One of the signs that the body is being disrupted during the different sleep stages, sleep paralysis has a negative connotation through the years. Over sometime, symptoms of this medical condition have been associated with the presence of demons attacking during the night especially in the ancient times. Many people in the old days have felt some sort of terror whenever they heard stories of a person who had sleep paralysis. But the question now is what the truth behind sleep paralysis is.
Knowing the truth behind sleep paralysis is essential to assess ways to prevent and treat this one. Medical experts describe the medical condition as feeling conscious during sleep but whenever you try to move or speak, you can’t do one. In reality, the condition is due to the inability of our brain to regulate a person’s sleeping time.
To explore and learn more about sleep paralysis, we have to know the different causes of sleep paralysis to treat it and avoid oneself from experiencing it. Here are the common causes of this medical condition for your reference.
Sleep Paralysis As a Rapid Eye Movement Extension
One of the main causes of sleep paralysis is that it is a rapid eye movement extension. Also known in layman’s term as the dream state, rapid eye movement being the cause of sleep paralysis is not that alarming but it can be traumatizing to the person who had it. This is because this condition when caused by REM extension can come with hallucinations. Another traumatizing symptom is your lack of control to your body.
Sleep Paralysis Due to Disruption in Rapid Eye Movement
If the extension of rapid eye movement causes sleep paralysis, so as the disruption in REM. However, we should know the different factors contributing to the disruption. These could be due to severe stress as well as the development or progression of shift work sleep disorder. So addressing these underlying causes is essential to avoid any interruptions in the sleep cycle.
Sleep Paralysis As a Result of Psychiatric Disorders and Genetic Predisposition
Is someone special to your heart having sleep paralysis? Then you might want to consult with a physician as this could be due to the occurrence or progression of psychiatric disorders. Examples of psychiatric disorders that could result to sleep paralysis are depression and anxiety. In addition to these, severe alcohol and illicit drugs use can also lead to the occurrence of the medical condition. Above all, several clinical studies also claim that sleep paralysis can be a genetic predisposition, meaning that if you have a family history of this medical condition, you will be at risk of this one.
Sleep Paralysis As Caused By Certain Sleeping Positions
Last but not the least, many people who had sleep paralysis claimed that it happened when they sleep on the back. There are also some who complained that sleeping on the stomachs also caused them to have sleep paralysis. Although, further research are needed for this one, it is still best to avoid sleeping in these positions if ever you have a history of sleep paralysis just so you are on the safe side.
After having a run through of the causes of sleep paralysis, it is best to cover the symptoms just to know when you need to seek help from a medical professional. Below are some of the common symptoms experienced by patients who have experienced this medical condition.
- Inability to wake up or move while asleep
- Being conscious
- Unable to talk or even say a word
- Occurrence of hallucinations that can cause severe fear such as seeing ghosts or being killed in your dream
- Trouble in breathing
Now that we have covered the description of this condition and have also tackled the symptoms as well as causes of sleep paralysis, we will proceed with how medical experts confirm that a person is suffering from this medical condition. By uncovering the way sleep paralysis is diagnosed, it will really be helpful for us to determine how this condition is treated and prevented.
Ways How Sleep Paralysis Is Diagnosed By Medical Professionals
As sleep paralysis is life threatening when not acted upon immediately, once you sought assistance from medical professionals with regards to your condition, they will immediately proceed with a diagnosis to confirm and develop a line of treatment for the condition. Here are the diagnostic processes that you will go through to assess your true condition.
- Interview wherein the symptoms are assessed if these are observed or experienced by the patient
- A sleep diary will be asked by the patient to have recorded details of the experiences for a few weeks
- Examination of the health and family history of the patient to determine if there are any sleep disorders that have happened in the past
- Once the possibility that a patient is at risk of sleep paralysis, the doctor will recommend further test which will be done through overnight sleep observation.
How Do We Treat Sleep Paralysis?
Now that sleep paralysis is confirmed, it is important that the patient proceeds with immediate treatment as this medical condition can be life-threatening. Treating the root cause of sleep paralysis is important to avoid the condition from repeating or reoccurring again. Below are the most effective and easy treatments that could be done to manage and prevent sleep paralysis.
- Ensuring that one’s sleep cycle is normal and healthy – meaning having at least six hours and 10 hours at the most sleep a day
- Intaking prescribed treatments for depression as it regulates the sleeping habits of patients
- If sleep paralysis is caused by psychiatric disorders or mental health issues, then it is best that these disorders be addressed to treat the medical condition
- As leg cramps, as well as narcolepsy along with other sleep disorders, can be a risk factor or comorbid condition of sleep paralysis, then appropriate line of treatments for these other health issues should be implemented.