Sleep paralysis: a dream from which you can not wake up

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April 12th is cel­e­brat­ed as Inter­na­tion­al Lucid Dream­ing Day. Today, there are spe­cial prac­tices through which peo­ple learn to con­trol their dreams. And of course, lucid dream­ing is per­ceived as a unique­ly pos­i­tive phe­nom­e­non. Indeed, what is wrong, at first glance, from the fact that dur­ing sleep a per­son remains con­scious and can even con­trol the course of events? How­ev­er, in some cas­es, lucid dreams are also accom­pa­nied by sleep paral­y­sis, a con­di­tion in which a per­son can expe­ri­ence a state of hor­ror and see night­mares while awake. What caused such a vio­la­tion, whether it is dan­ger­ous and how to deal with it cor­rect­ly, Healthy­in­fo under­stood.

What happens with sleep paralysis

What happens with sleep paralysis

Sleep paral­y­sis is a dis­or­der asso­ci­at­ed with the inabil­i­ty to move or make a sound. Doc­tors dis­tin­guish two forms of the con­di­tion:

    Hypnagogic paralysis — occurs before falling asleep.

Nor­mal­ly, at this time, the body grad­u­al­ly relax­es, and a few sec­onds before sleep turns off con­scious­ness. If, for some rea­son, a per­son remains con­scious, he feels that he does not con­trol his body and can­not move his mus­cles.

    Hypnopompic paralysis — occurs upon awakening.

This form is described by patients more often than the pre­vi­ous one. But doc­tors attribute this to the fact that hyp­n­a­gog­ic paral­y­sis is often not remem­bered, but the inabil­i­ty to move after wak­ing up, on the con­trary, makes a strong impres­sion on a per­son. This form is caused by the desyn­chro­niza­tion of the process­es of start­ing con­scious­ness and restor­ing the func­tion­ing of the mus­cu­lar sys­tem. Hypnopom­pic paral­y­sis occurs when you wake up in REM sleep, when mus­cle tone is max­i­mal­ly reduced, and brain activ­i­ty, on the con­trary, is increased. And if for some rea­son the part that is respon­si­ble for con­scious­ness is also acti­vat­ed, the per­son goes into a bor­der­line state — he real­izes where he is, but at the same time he can­not move, and besides this, he can expe­ri­ence hal­lu­ci­na­tions (a kind of con­tin­u­a­tion of a dream).

Sleep paral­y­sis occurs in 40% of peo­ple — some expe­ri­ence it once, oth­ers may wake up in a stu­por sev­er­al times a night. Most often it occurs in ado­les­cents and young peo­ple — from 13 to 30 years.

Neu­rol­o­gists assure that most seizures are not asso­ci­at­ed with dis­eases of the ner­vous sys­tem, but are only the result of over­work and oth­er exter­nal fac­tors. But still, in rare cas­es, they can talk about nar­colep­sy (a sleep dis­or­der asso­ci­at­ed with con­stant drowsi­ness), espe­cial­ly if it occurs in patients old­er than 30 years. In young peo­ple, attacks of paral­y­sis may alter­nate with som­nam­bu­lism. This dis­or­der is, in fact, anoth­er man­i­fes­ta­tion of the same desyn­chro­niza­tion, only with it the body starts mus­cle activ­i­ty, and con­scious­ness, on the con­trary, remains dor­mant.

Symptoms of sleep paralysis: hallucinations, panic and more

Symptoms of sleep paralysis: hallucinations, panic and more

Recov­ery of motor func­tion dur­ing sleep paral­y­sis takes from a few sec­onds to 2 min­utes. The con­di­tion itself is harm­less to health, but sub­jec­tive­ly per­ceived as dan­ger­ous. There­fore, one of the main man­i­fes­ta­tions of sleep paral­y­sis is a feel­ing of pan­ic and fear.

Against their back­ground, a per­son feels:

    Inability to move muscles, while eye movement is maintained.
    Inability to say a word or shout.
    Difficulty breathing (sometimes it seems to a person that there is a weight on the chest or some kind of creature is sitting).
    Visual hallucinations — stories about demons, ghosts, abductions by alien creatures are associated with sleep paralysis. Sometimes it seems to patients that there is someone in the house, someone is sitting near the bed.
    Auditory hallucinations — visions are often accompanied by sounds. Squeaks, rustles, even voices and articulate speech are heard.
    Rapid heartbeat, which a person can subjectively perceive as a threat to life, there is a fear of death.
    Movement without it. It may appear that the body is turning on its side, although in fact it is in a motionless state.

The sen­sa­tions dur­ing sleep paral­y­sis, includ­ing chok­ing, are not relat­ed to phys­i­ol­o­gy. There­fore, they can­not harm life and health. In fact, you can­not suf­fo­cate dur­ing an attack, even if it feels like there is not enough oxy­gen.

Dur­ing a tor­por, a per­son­’s body twitch­es, rest­less breath­ing is observed, a gri­mace of ten­sion, fear appears on the face. Notic­ing these symp­toms, loved ones should wake the per­son.

Why sleep paralysis occurs

Why sleep paralysis occurs

The rea­sons for the desyn­chro­niza­tion of the process of falling asleep / wak­ing up are not exact­ly estab­lished. At the same time, doc­tors iden­ti­fy fac­tors that are more like­ly than oth­ers to pro­voke sleep paral­y­sis. Among them:

    Violation of the regime of the day, poor, insufficient sleep.
    Stress, prolonged depression.
    Sleep in the supine position. A person sleeping on their side or stomach does not experience sleep paralysis.
    Alcohol abuse, drug addiction.
    Long-term use of medications, especially antidepressants and tranquilizers.
    Restless legs syndrome.
    Other sleep disorders are insomnia, narcolepsy.

In rare cas­es, sleep paral­y­sis indi­cates seri­ous dis­or­ders of the ner­vous sys­tem, men­tal dis­or­ders. In par­tic­u­lar, it occurs in peo­ple with bipo­lar dis­or­der. But only a doc­tor can con­nect sleep dis­or­ders with such diag­noses and only after a detailed diag­no­sis.

Can sleep paralysis be cured?

Can sleep paralysis be cured?

As a rule, attacks of sleep paral­y­sis go away by the age of 30. But if the con­di­tion is very dis­turb­ing and hap­pens quite often, you can turn to a neu­rol­o­gist, psy­chother­a­pist or som­nol­o­gist. With fre­quent sleep paral­y­sis, the doc­tor will advise you to keep a diary in which you need to write down all the pos­si­ble rea­sons for the devel­op­ment of an attack — well-being the night before, stress­ful sit­u­a­tions, and so on. This will help to accu­rate­ly iden­ti­fy the pro­vok­ing fac­tor and elim­i­nate it.

In the vast major­i­ty of cas­es, unpleas­ant attacks go away after the nor­mal­iza­tion of lifestyle. It is enough for a per­son to change the sched­ule, increase the dura­tion of sleep, reduce the num­ber of stress­ful sit­u­a­tions — and sleep paral­y­sis will not return.

How­ev­er, in severe cas­es, the doc­tor may pre­scribe med­ica­tions — anti­de­pres­sants. It is strict­ly for­bid­den to take such med­ica­tions on your own, as they can lead to a dete­ri­o­ra­tion in the con­di­tion.

By itself, sleep paral­y­sis is not suf­fi­cient rea­son to test a patient for men­tal dis­or­ders. But if this symp­tom is observed against the back­ground of oth­er dis­or­ders, the per­son is sent for a psy­chi­atric exam­i­na­tion.

How to help yourself during an attack

Stunned after sleep lasts for a short peri­od of time and does not cause dam­age, so even if a per­son does not take any action, it will not harm his health. And yet, peo­ple prone to the man­i­fes­ta­tion of sleep paral­y­sis, it is bet­ter to know how to quick­ly recov­er and get rid of pan­ic hor­ror.

    The most important task is to correctly assess your condition, to understand that everything that happens around you is just hallucinations that have nothing to do with reality.
    It is necessary to try to relax the muscles, tension only exacerbates the subjective feeling of squeezing the body.
    You can try to control the muscles that are under the control of consciousness — rotate your eyes, move your tongue or fingers.
    If the muscles cannot be started, it is better to be distracted by mental activity — to count, to remember foreign words, to sort out concepts and objects in the mind.

The main methods of preventing sleep paralysis

The main methods of preventing sleep paralysis

In order to min­i­mize the risk of recur­rence, it is impor­tant to adhere to the rules of pre­ven­tion. Here are some tips to help you avoid numb­ness after wak­ing up:

    Sleep at least 8 hours.

It is insom­nia that is one of the main caus­es of seizures. With suf­fi­cient sleep, the body has time to ful­ly relax, and the sequence of process­es of awak­en­ing con­scious­ness and mus­cle activ­i­ty is not dis­turbed.

    Proper sleep.

Some­times a sud­den awak­en­ing hap­pens against the back­ground of ner­vous ten­sion. There­fore, if there were stress­ful sit­u­a­tions dur­ing the day, you can take a relax­ing bath before going to bed, have an aro­mather­a­py ses­sion, and have a mas­sage.

    Wake up by alarm clock.

Sleep paral­y­sis is a bor­der­line state between sleep and wake­ful­ness. Exter­nal influ­ence will help to start the work of mus­cles and elim­i­nate hal­lu­ci­na­tions. In this case, the alarm clock is a good way to break the numb­ness of the mus­cles.

    Sleep on your side or stomach.

Accord­ing to sta­tis­tics, sleep paral­y­sis attacks are observed in peo­ple who sleep on their backs. In this posi­tion, with com­plete relax­ation of the mus­cles, it is dif­fi­cult to regain con­trol over them. From a posi­tion lying on your side or stom­ach, it is eas­i­er to start mov­ing.

fantasy, people, mysticism
fantasy, people, mysticism
fantasy, people, mysticism
fantasy, people, mysticism
ai generated, woman, flowers
    Refusal of mental work before going to bed.

Men­tal strain affects the qual­i­ty of sleep, it can be shal­low and dis­turb­ing. As a result, the like­li­hood of a sharp awak­en­ing of con­scious­ness increas­es. There­fore, it is rec­om­mend­ed to give up men­tal work 2–3 hours before bed­time, read an inter­est­ing book, unload the brain with the help of relax­ing music.

By Yraa

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