Sleeping paralysis: A horrible experience
There are certain things in life you cannot live without. The basic things like air, water and food. Then there comes sleep. Sleep is an indispensable requisite for a healthy and productive life. But what if the sleep, which we so desire for, comes to haunt you. You no longer want to go to bed and close your eyes for you know, most probably than not, you are going to wake up all sweaty and frightened in the middle of the night. So much so, you hope that it doesn’t happen again and are afraid to lay down again. Sleep full of nightmares. The same sleep which is meant to give your body much needed rest disturbs your psyche and ultimately exposes you to ill health.
Only a few of us may have come across this kind of experience. You’re asleep and suddenly it feels someone, mostly something supernatural, is trying to hurt, suffocate and terrify you. It feels like someone is applying pressure on your chest and you cannot breathe. The shortness of breathing becomes very intense. You try to reach out for help but you can’t. You can see people around you as if you’re awake and call them out loud. But, they don’t listen. You try to sit up but you cannot move your body. At one point, you feel it is easier to give up rather than resisting. This state of sleep, in which our mind is between complete sleep and wakefulness where we are unable to react, talk or walk, is known as “Sleeping paralysis”.
Data suggests that only 8% of the world’s population experience sleeping paralysis. There are various explanations as to why this happens. Most explanations lead to genetics and sleep deprivation along with some other conditions like migraines, anxiety to name a few. Sleeping paralysis, apart from its terrifying experience, has no immediate effect on the health but may affect people mentally if it is recurrent in the long term.
Treatment for Sleeping Paralysis
There are few ways that might be beneficial in preventing its occurrence or managing the condition.
- The most important thing is developing a healthy sleeping habit for e.g. no sleep deprivation, proper/regular sleep schedule, etc.
- Avoid stress and anxiety before sleeping. Thinking too much about the condition also is not helpful.
- Avoid sleeping in supine position i.e. sleeping facing upwards or on the back
- Oversleeping (forced sleeping) may be one of the cause.
- Early diagnosis of conditions like narcolepsy (a neurological condition) may be helpful.
- Certain medications like anti-depressants can be used if the condition worsens.
- Practices like physical exercises and yoga are helpful.
- Stop substance abuse
- Meditation-relaxation therapy is one method of treatment.
Sleeping paralysis is a horrible experience and one you wish you never come across. I, personally, have experienced this many times over the years before I decided to do something for it. I followed some measures aforementioned and the incidence has decreased considerably. So much so, I have not experienced it for over a year now.