What is Sleep Paralysis? What Causes Sleep Paralysis and How Is It Treated?

Sleep paralysis, which prevents us from moving even though we are conscious, is a very rare condition. However, it is common in some people. These people should receive the necessary treatment as soon as possible. In this content, we will answer questions such as what should be done during sleep paralysis, why, what is the treatment like, what are the disadvantages and how are you doing.

What is Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is a sleep disorder that leaves you unable to move your body and speak when you wake up. In this case, the body remains in a state of temporary paralysis, although the person is fully awake. Sleep paralysis usually occurs during the REM (rapid eye movement) phase of sleep, in which the brain does not send messages to the muscles despite being awake.

Sleep paralysis can usually last from a few seconds to a few minutes and the person is fully conscious during this time. But not being able to move or talk can be a pretty scary experience. In addition, some people may experience hallucinations or hear strange noises during sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis is often associated with factors such as stress, sleep disturbances, insomnia, insufficient sleep, sleep apnea, extreme fatigue, and some mental disorders. Sleep paralysis is also more common in young adults, but can occur in any age group.

Sleep paralysis requires a medical diagnosis and is usually diagnosed by evaluating symptoms and sleeping habits. The treatment approach can vary depending on the underlying causes of sleep paralysis. For example, it may be helpful to regulate sleep patterns, pay attention to sleep hygiene, manage stress, and treat an underlying problem such as sleep apnea. In some cases, medications for sleep paralysis may also be prescribed.

What Are the Symptoms of Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis is characterized by temporary paralysis of the body during sleep or during the transition periods between wakefulness and sleep. People who experience sleep paralysis cannot move their bodies and often cannot speak, although they may feel awake. These are the symptoms of sleep paralysis:

temporary paralysis

The most obvious symptom during sleep paralysis is the paralysis of the body. The person is unable to send commands to his muscles, although he realizes that he is awake. In this condition, the arms, legs, hands, or feet cannot be moved, and the person often remains completely still.

be aware

During sleep paralysis, the person is fully conscious and can perceive their surroundings. That is, it can perceive environmental sounds, events and even breathing. However, he cannot act or react at this level of consciousness due to muscle paralysis.

difficulty breathing

Some people may have trouble breathing while experiencing sleep paralysis. Breathing problems such as a feeling of heaviness or pressure in the chest, difficulty breathing or shortness of breath may occur. This may be short-lived, but it can be a frightening experience for the person.


During sleep paralysis, some people may experience visual or auditory hallucinations. These hallucinations can often be frightening or disturbing. For example, there may be experiences such as seeing strange creatures, shadows or menacing figures, or hearing disturbing noises.

panic or fear

When experiencing sleep paralysis, a person often experiences feelings of panic or fear. Being unable to move, speak, and have frightening hallucinations can cause a person to feel intense fear or anxiety.

What Causes Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a sleep disorder and can be caused by several factors. The causes can be complex and different for each individual. Here are some common causes of sleep paralysis:

REM sleep and muscle paralysis

Sleep paralysis usually occurs during REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. During REM sleep, the brain does not send commands to the muscles, even though they are awake. This paralyzes the body and prevents the person from moving. Sleep paralysis occurs when there are disruptions during the normal transitions of REM sleep.

sleep disorder

Disturbed sleep patterns or irregular sleep hours can increase the risk of sleep paralysis. Sleep disturbances can be associated with factors such as shift work, jet lag, or staying awake late into the night.

Lack of sleep and fatigue

When you don’t get enough sleep or are extremely tired, the risk of sleep paralysis increases. Lack of sleep can cause sleep pattern disruption and affect the normal functioning of REM sleep.

stress and anxiety

High levels of stress and anxiety can increase the risk of sleep paralysis. During a stressful period or when anxiety levels are high, the harmony between body and mind can be disrupted and sleep paralysis can occur.

Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders

It can cause breathing problems such as sleep apnea, snoring and shortness of breath and increase the risk of sleep paralysis. Other sleep disorders can contribute to sleep paralysis by affecting sleep patterns.

Genetic predisposition

Sleep paralysis may be more common in people with a family history. It is thought that genetic factors may increase the risk of sleep paralysis.

Other factors

Some studies have uncovered certain factors that can cause sleep paralysis. These can include bipolar disorder, migraines, improper positioning during sleep, certain medications, and alcohol use in people with a history of sleep paralysis.

What is the treatment for sleep paralysis?

Sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis is a sleep disorder that causes a person to be unable to move their body and speak when they wake up. Treatment for sleep paralysis focuses on reducing the severity of symptoms, regulating sleep patterns, and addressing the underlying causes. Here are some methods used to treat sleep paralysis:

Pay attention to sleeping patterns and hygiene

Establishing a regular sleep schedule and good sleep hygiene can help reduce sleep paralysis symptoms. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each night can regulate sleep patterns.

stress management

Stress and anxiety can increase the risk of sleep paralysis. Stress management techniques can help reduce stress levels using methods such as relaxation exercises, deep breathing, and meditation.

changing sleeping position

In some people, sleep paralysis may be more common in a certain sleeping position. Sleeping on your back can increase your risk of sleep paralysis. Therefore, sleeping on the side or stomach can be helpful in reducing symptoms.

Treatment of underlying conditions such as sleep apnea

Sleep apnea may be associated with sleep paralysis. If you have been diagnosed with sleep apnea, it is important to treat the sleep apnea. Treatments such as a CPAP (continuous positive airway pressure) device or an intraoral device may be used.


Some medications can be used to treat sleep paralysis. Antidepressants can help regulate sleep patterns and reduce symptoms. However, drug treatment should be supervised by a specialist.


Sleep paralysis can be accompanied by fear or anxiety in some people. In this case, psychotherapy methods such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help manage symptoms and reduce the stress associated with sleep paralysis.

What Happens During Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis occurs when the body doesn’t wake up from REM sleep, even if the brain doesn’t. This situation prevents the person from acting in any way, even if their consciousness is completely open. In addition, let’s say there can be hypnopompic delusions during sleep paralysis.

What Are the Causes of Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is caused by sleeping on the back, psychological problems such as anxiety, substance abuse, differences in sleeping patterns, insomnia and genetic problems.

Is sleep paralysis dangerous?

Sleep paralysis is generally not considered dangerous. Medically referred to as a benign condition, sleep paralysis is not common enough to cause significant health problems. However, if you are a person with constant sleep paralysis, the psychological effects can be quite amazing and dangerous.

How many seconds does sleep paralysis last?

How long sleep paralysis lasts varies from person to person. This discomfort can last for a few seconds or even a few minutes. Hallucinations are known to accompany sleep paralysis in some people.

What should I do to prevent sleep paralysis?

You can use two different methods to prevent sleep paralysis. These are falling asleep in the side position and not sleeping under stress. When you are stressed, you can do activities like take a hot shower or listen to music. This is how you get rid of stress.

Does sleep paralysis go away?

Sleep paralysis is a treatable condition. To treat this condition, drugs are used that do not harm the sleep cycle and regulate the sleep process. Thanks to these drugs, which must be used under the supervision of a doctor, you can get rid of sleep paralysis.

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