During sleep paralysis, you’re not sleeping. You might simply be experiencing an unusual dream, or perhaps you’re having a hallucination.
You may find it hard to open your eyes during sleep paralysis. When this happens, try opening them with your mind. Or, if you’re able to open your eyes, try closing them again.
Also, if you feel an urge to move your eyes, try to resist it. You may also find it helpful to keep your eyes closed during your sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis and hallucinations
It’s possible that sleep paralysis could be linked to hallucinations. In this case, you and your bed partner might both be experiencing hallucinations while you’re both awake.
This could be caused by something you ate or drank, a medication you took, or even an allergic reaction.
Sleep paralysis and sleep apnea
Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that causes your breathing to stop and start repeatedly during sleep.
During sleep paralysis, you might be breathing through your mouth when you’re not in a deep sleep state. This could be the cause of the sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis and other sleep disorders
There are many more sleep disorders that can cause sleep paralysis. These include:
- Circadian rhythm disorders
Symptoms of sleep paralysis
If you experience sleep paralysis, you’ll probably wake up in a panic. You’ll likely be in a fog and feel confused. You may not remember the events that led up to your sleep paralysis.
Common symptoms of sleep paralysis include:
- Feeling nauseated
- Feeling drowsy or sleepy
- Feeling like you might pass out
- Having an odd dream
- Having trouble remembering the events that led to your sleep paralysis
Diagnosing sleep paralysis
A doctor can diagnose sleep paralysis. In order to do this, they will likely ask you about your symptoms and perform a physical exam.
In some cases, they may also want to rule out other sleep disorders.
Treating sleep paralysis
In some cases, sleep paralysis can resolve on its own. Your doctor might recommend a self-help method or treatment for sleep paralysis.
These methods include:
- Taking a hot bath
- Using a hot water bottle on your legs
- Taking a hot shower
- Putting hot water bottles or a warm blanket on your legs
- Taking a warm bath
- Drinking warm water
However, it’s important to note that these methods aren’t guaranteed to work.
If you experience sleep paralysis and these methods don’t help, it’s also possible that you’ll need to see a sleep specialist.
They may recommend one of the following treatments:
- An OSA treatment
- A sleep hypnosis treatment
- A light therapy treatment
For some people, sleep paralysis doesn’t resolve on its own. In some cases, the sleep paralysis may persist and worsen, or it may also begin to occur at night.
In these cases, your doctor may recommend one of the following:
- Sleeping in a different position
- Getting a night light
- Getting a white noise machine
- Taking melatonin
- Taking antidepressants
How to prevent sleep paralysis?
It’s possible that you can prevent sleep paralysis by avoiding certain behaviors that may trigger it.
In some cases, it may be difficult to prevent sleep paralysis. Depending on the cause of your sleep paralysis, you may be able to prevent it.
The following tips can help you prevent sleep paralysis:
- Avoid naps that cause you to wake up with a stiff neck.
- Avoid naps that make you feel sleepy.
- Avoid napping too close to bedtime.
- Try to avoid drinking caffeine during the day.
Side effects of sleep paralysis
While sleep paralysis can be a scary experience, it’s usually temporary.
In some cases, sleep paralysis may persist and worsen. This could be the result of a condition like OSA, but it could also be due to sleep deprivation.
Sleep paralysis and narcolepsy
Narcolepsy is a chronic neurological disorder that causes sudden uncontrollable episodes of sleep. These episodes can be caused by a number of things, including:
- An imbalance of the body’s chemicals that control sleep and wakefulness
- Hormone changes in the body
- Certain medical conditions, such as heart disease and diabetes
Narcolepsy can be difficult to diagnose. However, there’s a strong link between narcolepsy and sleep paralysis.
Narcolepsy can make sleep paralysis worse. It can also make it more difficult to fall asleep.
Narcolepsy can be treated, but it’s important to work with a sleep specialist to find out why you’re experiencing sleep paralysis. This will help your doctor come up with a treatment plan that works best for you.
Sleep paralysis and dementia
Some people with dementia may have sleep paralysis. The episodes can be more frequent or intense.
If dementia is the cause, sleep paralysis may worsen. It may also be more difficult to fall asleep.
Sleep paralysis and epilepsy
Epilepsy is a neurological disorder that causes you to have seizures. Seizures can cause you to lose consciousness.
During sleep paralysis, you may have an episode that includes:
- Eye movements
- Face twitching
- Uncontrollable movement of the arms and legs
Sleep paralysis and drug use
Drug use can cause sleep paralysis. Cocaine and methamphetamines are two things that can cause sleep paralysis.
Some people don’t experience sleep paralysis when they take these substances. However, it’s possible that they’ll experience it if they’re using the substances regularly and for a long time.
It’s also possible that the drug may cause sleep paralysis in some people.
However, it’s important to note that sleep paralysis can’t be a reason to stop using the substances.
If you’re experiencing sleep paralysis while taking these substances, you should see a doctor to discuss treatment options.
Sleep paralysis is common. However, it can be a sign of an underlying condition. You can get help from a sleep specialist for sleep paralysis and other sleep disorders.
You can also try to relax your body and mind during sleep paralysis. If these techniques don’t work, see your doctor to find out what’s causing the sleep paralysis
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