Sleep Paralysis: Causes, Symptoms, Facts, Prevention, and Treatment

Vaibhav Saxena

, Health A2Z

Sleep paralysis is surely a strange disorder which remains beneath the curtains of mystery and suspicion. Many people must have been encountered by this strange order once in a lifetime and have ruined their sleep pattern and mind peace for forthcoming days.


It is proven after a long research on sleep disorders in the entire world by professionals and experts that over 8 percent of the total population have suffered once in a while by this unusual disorder which breaks down to 29 percent in college students and 31 percent in psychiatric patients.




What is Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep period is named to the duration or lapse which occurs while a person is about to sleep or awaken, during this period the person loses the ability to move, respond or speak while being aware of all the surrounding and his/her condition.


These particular periods are called episodes which traumatic and disturbing for the sufferer as they might see, hear, feel or sense things which are not present or linked in the real world.


These particular episodes are strange and weird which is the reason behind the horror of this disorder. Also, not everything is exactly how it seems.


Sleep paralysis is a medical condition which falls under the category of REM parasomnia which happens due to particular reasons without any hand of virtual entities. These episodes can occur for a single time lasting 2-3 minutes and be recurrent too.




What are the Causes of Sleep Paralysis?

It has been reported by many people who have encountered this disorder that they tend to see hallucinations while the occurrence of the episode.


These hallucinations are explained as the presence of some other unknown person, ghost, demon or evil souls in the room while the occurrence of the paralysis which is the reason people have fear and panic attacks.


The cause behind the sleep paralysis is believed due to Antonia. It is a phenomenon of the brain when it relaxes the muscles and makes them still while the body sleeps.


In case of sleep paralysis, this Antonia happens rights on the moment of awakening too. There are many risk factors as well which are mentioned below:

  • Sleep deprivation
  • Narcolepsy
  • Insomnia
  • Shift work sleep disorder
  • Excessive stress
  • Genetical factor
  • Consumption of hallucinogenic drugs
  • Mental disorders (schizophrenia, anxiety, depression or bipolar disorder)




What are the Symptoms of Sleep Disorders?

This is true that teens and young people are more likely to acquire this disorder. Stress, sleep apnea, and panic disorder are the major reason behind this disorder. There are many symptoms which are more likely to be sensations.

  • Inadequate breathing (suffocation)
  • Stillness
  • Sensing unusual presence
  • Fear and dread
  • Listening weird sounds




How to Prevent and Treat Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is not a chronic disorder yet a traumatic one so it is not necessary to run for immediate treatment if there are only rare episodes.


The doctor doesn’t mark any test to diagnose but will surely take a physical exam and knowledge regarding the medical history of the patient.


There is no such treatment for sleep paralysis apart from some medication to eliminate the risk factors and the causes behind it. Also, there are therapies like cognitive-behavior therapy, meditation-relaxation therapy, and a few prevention measures as well.

  • Regular exercises
  • Avoid alcohol and drug abuse
  • Avoid sleeping on the back
  • Avoid exposure to blue light before sleep
  • Improving sleep pattern


Some Myths and Facts about Sleep Paralysis


  • It is symptoms of madness
  • It is evil and the work of ‘night hag’ or demon
  • It is always dreadful and hellish
  • It is caused by the presence of aliens
  • It is dangerous



  • It is a totally normal phenomenon.
  • It is not always scary
  • It is not dangerous at all to mental health5.
  • It is mostly scary but it is also reported to be very good and wonderful.
  • It is not caused by Evil, Witchcraft, Aliens or Demons.





The bottom line is that Sleep Paralysis is totally natural and you are not acquired by any evil power so it is better not to perform any ritual or superstitious practice on the sufferer as it can harm the body in many aspects. There are prevention and treatment measures available that must be picked after consulting the doctor.

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