Sleep issues: best ways to deal with sleep paralysis
Although the condition is not harmful, sleep paralysis can be an extremely unsettling experience, affecting your mental and physical wellbeing.
But what exactly is sleep paralysis and what can be done to deal with the issue?
TEMPUR takes a look at the facts behind this common condition…
WHAT IS SLEEP PARALYSIS?
Sleep paralysis occurs in the transitional state between wakefulness and deep, REM sleep.
The body experiences a delayed reaction, and may result in the inability to talk or move for a few moments whilst the body catches up with the brain and REM sleep fully stops.
It can affect many different ages, but is most common in teenagers and young adults.
There are two main classifications of the condition – Isolated Sleep Paralysis (ISP) and Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis (RISP).
Isolated Sleep Paralysis:
- More common
- Infrequent episodes
- Likely to occur only once in a lifetime
- Short episodes – usually no more than a minute
- Likely to have a hallucination
- Not likely to reoccur in the same night
Recurrent Isolated Sleep Paralysis:
- Chronic Condition
- Is likely to reoccur
- Longer episodes – can be up to an hour
- More likely to have an outer body experience
- Can experience back to back episodes of sleep paralysis in the same night
WHAT DOES SLEEP PARALYSIS FEEL LIKE?
Sleep paralysis is often a frightening experience.
In most incidents, it only lasts for a few moments. In some cases people say it can feel like you have left your body.
In more severe cases, your brain may remain in the REM sleep stage for longer, causing hallucinations or ‘conscious dreaming’.
This can be a scary experience, especially when hallucinations may include the sensation of an intruder being in the room, which can often occur.
WHY DOES SLEEP PARALYSIS OCCUR?
Often, sleep paralysis happens due to a lack of sleep and can become especially bad for insomnia sufferers.
Shift work is another factor that can cause sleep paralysis. Our REM sleep stage is meant to occur whilst we are still asleep, but if our sleep is thrown off, REM sleep may not naturally occur as it should.
Other reasons why it may occur can relate to hereditary health issues, such as a family history of sleep paralysis or narcolepsy.
HOW CAN I PREVENT SLEEP PARALYSIS?
Sleeping positions can really help when experiencing sleep paralysis.
Often, lying on your back should be avoided, as your body is more vulnerable for the soft palate in your mouth to collapse and obstruct the airway.
Being comfortable is crucial when trying to avoid sleep paralysis as it most frequently occurs when you are experiencing bouts of poor sleep.
TEMPUR’s memory foam mattresses are recognised for their comfort and their ability to shape to your body, meaning you’ll experience less stress getting comfortable at night.
De-stressing and having a good bedtime routine is an important element in avoiding sleep paralysis. If you are stressed, you are more likely to have intermittent sleep, as your mind can’t fully switch off.
Have you ever experienced sleep paralysis? If so, what did you find helped? Tell us below…