Home » Trending Health News » 7 Facts about Sleep Paralysis to Avoid Being Scared Stiff

7 Facts about Sleep Paralysis to Avoid Being Scared Stiff


We’ve all experienced it—waking in the middle of the night, often during a bad dream only to discover you can’t seem to move, as much as you’d like to. It’s like being trapped inside your own body; your mind is aware, but you physical self seems disconnected.

Your brain actually shuts down voluntary use of your muscles during deep sleep to keep you from acting out your dreams, points out Buzzfeed.com. However, with sleep paralysis, this mechanism remains engaged despite the fact your conscious brain is “on”. Here are 7 facts about sleep paralysis…

1. You Might be Seeing Things

One of the most troubling tricks our brains play on us during sleep paralysis is creating imaginary things that we believe are real—otherwise known as hallucinations. They seem believable because we are conscious, although our bodies are still asleep.

This is course can be traumatic, as many hallucinations are of an unpleasant nature (our brain has a weird sense of humor sometimes). Buzzfeed notes the strongest hallucinations actually occur in the transition between sleeping and waking.

nightmare

2. Sleep Paralysis is Not a Nightmare (at least Scientifically)

Many people associate the feeling of not being able to move as part of a nightmare, but unpleasant images from true nightmares actually only occur when you’re in a deep state of sleep. Sleep paralysis is essentially the opposite of a nightmare, due to when it occurs in the sleep cycle.

WebMD notes that sleep paralysis only takes place when you’re transitioning into a sleep mode (hypnagogic), or coming out of it (hypnopompic). Sleep paralysis is arguably more terrifying than a nightmare, due to the fact you’re conscious yet seem helpless against any perceived dangers.

night sweats

3. It’s Not a Common Occurrence

According to Thought Catalog, while most people seem to have a sleep paralysis story, it’s actually quite rare. The article cites a European study of 8,000 subjects that showed only 6.2-percent of them ever had an instance of sleep paralysis.

Even if you have had a sleep paralysis experience, chances are you’ve only had the one or maybe two. The study also showed less than 1-percent of the subjects had a weekly visit from sleep paralysis, while 1.4-percent experienced it once a month.

sleep 2

4. It’s The Gateway to Out-of-Body Experiences

Whether you agree or disagree there’s such as thing as an “out of body experience” or argue what one really is, Dream Studies Portal says they may be more likely to occur when you’re in a conscious but paralyzed state of sleep.

The article notes that an out-of-body experience—or OBE as the source refers to it—is more likely to occur if you’ve been in a state of sleep paralysis for more than 2-minutes. OBEs are the sensation of “leaving” your physical self and traveling somewhere else, only to return to your sleeping body.

sleep walking

5. Some Medications can Cause Sleep Paralysis

Healthline notes that people with anxiety can be more likely to experience sleep paralysis. That being said, it notes certain medications and recreational drugs can actually increase the risk of sleep paralysis happening—although the jury is still out on this one.

Narcolepsy—sudden attacks of drowsiness or falling asleep—can be an underlying cause of sleep paralysis. Stimulants and antidepressant medications can apparently help reduce the occurrences of this sleep phenomenon if narcolepsy is the underlying cause, according to the source.

Sleep Disorders

6. Caffeine Can be a Culprit

LiveScience.com explains that regular sleep is important to keeping episodes of sleep paralysis at bay. One way to help achieve this is by limiting your caffeine intake; try to avoid having that extra cup of coffee after 2 p.m., notes the source.

Other substances that should be avoided include alcohol and nicotine, which should be cut off at least 3-hours from bedtime. If you’ve followed these guidelines and are still having episodes, it may be time to see a doctor, adds the source.

coffee

7. Try to Remain Calm

After several episodes of sleep paralysis, you may start to get accustomed to the sensation (not to say it becomes more pleasant; perhaps just easier to cope with). The bottom line is that experts agree it’s not life threatening and it will pass, however terrifying.

A frequent sufferer of sleep paralysis is cited in a Thought Catalog article, which details how he managed to take control of the situation. The subject breathed through it and managed to wiggle a finger, after which their arms followed and the episode ended. Following some deep breathing to relax, he fell back sleep uninterrupted.

sleep apnea

ADVERTISEMENT

More on ActiveBeat
  • Marfan’s Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment
    Marfan's syndrome is a genetic disorder that affects the body's connective tissue. While it's not widely known or commonly heard of, according to The Marfan Foundation it affects 1...
    Trending Health News
  • Safe and Healthy Snacks for Diabetics
    Being diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can be scary and intimidating. The good news is that it’s really not all that difficult to build a healthy and delicious diet plan...
    Trending Health News
  • Common Causes of Dark Under-Eye Circles
    We've all been there, dragged ourselves out of bed in the morning after a poor night's sleep only to find our reflection mirrors how we feel!
    Trending Health News
  • Most Common Warning Signs of Glaucoma
    Glaucoma causes progressive and permanent vision loss due to a buildup of fluid pressure in the eyeball.
    Trending Health News
  • Dehydration: Causes, Risk Factors, and Complications
    Water is the most important thing our body needs to function properly, but most of us don't drink enough of it!
    Trending Health News
  • Be Schooled By These Health Signs From Stool
    Okay, we admit this isn't the most pleasant topic, but what comes out of you can say a lot about your overall health. In fact, Prevention.
    Trending Health News
  • Best and Worst Foods For Gallbladder Issues
    For the many Americans who suffer from gallbladder issues, like gallstones, on a daily basis, it's important to learn more about nutrition with a special focus on foods that won't...
    Trending Health News
  • Reasons You’re Waking Up In The Night
    We've all been there before, lying awake at night, tossing and turning, wondering why you're unable to sleep.
    Trending Health News
  • How Stress Can Affect Our Physical Health
    We all deal with a little bit of stress from time to time. We all go through at some point, some more than others, it can happen at work, during school, or anytime we get...
    Trending Health News
  • The Best Anti-Aging Foundation For Mature Skin
    Aging is inevitable, but that doesn't stop us from trying to slow the whole process down or at least look good while we're doing it!
    Trending Health News
  • The Best Mascaras for Long Lashes
    Most women dream about having longer and fuller lashes. One can only hope! It's also one of the main reasons we invented mascara in the first place.
    Trending Health News
  • Common Causes of Swollen Feet
    We've all been there before when our feet get a little puffy and swollen. It will most likely occur after sitting through a long flight, during pregnancy, or being on your feet all...
    Trending Health News
  • Common Health Problems Related to Fingernails
    If you can't quite put a finger on what's ailing you, perhaps you should take a closer look at your fingernails.
    Trending Health News
  • Plants That Repel Mosquitoes Naturally
    There's nothing more frustrating than that familiar buzzing followed by the itchy prick of a mosquito while you're trying to enjoy a nice evening or day outside.
    Trending Health News
  • Foods That Can Help Boost Memory
    Our diet affects much more than just our physical appearance and wellbeing. It also have a major impact on our mental health -- everything from our mood, concentration, to how well...
    Trending Health News