The thought of being pinned to the bed by forces unknown brings on more than a quiver. Known as sleep paralysis, this condition terrifies.
Prolonged fear leads to long nights of fitful sleep. Sleep paralysis has known links with the paranormal. Those in its troubling hold will need to learn how to cope with it.
Sleep paralysis has links with sleep apnea, another sleep disorder. Sufferers of this disorder have snore as a result of a blocked airway. Experiencing sleep paralysis episodes is not uncommon. If a sufferer experiences both disorders, he will want to know how to deal with them.
What is sleep paralysis?
Sleep paralysis refers to a feeling of being conscious, but immobile. If a person experiences it, he will pass between sleep and wakefulness.
Often, there is a feeling of pressure of being choked. Sleep paralysis is a symptom of other sleep disorders, including nacrolepsy (a problem with regulating sleep) and sleep apnea (snoring).
Sleep paralysis may happen at one of two times. Experts term the sleep paralysis that happens when a person is falling asleep “hypnagogic sleep paralysis.” Sleep paralysis that happens as a person is waking up is hypnopompic sleep paralysis.
During hypnagogic sleep paralysis, a person is conscious as he falls asleep. As this happens, he may notice that he cannot move or speak.
Hypnopompic sleep paralysis occurs a little differently. The body alternates between rapid eye movement (REM) and Non-Rapid Eye Movement sleep. NREM sleep happens first and occurs for about 75% of a person’s sleep time. As his body shifts into REM sleep, dreams take place. If he becomes aware before the REM cycle finishes, he may notice that he is immobile.
Causes of sleep Paralysis
A number of factors can explain a person’s sleep paralysis.
Many blame sleep paralysis on life stressors. Fatigue may explain why a person feels pinned down during sleep.
A lack of rest may disrupt sleep cycles, causing the body to respond abnormally during sleep. Long standing sleep disturbances may explain why a person experiences instances of sleep paralysis.
Sleep paralysis may have a genetic link. If a person’s parents have experienced sleep paralysis or disturbed sleep cycles, he may as well.
Sleep Paralysis: Its links with the paranormal
Those explanations are plausible, though sleep paralysis has another, less rational explanation. Not many people know that it has links with the paranormal.
All victims experience a spine-chilling feeling of being pushed back into the bed. Others, however, have even more startling experiences. They report an intruder, in a hood with bloodshot eyes, trying to pin them down. Their heart rate accelerates as the figure tries to sit on their chests.
Sleep paralysis visions differ among different cultures. Many people have tied it to werewolves, angels, giants, angels and demons. Most of these have a psychological explanation. They may point to incidents in the country victim’s life, and hold nuggets of wisdom for him.
Symptoms of sleep paralysis
Sleep paralysis is frightening, especially as a person stays conscious throughout the episode. He may have difficulty breathing for a time.
He may also experience a real feeling that someone else is in the room with him. Such hallucinations are fairly common. He will find moving and speaking impossible for a time.
Such an event will leave him feeling temporarily unsettled.
Sleep paralysis: Its links with sleep apnea
Sleep experts believe that sleep paralysis triggers certain presomnias, including sleep walking and
sleep terrors. People in believed that a devil pressed on a sleeper’s chest, causing paralysis.
Though researchers need to conduct further studies, these disruptions point to an intuitive link
between sleep apnea and sleep paralysis.
To better understand the possible link between the two, there is a need to know more about the stages of sleep.
The first stage of sleep, or somnolence, is when the body dozes off. Brain waves change, and brain currents fall from 12 hertz to 7 hertz.
The body transits into the second stage of sleep, when sleep spindles or, sigma waves occur. These are bursts of brain activity that keep us asleep. Sigma waves are a sign of Stage 2 sleep.
During the third stage of sleep, a person may sleep walk, or talk in their sleep. If he wakes up during this stage, he will feel extremely tired.
Experts term the first three sleep stages as Non-REM sleep. In the fourth stage, REM sleep takes place. A sleeping person’s brain waves are similar to those of a person who is awake. It is in this transitional stage, between sleeping and waking, that sleep paralysis happens the most.
If arousal happens during REM sleep, it may trigger an episode of sleep paralysis. Consequently, sleep apnea, and snoring may occur.
Apnea-associated snoring occurs frequently in the REM stage.Though apnea makes it difficult for a person to reach REM sleep, it may happen. If it accompanies a sleep paralysis episode, getting a good night’s rest will become impossible. This is why it is important for sleep apnea sufferers, who may also experience sleep paralysis episodes, to treat their snoring.
Snoring happens if the tongue or palate blocks the airway during sleep. Doctors treat sleep apnea sufferers with Mandibular Advancement Devices (MADs) or Tongue Stabilizing Devices (TSDs). MADs work by pushing the jaw forward and preventing the airway from falling back. TSDs, attached to the tongue, secure it and prevent it from blocking the airway during sleep. Both types of devices cause salivation and dryness. In this Zyppah review, they have tapped into both the solution to decrease their drawbacks and maximize their stop-snoring capabilities.
Coping with sleep paralysis
A sleep paralysis episode does not have a person frightened or immobilized. A sufferer can take steps to snap out of an episode.
The first of these steps is to recognize the symptoms. If he cannot breathe, move, or feels that someone is in the room with him, he is probably experiencing sleep paralysis. He will feel confused, afraid and helpless.
Often, the sufferer can still move his eyes, toes and fingers. He should keep moving them to force himself into a waking state. Moving the eyes can force the body out of paralysis. He should concentrate on his breathing so that he can regain control of his body.
Sleep paralysis cripples temporarily, but does not have to instill fear.
2. End Your Sleep Deprivation
3. NHS Choices
4. Sleep Mouthguards