Sleep, just like the Stonehenge summer solstice, has amazing facts that many people do not know about. One of them is sleep paralysis, a condition that affects a significant number of people and one which continues to baffle many.
Sleep paralysis is a phenomenon where a person wakes up from sleep during Rapid Eye Movement and finds that they cannot move or speak. Some people have reported that they felt a presence in the room. Other symptoms include hallucinations, paranoia, sweating, muscle pain, feeling of imminent death among others. Without a doubt, sleep paralysis is a stressful, anxiety-inducing phenomenon that continues to be of interest to sleep specialists and anyone who has experienced it.
Up to 40% of individuals will experience sleep paralysis at some point in their lifetime. Research by sleep experts has found that trauma can lead to sleep paralysis; other factors that can trigger it include some medications and some sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or narcolepsy.
Here are some amazing facts about sleep paralysis that may help you understand the phenomenon a little better.
The likelihood of experiencing sleep paralysis heightens when you sleep on your back. Even if you try to change your sleeping position, it may still attack and you will find yourself back in this position.
Those who have reported sleep paralysis, talk about feeling a presence in the room or feeling as though someone was hovering over them or seated on their chest. Accompanying this presence is humming, shuffling footsteps, doors opening, whispered voices or roaring sounds. There could be a sense of falling, spinning or an out of body experience where you feel like you are hovering over your own body. Cultures have come up with various names to describe the malevolent spirit including Jinn, incubi/succubi, night hag, old hag, the devil on our back or witch riding amongst many other names. All the cultures agree on one thing, the presence is malevolent and will leave the sufferer terrified and anxious.
The spirit may explain UFO night abductions; of course, this is open to individual interpretation.
The Experience is Always Negative.
No one has reported waking up feeling refreshed or invigorated after a sleep paralysis attack. All the cases report feelings of fear, stress or anxiety. The fact that you cannot fight the demon due to the paralysis or call for help makes the situation worse.
Fortunately, sleep paralysis doesn’t take long although to the person it is happening to it may feel like hours. Within a few seconds to a few minutes, it will have passed.
It is a Global Occurrence
Sleep paralysis occurs in all parts of the world. Different cultures have different explanations of the occurrence. The old people share the information with the younger people who in turn pass it down to their children, yet, no matter which part of the world it occurs, they all have similar experiences. Sleep paralysis can happen to anyone, it is not gender, race or age defined.
You can Talk Yourself out of Panicking
If you frequently suffer from sleep paralysis attacks, try and remain calm. During an attack you are aware of what is going on in your surroundings, you are aware that you are awake. Count to 10, be positive by affirming that the episode is temporary and will soon pass. Some individuals have managed to avoid panicking by actively talking to themselves and once the paralysis breaks, they find that they are not so stressed or anxious.
It cannot Ce Treated
There is no treatment for sleep paralysis. Though frightening, it is on its own, not a harmful condition and will normally resolve on its own. Doctors can only prevent and or treat the underlying causes. Sleep specialists recommend observing good sleeping habits to ensure the sufferer gets enough sleep. Further, they should avoid alcohol, drugs, and nicotine at least 3 hours before going to bed.
Sleep paralysis is a common occurrence but if the episodes are becoming frequent then the sufferer should see a sleep specialist who will be able to check if there could be an underlying condition causing the attacks. The specialist can prescribe a serotonin receptor to suppress REM sleep.
Other things you can do to stop the episodes include not taking naps as nappers are more prone to attacks. If you must nap, make sure you schedule them for the same time every day. Not getting enough sleep can also make you get into REM quickly meaning your body becomes paralyzed while you are basically still awake. You need to go through the full sleep cycle to get enough sleep. Avoid sleeping on your back as it makes you vulnerable to getting attacks. Finally try as much as possible to avoid stressful conditions. Deal with the stressors before they overwhelm you and disrupt your sleep.
Sleep paralysis can be a terrifying occurrence but should it occur, try and relax. After reading this article you will know what is happening to you and that it will soon pass. Best of all the malevolent presence is just a hallucination that has no power to harm you. Make sure you get a good night’s sleep and avoid any stressors that may trigger an attack.
Listen to your body, it will tell you when it is feeling rested or not, pay attention to extra sleepiness during the day because it will be a clear indicator that you are not getting enough sleep. Most importantly if the attacks become frequent then do consult a sleep specialist who will be in a position to check for any other conditions that could be contributing to the attacks.
Finally, make sure that you observe what you do before you go to bed. Keep a bedtime routine, make sure the environment is conducive to sleeping, keep electronics out of the bedroom, avoid alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine before going to bed, if you must nap, do it before 3 pm and try not to exceed 90 minutes.