What is sleep paralysis?
Often, people misdiagnose sleep disorders due to overlapping symptoms experienced in some, in the following article we hope to provide you with detailed and distinct knowledge of what is sleep paralysis?
That feeling when you’re sleeping and you feel as if you are drifting through dreams and suddenly you’re fully aware of your surroundings, following which you are unable to move at all and you feel another’s presence, that is the empirical essence of what is sleep paralysis. The prospect of sleep paralysis is rather scary, and therefore it is important to know exactly what is sleep paralysis so you’re in a better position to realize it and deal with it the next time.
To begin to uncover the question what is sleep paralysis, quite simply, it is a condition in which an individual experiences partial or absolute inability to carry out voluntary movements. This either happens just as you are falling asleep, (hypnogogic or predormital) or in most cases upon awakening from sleep (hypnopompic or postdormiral). It mostly happens when one is in a supine position and the paralysis lasts anywhere between seconds to several minutes.
Understanding what is sleep paralysis and narcolepsy
Sleep paralysis is most often associated with narcolepsy, a neurological condition whereby one experiences sudden bouts of daytime sleepiness. Therefore it is always good to get your condition checked by a doctor to ensure you do not have narcolepsy, as unlike sleep paralysis, that is a physically harming condition. There is no real causation of sleep paralysis yet discovered, it could be a number of factors such as genetics, immunity etc. General symptoms covered when considering what is sleep paralysis, include immobility, the feeling of not being able to breathe, rapid eye movements, feeling choked and hallucinations of strange noises and images.
When looking at what is sleep paralysis, it is important to remember that the condition, is in no way harmful to the health, physically or even mentally. Except, while undergoing a phase of sleep paralysis, there is a strong feeling of fear and anxiety that is felt in the moment. It seems extremely scary and confounding and it’s hard to make sense of much immediately. This sensation can be heightened if hallucinations take place, whereby one begins to imagine the presence of someone either fantastical or horrific, which in most cases is extremely disturbing to the mind. During this whole phase though you are technically awake, the process must have been quite sudden, due to which the brain still believes it is dreaming. But within minutes the body fully awakens and either gradually or abruptly one will be able to move voluntarily again. The phase usually terminates upon sound or touch.
Sleep paralysis though seemingly unreal, is quite a realistic experience and is quite common. About 20% to 50% of the world suffers from it. It is found most commonly amongst university students (21%), a lot of which is owed to sleep deprivation, stress and the disruption of sleep-wake cycle schedules.
It is important to keep in mind the above-mentioned facts about what is sleep paralysis, to avoid confusing it or misdiagnosing it with other sleep and anxiety disorders.