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What You Need to Know About Sleep Paralysis

Last updated 3 years ago

Sleep paralysis may occur once or many times, causing a temporary—and sometimes frightening—feeling of paralysis upon waking. Although sleep paralysis is not a sleep disorder itself, it is often a symptom that your body is not cycling normally through the natural stages of sleep. If you experience multiple episodes of sleep paralysis or are worried about sleep paralysis, your physician can help.

What Is Sleep Paralysis?
When sleep paralysis occurs, you are awake but unable to move for seconds or minutes. This may happen once in a while or several times each night. Many people experience feelings of anxiety, fear, or sensations of pressure and choking during an episode of paralysis. However, sleep paralysis is not a dangerous medical condition. Sleep paralysis happens as the body transitions from sleeping to waking, either just as you are falling asleep or as you are waking up. The mind may become awake and aware before the body is able to respond, causing temporary paralysis.  

What Causes Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is not classified as a distinct sleep disorder. Instead, sleep paralysis may be associated with other disorders, such as narcolepsy or nighttime leg cramps. It may also be caused by a lack of sleep, a varying sleep schedule, or anxiety and stress. Substance abuse or the use of certain medications may also trigger sleep paralysis.

What Treatments Are Available for Sleep Paralysis?
Before treating sleep paralysis, your physician will take steps to determine its cause. In some cases, improving your sleep habits can eliminate episodes of sleep paralysis. Treating anxiety, substance abuse, other sleep problems, and changing medication that may be responsible for sleep paralysis can also reduce its occurrence.

If you are experiencing sleep paralysis, insomnia, snoring, or other problems affecting your ability to get a good night’s sleep, call Sleep Services of Maryland today at (240) 912-4683. We are open seven nights a week to provide treatment for adults and children suffering from sleep troubles. Click through our blog to learn more about sleep disorders and how they are treated. 


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