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Here's What Sleep Paralysis Does To Your Body and Why It Happens (Video)

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by N.Morgan

If you have ever suffered through an episode of sleep paralysis, you already know that it is a strange and frightening phenomenon. Even as scary as it can be, it does not cause physical harm to the body, but the person remains conscious while being unable to move any body part, from a few seconds to a few minutes. 

It often starts during adolescence and can become more frequent during the 20s and 30s.  It happens during one of two stages, “hypnagogic”, which happens before falling asleep, and “hypnopompic”, that occurs as the person wakes from REM sleep.

As we fall asleep, our mind becomes less aware while the body enters a completely relaxed state. In the case of hypnagogic sleep paralysis, the mind remains aware while the body achieves an involuntary state of relaxation, which causes panic.

On the other hand, the brain wakes sooner in the case of hypnopompic sleep paralysis, but it does not affect the brain part responsible for REM paralysis, and the person is awake to a certain extent but has no voluntary control over muscles.

Even though this phenomenon is rare, about 8 percent of the population has frequent issues with sleep paralysis, and the ones most prone to it are individuals with mental disorders, like anxiety and depression.

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Here are all the risk factors listed:

Mental conditions, like stress or bipolar disorder

– Sleeping on the back

– Lack of sleep

– Frequent changes in sleep schedule

– Sleep problems like narcolepsy or nighttime leg cramps

– Substance abuse

– Certain types of medication, like those with ADHD

These are the most common signs and symptoms of sleep paralysis:

  • an inability to move the body when falling asleep or on waking, which can last for a few seconds or even several minutes
  • An inability to speak during an episode while being consciously awake
  • A pressure felt in the chest
  • Difficulties breathing
  • Experiencing hallucinations and sensations that lead to fear and panic
  • Headaches, and muscle pains
  • Sweating
  • Paranoia and feeling as if death is approaching

Yet, sleep paralysis occurs naturally, so there is generally no prescribed treatment, but your doctor can prescribe:

Implementation of a sleeping schedule

– Treatment of any underlying sleep disorders


– Referral to a sleep specialist

–Sleeping Aids

Referral to a mental health professional

In many cases, incorporating an adequate sleeping pattern and limiting stress effectively prevent sleep paralysis. According to health professionals, rare episodes should be treated with paying attention to sleeping habits, as sleep deprivation might be their main cause. 

Additionally, one will benefit a lot from the avoidance of alcohol, caffeine, drugs, and nicotine, as well as from sleeping in a bedroom with no electronic devices.

Furthermore, the following additional measures may help you avoid these issues:

Avoiding sleeping on the back

Incorporating some stress-reducing techniques

Reducing the intake of stimulants

Practicing meditation or regular prayer

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Stories Contributed by N. Morgan


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    Total 1 comment
    • Slimey

      Hello Angle#3,

      Charlie here. Sleep paralysis is very interesting. I think it was said that your body produces a chemical that stops the muskcools from moving otherwise you would hurt yourself or something like that.

      I did not know that. But everybody experiences it at sleep. Like one time I dreamt this big doughnut was rolling down the hill and was going to run me over.

      Lucky I’m not afraid of any size doughnut and I just stood there and just when the doughnut was about to hit me I woke up (not in sweat) like most people but FOOL of doughnut crumbs all over me. :lol: :lol:

      That morning I got up and did not see any doughnut crumbs and realize I was having a doughnutmare!


      Charlie (have you ever had a doughnut mare?) :cool: :cool:

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