What Is Sleep Paralysis? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, Treatment, and Prevention

This condition occurs most often in people in their twenties and thirties, but it can also happen later in life.

When you are asleep or awake, sleep paralysis does not move in your body.

It does not affect your sleep or your overall health.

When you are asleep, your brain tells your muscles to relax and keep quiet. Sleep paralysis also occurs when you are awake.

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine says that sleep paralysis is a common sleep problem.

Estimates range from 5 to 40 percent of the population.

Although most people experience sleep paralysis for the first time in adolescence, this condition is most common when people are in their twenties and thirties, and may continue later in life.

Some people experience sleep paralysis only once in their lives, while others experience it many times.

Sleep paralysis can be a sign of narcolepsy, a sleep disorder that causes extreme drowsiness during the day and can cause people to fall asleep suddenly.

What Happens in Sleep Paralysis

Episodes of sleep paralysis can last for seconds or minutes.

During an event, you will still be able to breathe normally, and you will be aware of what is happening.

There may be the following symptoms:

Unable to speak
Unable to move your arms, legs, body or head
A spectator that causes you to see, hear, or feel things that don’t really exist
The incident may end on its own, when someone touches you or talks to you, or if you try hard to move.

Causes of Sleep Paralysis

Sleep paralysis can put you at greater risk for this condition.

Other factors that may contribute to this condition include:

Lack of sleep
Extreme sleep schedule
Sleeping on your back
Take some medicine
Misuse of drugs or alcohol
Having leg pain related to sleep
Bipolar disorder
There is another medical condition

Treatment and Medication Options for Sleep Paralysis

Once your doctor determines the cause of your sleep paralysis, treatment can begin.

Treatment may include:

Get six to eight hours of sleep a night (if you currently sleep less)
Med medications to treat bipolar disorder or any other mental health disorder
Treatment of underlying conditions, such as leg pain
Antidepressants to reduce or eliminate sleep deprivation, if you have a drug deficiency (even if you are not depressed)


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