Sleep Paralysis and How to Avoid it

You have just fallen asleep when you suddenly felt like you cannot breathe, cannot move, cannot shout, and almost dying. You can see horrible and unexplained images, can hear unfamiliar sounds and could not wake up. After battling with the scary hallucination, you will wake up and feel so tired. You will become so frustrated as when you immediately go back to sleep, the same thing will happen again. Different legends interpreted this phenomenon as a witch or a demon sitting on the bodies of those who experience this. Some legends say that it is a night hag that probably wants to take your soul or have sex with you during this state. The who experiences this is usually advised to drink water before going back to bed or pray to fight the demons that interrupt a sleep.

This phenomenon is scientifically called Sleep Paralysis. Sleep paralysis is a very frightening sleep episode that refrains us to move, speak and wake up for seconds or minutes. It is a sleep disorder that stops you from moving while seeing or hearing scary hallucinations. It also gives the feeling of being choked while being paralyzed at the same time.
Sleep Paralysis is triggered when you are stressed, sleep deprived, extremely tired, and having a jet lag. It might be a very frightening experience but it is not harmful and could be avoided.

credits – Medical News Today defined Sleep Paralysis as a parasomnia or an undesired event that is associated with sleep. Sleep Paralysis lets you experience visual, auditory and sensory hallucinations that result in a horrifying experience. This sleep disorder has been experienced by humans for centuries. It is a disruptive situation that occurs when the body is not synced with the brain during the transition from Non-Rapid Eye Movement to Rapid Eye movement sleep stage. In layman’s explanation, the body is already relaxed or in a sleep state while the brain or consciousness is still awake. Common causes of sleep paralysis are irregular sleep patterns and being sleep deprived. Irregular sleep patterns or being sleep deprived prevents the body and brain to simultaneously rest consistently. It becomes harder for the body and brain to work together and put the person into a sleep stage if the pattern of sleep is not well established. Some people only sleep when they finish work and try to get up again to continue working. People who are deprived of sleep usually experience sleep paralysis since their consciousness could not adjust to their body that already wants to be on a sleep state. Most of the time, workaholic people try hard to stay awake to work even though their body is already extremely tired. This causes them to have abnormal REM and NREM stages during sleep. Another factor that causes sleep paralysis is narcolepsy, a neurological disorder that results in uncontrollable sleep and wakefulness. People who have narcolepsy could not control themselves from falling asleep be it day or night. People who suffer from narcolepsy also has a different REM activity which triggers dreams and muscle paralysis. Other causes of sleep paralysis are due to family history of sleep paralysis and sleeping on your back. Hypertension, sleep apnea, and anxiety disorders are linked to sleep paralysis.

credits –

How can you easily wake up from sleep paralysis? If you want to shorten your sleep paralysis and be able to wake up right away, don’t resist and don’t fight the feeling of being held down. The more you fight the situation trying to breathe normally and wake up, the harder it is for you since lucid nightmare strengthens when we become more emotional. The best way is to control fear, relax and keep calm until you wake up. Waking up will become easier if you wiggle, clench and unclench your fist. The paralysis will stop when you focus moving your toes and hands as these are not affected during this stage. Focus on your breathing and try uttering a word this will help your family to know that you are needed to be woken up. Telling our family to somehow watch us when we sleep is helpful during sleep paralysis attacks. Once you wake up, do not go back to sleep right away, stand up, drink some water, wash your face and make sure you are totally awake before you start to sleep again. Going back to sleep after waking up from paralysis will only make you experience the same phenomenon.

The best way to avoid sleep paralysis is to manage your stress, sleep on your side, establish a regular sleep pattern, drink herbal teas, eliminate caffeinated drinks, get a good relaxation before you sleep, empty your mind with unnecessary thoughts and ideas, and avoid heavy meals that contain fats and sugars. Your healthy habits will make you free from horrifying nightmares. Start having the freedom to enjoy sleep, eliminate the monstrous sleep paralysis!