Sleep paralysis: that’s when it happens and what to do, the expert speaks

By sleep paralysis we mean a disorder that involves stiffening of the muscle during different phases of falling asleep or awakening, which respectively increase or anticipate the normal REM sleep phase.

It is defined as hypnopompic paralysis if it occurs when the person awakens, hypnagogic if it occurs when the person is about to fall asleep. During an episode of paralysis, the subject who feels it is awake, conscious, but stuck in moving, speaking and opening his eyes.

The subjects who show this paralysis report a strong anxiety linked to the event also due to the related to “hypnagogic / hypnopompic hallucinations” that follow it, almost always combined with the perception of the presence of another person in the same room, with the perception a feeling of pressure on the chest or even of suffocation.

The duration can be up to several minutes. Although for most people, paralysis does not represent a serious problem, but a well-disposed condition whose frequency does not lead to significant health problems, in many patients it can stimulate a drastic deterioration in the quality of sleep and life.

Sleep paralysis: that’s when it happens and what to do, the expert speaks

The underlying cause of the paralysis lies in the anticipation, in the case of hypnagogic paralysis, or in the prolongation, in the case of hypnopompic paralysis, of the mechanisms of muscle inhibition that are implemented during REM sleep to safeguard the subject from physically implementing the actions. own of the dream.

Why this happens is still being studied, but there may be more correlated risk factors. For example, periods of high stress, irregular sleep patterns, high levels of anxiety, excessive consumption of stimulants such as caffeine. But also serious ailments such as narcolepsy or sleep apnea syndrome.
Since it has arisen from these situations, it is remarkable that first and foremost a regulation of lifestyle was decided together with the patient. This is by evaluating the possibility of giving more attention than the daily sleep times. Which, in the subjects showing this pathologyturn out to be very irregular or numerically lower than the physiological need, therefore a lack of sleep.

So here’s how to deal with sleep paralysis. The important thing is not to be frightened and only if it causes a lack of sleep then you will have to ask for a real medical consultation.

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