What Is Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is being awake but experiencing the temporary inability to move. This can occur anytime right after falling asleep or waking up and symptoms can last anywhere from a few seconds to minutes. Although sleep paralysis is a common condition it can cause great fear for those who experience it.
Sleep paralysis can occur at any age, but the first symptoms often show up in childhood, adolescence, or young adulthood. These types of sleep episodes can become more frequent as you become older.
Sleep paralysis can also be accompanied by other disorders such as narcolepsy, anxiety disorders, and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Diagnosis of Sleep Paralysis
Normally there are no medical tests to diagnose sleep paralysis. Your physician will ask you about your sleeping patterns and medical history. They may also ask you to keep a sleep diary, documenting your experience during sleep paralysis episodes.
In extreme circumstances, your physician may order a sleep test to examine any other concerns.
Related to Sleep Paralysis
- Lack of sleep
- Sleep schedule that changes
- Mental conditions such as stress or bipolar disorder
- Sleeping on the back
- Other sleep problems such as narcolepsy or nighttime leg cramps
- Use of certain medications, such as those for ADHD
- Substance abuse
Treatment of Sleep Paralysis
Most people do not need medical treatment for sleep paralysis. Treatment for underlying medical conditions can help improve sleep paralysis as well as taking additional steps at home. Some steps you can make are
- Follow a schedule for going to bed and waking up every day
- Having a set pre-bed routine
- Setting up your bedroom to have limited intrusion from light or noise
- Reducing consumption of alcohol and caffeine, especially in the evening
- Putting away electronic devices at least a half-hour before bed