Sleep Paralysis: Find Out What It Is and Find Out How to Face It!

The sleep paralysis is not a disorder as rare as you might think. It is truly frightening, and may require changes in daily habits.

Can you imagine how you would feel if you woke up in the middle of the night and not able to stir any muscle? The more likely it is that you feel truly terrified. The sleep paralysis is a condition more common than you may think and can be a truly frightening and extremely anxious, as it causes a state of complete muscle paralysis, in which the person feels mentally awake, but physically asleep and paralyzed.

Fortunately, most people do not need specific treatment for this condition, simply by the change of some important life habits (for example, getting enough sleep and avoid excessive stress). However, taking into account that this is a condition more common than what we imagine, matter to know it better.


The paralysis of the sleep is characterized, as the name itself indicates, by a experience paralyzingwith inability to perform movements, before falling asleep, during sleep or when you wake up.

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Commonly lasts between 1 to several minutes and disappears either spontaneously or with external stimulation, or through touch or movement induced by another person. Even more, some people who suffer from sleep paralysis report that the repeated efforts to move or the vigorous movement of the eyes can also contribute to the termination of the state paralyzing.

So as usual, during the period in which the sleep paralysis happens, the movements of the limbs, trunk, and head are not possible. Already the eye movements and breathing tend to be kept.

Taking into account how scary it can be the state of sleep paralysis, it is not surprising that the bouts of anxiety are common, causing in the person a state of huge fragility when one realizes that it is unable to move. More still, the paralysis may also be accompanied by experiences alucinatórias vivid, content, affective, and terrifying.

It should also be noted that there are 3 distinct types of sleep paralysis:

  • Sleep paralysis isolated: they are the most frequent and show no predominance of sex;
  • Sleep paralysis of a familiar pattern: women are more affected than men, in the measure in which the disturbance is transmitted on the X chromosome, in a dominant way;
  • Sleep paralysis associated with narcolepsy (neurological alteration that is characterized by excessive sleepiness during the day, with intermittent episodes and uncontrollable sleep).


The vast majority of cases have onset in adolescence or in adult life, although they can also arise in childhood or middle age. As to evolution, this varies greatly depending on the type of sleep paralysis in question.

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If we take as an example the isolated cases, we know that arise during the wake up, only on predisposing factors, occurring once in a lifetime in 40-50% of healthy people. In turn, the type family (exceptionally rare) and the type associated with narcolepsy are prone to chronicity, thus appearing at the beginning of sleep, and depending also on certain predisposing factors.


Group the main symptoms that may be present in cases of sleep paralysis, we find the following:

  • The inability to move the trunk or limbs when falling asleep or after waking up;
  • Brief episodes of muscle paralysis partial or complete;
  • The presence of hallucinations hipnagógicas (hallucinations when falling asleep);
  • The symptoms are not associated with medical disorders or mental.


The main predisposing factors known are:

  1. Deprivation and habits, irregular sleep;
  2. Other disorders of sleep-wake;
  3. Mental Stress;
  4. Excessive fatigue;
  5. Shift work (the isolated cases may also arise in situations of jetlag);
  6. Sleeping in the supine position (approximately 60% of episodes of sleep paralysis reported to occur when the person is lying belly up).

For the formulation of a diagnosis, the analysis of the presence of the characteristics of sleep paralysis is usually enough. At the time of clarification of diagnosis, it is important to distinguish the cases of the type isolated and the type family of the situations of narcolepsy.

As to treatment, it is important to instruct routines, sleep adequate, as well as try to the maximum to decrease the mental stress. However, if after the implementation of these measures there will be no improvements, you can start pharmacological therapy.

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Mind letting the alert that in the presence of frequent episodes of sleep paralysis, and before the difficulty of getting a good night’s sleep quality, you should consult your doctor.