What causes sleep paralysis is the inability to transition in and out of the REM stage of sleep, REM is when you get your deepest sleep. Your body becomes paralyzed so you don’t act out your dreams.
If you wake up while this is happening and aren’t able to transition to a different stage of sleep, then a sleep paralysis event is likely to occur.
But it’s good to know that normally there are no hidden medical factors behind it, so you shouldn’t be worried about having mental issues or mental conditions that require attention.
People have been experiencing these episodes for over a long period of time, more often than not, people hallucinate about malevolent entities that are present in the room.
This can span from demons to visitors from outer space or just scary characters roaming around the room.
All throughout the very stages of our human history, many different cultures have had encounters with shadowy creatures terrorizing people while they sleep.
Even though the reason behind these scary hallucinations still remains unknown, many people have dedicated themselves to uncover the mystery behind this scary condition.
What Causes Sleep Paralysis?
If you suffer from this condition don’t think you’re alone, it’s more common than you think, about 10% of the population experience it, or has experienced it in the past.
Normally it starts happening during people’s teenage phase, but not exclusively, sleep paralysis can occur at any stage of life.
It might be something that was genetically inherited, or could be that many other factors are triggering this condition, let’s go over some of them.
Not getting enough sleep is definitely a strong contender.
Constantly changing the times when you sleep, either because of shift work or just because you’re not sleeping at the same time every day, certain situations in your life might be causing you to become overwhelmed and stressed.
Your sleeping position is also a factor, this condition is more commonly known to happen to people who tend to sleep on their backs.
If you suffer from restless leg syndrome or leg cramps caused by painful contraction of a muscle that cannot be controlled.
Some types of medications can also be causing it, if you’re taking medications such as ADHD medication, make sure to read the label to find out if they possibly can cause sleep problems.
The use of illegal drugs not only will have very damaging effects on your health, but can also trigger sleep paralysis.
Should I See a Doctor About my Sleep Paralysis?
If this situation never occurred to you before, the first time will be extremely frightening and you might think you are being haunted.
But that’s not the case, and it’s not a reason for concern, although people react differently to different situations, it might be a good idea to see your doctor.
If you are feeling incapable of dealing with the situation, and it’s causing you to feel extreme fear or anxiety.
If it’s causing you to feel drained and lacking energy on a consistent basis during your normal daily life.
If you plainly are not being able to sleep at all, and are getting notably sleep-deprived.
At this point, your doctor will assess the situation and try to gather as much data from you as possible to know how to better resolve the situation.
After a period of investigation, if he concludes that it is in fact sleep paralysis, he will try to find the exact cause of why it is happening.
After he exhausted all possible treatment options, and the problem is not resolved he will most likely refer you to a sleep specialist to get an even better picture.
The last step would be conducting sleep studies overnight or a short period of sleep during the day, to be able to determine if there are other underlying conditions prompting this to happen.
The good thing about it, is that you can most likely treat this yourself, by taking matters into your own hands, you can take action to assure that you get the best sleep you possibly can…
How to fix Sleep Paralysis?
The Importance of Sleep
I think everyone knows the importance that sleeping has on our health, the problem is that many fail to actually put it into practice and think they can function just fine with a very limited sleep time.
Being sleep deprived will immediately show it’s negative effects on your hormones, your level of fitness, and your mental sharpness.
Not to mention the fact that people who sleep less are more prone to put on extra pounds, and become more vulnerable to sickness, in childhood and in adulthood
So if you really are concerned about your health or just want to be healthier as a general rule you should than start working on getting those Zzzzzz’s
Unfortunately, over time we’ve been witnessing a decrease in both how many hours people sleep and also the quality of sleep has been getting worse as well
How Can Sunlight Affect You?
Did you know that being exposed to direct sunlight has an effect on the quality of your sleep? sunlight helps to keep your “circadian rhythm healthy” most commonly known as your internal clock.
It’s of the utmost importance to have your internal clock running smoothly, it will tell your body exactly when you should wake up and when to shut off and go to sleep.
Not only is it important to help you sleep, but also provides you with higher amounts of energy during the day, studies have shown that having a regular sleep schedule can even help you fall asleep faster and be able to sleep for longer periods of time.
It’s a good idea to go outside at least a couple of hours a day, or if you find yourself in a situation where that’s not possible, then it might prove to be a good idea to acquire some artificial light for the same effect.
How Blue Light Affects You
We’ve talked about the benefits that light can have when you’re exposed to it during the day, but we cannot say the same when it happens at night, it will actually be more harmful the good if you are exposed to light at night.
Again comes down to how it affects your internal clock, by being exposed to light during the night it will send signals to your brain and make it think it’s daytime.
This, in turn, will inhibit the process of melatonin discharge, melatonin is a hormone that helps your body enter the relaxed and state, necessary for you to fall asleep.
In our modern times, the variety of gizmos and gadgets available to us are astounding, everyone has a cell phone or a tablet.
While their uses cannot be denied, if used at night they can be preventing you from entering that relaxed state by something called blue light emissions.
You should avoid using such devices at night, or if you really have to for some reason then there are ways to reduce their effects
There are glasses specifically designed to reduce the effects.
Another good way to reduce blue light is ironically by getting particular apps specifically designed to reduce blue light, there available for all platforms, IOS, and Android alike
And it’s also a good idea to abstain from watching tv and not having the lights on 2 hours before bedtime to start your relaxing and calming stage that leads to falling asleep.
How Caffeine Affects You
Coffee, if consumed later in the day, can break the natural cycle the body needs to undergo, and prevent your body from entering the necessary relaxed state it requires to later on falling asleep.
Almost Everyone loves coffee and the vast majority of the population consumes coffee on a regular basis, especially in the developed world.
Its effects are undeniable, they give you a must needed boost, they help your brain be more in tune, and helps in the athletic department as well.
Although coffee should be consumed during the day, when you need a helping hand to complete your daily tasks like work, parental duties, or just running your life.
There are studies that show that the consumption of coffee as far as 6 hours before your regular bedtime has considerably lowered the chances of getting a good night’s sleep.
Because of the fact that coffee can remain present in your system from 6 to 8 hours of course, people react differently to this stimulant some people are more sensitive to it than others
But assuming that you are already having trouble sleeping due to sleep paralysis, then it’s definitely something you should avoid doing.
But if you’re a “coffee addict” and can’t go too long without taking a sip, then there’s always the decaffeinated version, which will provide you the same smell and taste and help fight that craving.
The Effects Of Napping
It’s very possible you are sleep deprived due to sleep paralysis and you’re sneaking power naps during the day, that’s ok there’s nothing wrong with taking naps but if they happen at irregular times and are not part of a routine they can be doing more harm than good.
Abstain from sleeping during the days if it’s possible to make it a regular occurrence.
Not to mention that will potentially trick your internal clock and you might end up having trouble sleeping when you should which is at night, and you might end up feeling more tired and sleepy during the day.
Studies into the benefits and drawbacks of napping have shown that it’s optimal to have short naps ranging to 30 minutes or less
When you sleep for longer than that it will have a negative impact, of course, other factors are also considered, everyone is different but on a general rule, routine is the key to better sleep and reducing the chances of a sleep paralysis episode.
How Important is a Consistent Sleep Schedule?
Imagine your body is like a machine that needs to be recharged every day, for you to have the necessary energy or “charge” when you most need it which is during the day.
You’ll have to engage in the most optimized course of action and create a cycle that is consistent in order to get the best results.
Not only with sleep paralysis but with your overall health, the point being, the healthier you are the smaller the likelihood of developing any disorders including sleep paralysis,
Consistency is very important, and one that should not be overlooked, so if your body is used to go to bed at a certain time, and waking up at a certain time then, don’t change it, not even on the weekends.
At least while you’re experiencing a more active period of sleep paralysis episodes.
The constant implementation of this rule can yield significant improvements over time, you’ll find that after a certain time you might not even need an alarm to get you out of bed.
This means that you have optimized your sleep and your internal clock is finely tuned, this potentially can lower the frequency or stop the episodes from happening altogether.
Correlation Between Melatonin and Sleep Paralysis
If you’re taking melatonin to aid you with sleep paralysis I urge you to stop, my wife suffers from sleep paralysis and we noticed a direct correlation between episode frequency and the consumption of this supplement.
Even though melatonin is common among the general public and generally accepted, it should not be used to try to treat sleep paralysis.
Melatonin promotes REM and makes you enter the REM stage a higher number of times, seeing that sleep paralysis happens when you transition into and out of the REM stage. the chances of an episode occurring increases considerably.
Effects of Alcohol on Sleep Quality
The consumption of alcohol, especially in excess has been linked to poor sleep quality and duration, People with alcohol abuse disorders commonly experience insomnia symptoms.
Enjoying a glass of wine is one of our favorite ways to relax and help us come to get back into a more comfortable state, but it’s been proven to worsen the quality of sleep.
If you already suffer from other underlying sleeping disorders like sleep apnea or even chronic snoring, than alcohol will further worsen these conditions.
Especially when you gratify the consumption of alcohol in the nighttime, alcohol is a foreign substance to our body with toxic properties, hence referring to a drunk person as being intoxicated.
You are way more likely to experience sleep disruptions and decreases in sleep quality.
The more times you wake up during sleep, the higher the chances that one of those disruptions, becomes a sleep paralysis event.
Good Bedroom Environment For Sleep
You should try to give your bedroom a calming and relaxing vibe, to give a clear indication to your brain that this space is meant for maximum comfort, total relaxation with minimal disturbances.
The way you set up your sleeping environment will have a direct impact on your sleep, special consideration should be given to elements like how cold or how hot the room is, the level of noise you experience during the night.
Sources of light shinning in, or night lights, and even the overall aesthetic of the room.
The general outlook of the room and all the other external factors can directly impact the quality of your sleep.
Ideal Bedroom Temperature
Room temperature might be hard to control, especially with varying seasons, you probably have noticed that when it’s too hot, it’s hard to have a good night sleep.
If you find yourself in this situation there are some things you can do to help it.
Let’s take a deeper look into how temperature affects your sleep, when I say temperature I’m not referring only to room temperature but body temperature as well.
And by this I mean you should be mindful of your blanket selection, some blankets can be too hot and some not hot enough, this is very important because even if you take all the appropriate steps to make your room the ideal temperature.
You might ruin everything with a poor choice of bedwear, it’s a matter of experimenting and finding the right ones for you.
If you don’t have access to air conditioning or if the air conditioning is not strong enough,
Then you can add some fans to the room, shut off computers and screens, Switch to insulated curtains or honeycomb blinds, cooling sheets, don’t eat close to bedtime, the digestive process will warm up your body.
It’s a fact that temperature has a bigger impact than noise, do what you can to keep your room constantly between 60 to 67 Fahrenheit (15.6 to 19.4 degrees Celsius).
Is it okay to Sleep After Eating?
If you do have to eat, then I advise you to stay away from carbohydrates such as sugary foods, bread, pasta, even fruits contain fructose that is a naturally occurring sugar in fruits,
A recent study indicates that carbohydrates don’t resonate well with our ability to have a restful and regenerating sleep.
Are you a fan of the so-called midnight snack, then you’ll be sad to know that eating before bed is not ideal, and there are two main ways that this can negatively impact your sleep
First by warming up your body, and we’ already established that heat is an enemy of good night’s sleep.
The second way, eating at night is bad for you is because you are not going to be burning those calories because you’re not engaging in any physical activity.
I hope this helps people to minimize the effects and occurrences of sleep paralysis, of course these are guidelines and not rules, and there might be other underlying conditions that are causing you to suffer from this affliction.
But as per my experience (my wife suffers from sleep paralysis) these little steps do help, there are spans of time where she is able to go for months without having an episode, other times it happens constantly.
There are many factors to take into account and everyone’s level of stress is different at different stages of their lives.
But I’m certain of one thing, the more informed you are about it the better you’re going to be able to handle it.
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