SLEEP paralysis is a common occurrence for some people and this can be quite terrifying. One moment, you're sleeping peacefully and having a nice dream; and the next, you're conscious, at the same time, you're still dreaming but you can't move a muscle.
And with the mind being a powerful catalyst for hallucination, you will start to see things and perhaps beings that bring nightmares to life, so to speak.
Sleep paralysis is a parasomnia
Sleep paralysis, according to sleepeducation.org, a sleep health information from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, is a parasomnia, which involves undesired events that come along with sleep.
Parasomnia is a disorder characterized by abnormal or unusual behavior of the nervous system during sleep.
Sleep paralysis can cause hallucination
An episode of paralysis may cause you to be unable to speak and makes you unable to move your arms and legs, body, and head, which can be very scary.
You may feel anxious and afraid, which in turn can cause you to hallucinate things that you thought you see, hear or feel which are not there. That's why some people dismiss the claims of persons who see ghosts after waking up since it might just be something caused by sleep paralysis.
Factors of sleep paralysis
Sleep paralysis can affect men and women of any age group, be it teens, 20s, 30s or in later years.
Although, according to Sleep Education, the average when it first occurs is 14 to 17 years.
Sleep paralysis most likely transpires due to changes of sleep schedule or mental stress. It also occurs more often when a person sleep on their back, which is why people can see their surroundings and start hallucinating someone appearing beside them.
It is also stated in sleepeducation.org that sleep paralysis can be related to bipolar disorder, the use of certain medications and sleep related leg cramps.
Treatment for sleep paralysis
Treatment of sleep paralysis is aimed at whatever causes it to occur, according to Sleep Education.
Sleep deprivation may cause sleep paralysis so the person should try to get at least six to eight hours of sleep every night.
However, people with psychiatric problems may also suffer from this, like those who have bipolar disorder. In such case, an ongoing treatment with medication will be needed.
Another treatment, according to a study by Brian Sharpless entitled “A clinician's guide to recurrent isolated sleep paralysis,” involves psychopharmacological and psychotherapeutic approaches.
In psychopharmacological approach, a number of pharmacological agents are utilized to treat sleep paralysis, often in the context of narcolepsy.
Psychotherapeutic approach, on the other hand, involves: psychoeducation and reassurance; sleep hygiene and insomnia treatment; cognitive behavioral therapy; and meditation and relaxation.
However, it depends on the patient whether they want to be treated or not.
An episode of sleep paralysis can last for seconds to minutes and usually ends on its own. It may also end when someone touches you or speaks to you, or making an intense effort to move.
Personal experience, on my part, dictates that a regular sleep schedule may help sleep paralysis from occurring that often.