paralysis

In the Vietnamese concept, sleep paralysis occurs when the body is “pressed” on the body by the devil, so the limbs cannot move even though the mind is completely awake and lucid. In addition, the hallucinations and hallucinations encountered during sleep paralysis add to the persuasiveness of this interpretation.

During sleep, the whole body is relaxed and the muscles cannot move. This “relaxed” state ends after waking up. However, some people can wake up even when the body is still in this state. This is the phenomenon of sleep paralysis, also known as sleep paralysis.

Currently, there have been many studies on the causes of sleep paralysis. To determine the cause of sleep paralysis, it is important to understand the characteristics of sleep.

Human sleep occurs in cycles and each cycle will include 2 phases, rapid eye movement (REM) and slow sleep (NREM) phases. One cycle will last about 90 minutes and the NREM phase is always dominant. In the slow sleep phase, the body is completely relaxed. In contrast, in the REM phase, the body is still relaxed but the eyes move faster, the body temperature increases and the organs work more actively.

During the REM phase, dreams may occur. Many studies believe that sleep paralysis is actually a dream with the content that the patient is awake but unable to move. Because the dream occurs in the REM phase, the patient’s consciousness is almost awake, the heart beats fast, the body temperature rises, only the muscles are still in a “relaxed” state, so they cannot move.

With real attention, patients can notice spatial differences during sleep paralysis and when fully awake. This further reinforces the theory that sleep paralysis is actually a “dream paralysis” phenomenon.

On average, 4 out of 10 people have experienced sleep paralysis. Although the mechanism behind this phenomenon has been clearly studied, experts have not yet found the exact cause. Currently, several factors have been identified that are associated with sleep paralysis.

What is shadowing phenomenon?

People who are often stressed, have insomnia, and suffer from narcolepsy are at high risk for sleep paralysis

Factors that increase your risk of sleep paralysis:

  • Have narcolepsy or sleep apnea
  • Unstable sleep hours due to working too late, working in shifts
  • Have mental health problems such as bipolar disorder, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
  • Chronic diseases such as high blood pressure, migraine headaches, vestibular disorders, etc.
  • Family history of sleep disorders in general and sleep paralysis in particular
  • Poor sleep hygiene (uncomfortable sleeping space, too hot or too noisy, alcohol use, smoking before bed, etc.)
  • Experts have found that lying on your back is more prone to sleep paralysis than lying on your side.
  • Chronic stress is also a risk factor for sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis will usually happen a few times in a lifetime. If you experience frequent sleep paralysis, you should get it checked out as it could be a warning sign of physical and mental health problems.

Recognizing the phenomenon of sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis (sleep paralysis) is characterized by paralysis of the body, inability to move the limbs despite being consciously awake. In addition, you may also experience some other symptoms.

Signs of sleep paralysis:

  • Unable to move body despite conscious consciousness
  • Feeling like someone or something is pressing on your chest and torso
  • Appears hallucinations or hallucinations, often terrifying images and echoes
  • Feeling scared, heart palpitations, sweating, shortness of breath, headache, etc.
  • Unable to talk during sleep paralysis
  • Sleep paralysis can happen once or many times during the night

Sleep paralysis may go away on its own after a few minutes or after you fall asleep and wake up later. In addition, some people can get rid of the feeling of numbness when someone touches their body. This strange reaction is the cause of the formation of somewhat superstitious and spiritual explanations.

Is sleep paralysis really dangerous?

As mentioned, sleep paralysis is completely harmless. Sleep paralysis goes away on its own after a short period of time without the need for treatment. The only effect of this phenomenon is feelings of anxiety and insecurity when unable to move, experiencing hallucinations or hallucinations. Learning about the mechanism and scientific explanation of sleep paralysis will help you reduce fear and anxiety when encountering this condition.

Sleep paralysis is not a cause for concern. However, you should still intervene to improve and prevent measures to ensure quality sleep. Because sleep paralysis occurs frequently, it can disrupt sleep, affect physical and mental health.

What is sleep paralysis?

In essence, the phenomenon of sleep paralysis is harmless and does not affect health

In case sleep paralysis occurs too often, you should go to the hospital for examination and examination. Because sleep paralysis can be a sign of a number of medical problems. In addition, sleep paralysis can also occur at the same time as narcolepsy.

This case requires treatment to prevent accidents and troubles in life. In addition, timely control of sleep disorders also helps patients improve health and prevent problems related to insomnia and lack of sleep.

Diagnosis of sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis is usually diagnosed through clinical examination and investigation. However, doctors may perform further sleep testing (polysomnography) to detect narcolepsy or sleep apnea.

What is sleep paralysis?

Sleep polysomnography is often performed to identify sleep disorders associated with sleep paralysis

In addition, the doctor may also order some laboratory tests to determine the cause of sleep paralysis. If sleep paralysis is suspected as a warning sign of a mental disorder, the patient will be assessed for mental health and given some psychological testing.

How to overcome sleep paralysis (sleep paralysis)

Sleep paralysis is a fairly common and harmless phenomenon that does not necessarily require treatment. Treatment is often considered when this phenomenon interferes with sleep and occurs so often that the patient is stressed and anxious.

Methods considered for people experiencing sleep paralysis (sleep paralysis):

1. Instructions on how to deal with sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis can happen without warning. When encountering this phenomenon, many people fall into a state of excessive fear and anxiety. In essence, sleep paralysis is a phenomenon caused by sleep disorders and is not dangerous to health.

When you encounter sleep paralysis, there are a few things you can do to deal with it:

  • The first step you need to take is to realize that sleep paralysis is actually a dream. Instead of being scared, you can observe the surroundings to find out what is different from the actual scene in the bedroom. This will help you reassure yourself that you are indeed dreaming.
  • After observing the scene, you should take a few deep breaths to regain your composure.
  • Begin to move your fingers and toes. After the finger moves easily, focus your attention on something like a hand or foot. Then use all your strength to get up.
  • Some people choose to close their eyes and continue to sleep. After waking up, you will get rid of sleep paralysis without the effort of getting up as above.

Sleep paralysis causes a certain feeling of discomfort and fear. Many people suffer from sleep paralysis at night, leading to insomnia and difficulty getting back to sleep. In this case, you should intervene some more treatments under the guidance of your doctor.

2. Drug use

In cases where sleep paralysis is related to narcolepsy, your doctor may prescribe certain medications. Medications will help improve narcolepsy and reduce the frequency of sleep paralysis and related symptoms.

overcome the phenomenon of sleep paralysis

Using medication can reduce the frequency of sleep paralysis and improve its accompanying symptoms

The most commonly used class of drugs are selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs). Tricyclic antidepressants are also considered when patients experience excessive stress and anxiety due to sleep paralysis. In addition, cases of sleep paralysis due to lack of sleep, difficulty sleeping will be considered taking melatonin hormone supplements.

3. Psychotherapy

In some cases, psychotherapy will be required to get rid of sleep paralysis. Currently, cognitive behavioral therapy is the most effective method. This therapy helps you learn how to deal with sleep paralysis and address the causes and factors that cause sleep paralysis.

4. Sleep hygiene

Sleep hygiene is common to all sleep disorders, including sleep paralysis (sleep paralysis). The goal of this approach is to improve sleep quality and reduce daytime sleepiness. Thereby helping to improve health, increase concentration when studying, working, etc.

overcome the phenomenon of sleep paralysis

Regular exercise and a scientific lifestyle can effectively improve sleep paralysis

To improve sleep paralysis, you can take the following sleep hygiene measures:

  • Limit exposure to blue light at night. Yellow lights can be used to create a cozy feeling and help the body fall asleep more easily.
  • Clean the sleeping space regularly, make sure the bedroom has a moderate temperature, not too noisy, pillows and blankets must be cleaned to avoid discomfort and itching.
  • Eat dinner before 19:00 and do not eat at night to avoid insomnia. If you often suffer from sleep paralysis, you should abstain from alcohol, strong tea and coffee after 12:00 noon.
  • Try to sleep and wake up at a fixed time. This habit will help stabilize the biological clock and reduce sleep disorders.
  • Exercise daily to relax, relieve stress and stimulate the pineal gland to produce melatonin. However, do not exercise within 2 hours of bedtime.
  • You can meditate, drink herbal tea, use an essential oil diffuser, massage, etc. before going to bed to sleep better and sleep more deeply.
  • Another issue to keep in mind is to limit the amount of time you sleep during the day. Sleep for no more than 30 minutes and avoid sleeping completely during the day if you often have trouble sleeping at night.
  • If you can’t fall asleep, you should wake up and then do your favorite activities such as reading, painting, etc. until you feel sleepy again. At this point, you can go back to bed to start sleeping.
  • Get up early to expose yourself to the sun. Sunlight helps regulate the biological clock and stabilize the body’s hormone production (including the hormone melatonin – the hormone that induces sleep and deep sleep).
  • Limit drinking too much water at night because it is easy to cause insomnia due to frequent urination at night.

Measures to prevent sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis can happen many times during a lifetime. Although not dangerous to health, it is undeniable that this phenomenon causes feelings of fear and discomfort for some people. To limit sleep paralysis, you can do some of the following measures:

  • Limit stress in work, study and life.
  • Avoid doing jobs with irregular hours. Instead, you should choose a job that works during office hours so that you can rest and sleep on time.
  • Build a healthy lifestyle with a balanced diet, time to rest, and regular exercise. Stay away from alcohol, stimulants and limit the use of caffeinated beverages.
  • Good treatment of physical and mental health problems such as narcolepsy, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, etc.
  • You can choose to sleep on your side to avoid sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis is actually sleep paralysis. This phenomenon is completely harmless and does not require treatment. However, if sleep paralysis is affecting sleep quality, creating feelings of stress and anxiety, you should consider therapy.

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