Do You Ever Wake Up and Can`t Move? Here is Why And When It Happens!

This weird phenomenon is known as sleep paralysis, where an individual cannot move, speak or react for a brief moment when falling asleep or awakening. It is a transitional state between wakefulness and sleep, which is often accompanied by hallucinations. Hallucinations, such as the presence of someone in the room or someone sitting on your chest, are common and may make it difficult for the person to breathe. Physical experiences like a strong current running through the upper body are also common.

Here are some of the common risk factors linked to sleep paralysis are:

  • Improper sleep.
  • Frequent changes in sleep schedules.
  • Mental problems, such as anxiety, high stress or bipolar disorder.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Sleeping on the back.
  • Sleep problems, such as narcolepsy or nighttime leg cramps.
  • Use of certain medications.
  • Substance abuse.

When Does Sleep Paralysis Occur?

Usually, sleep paralysis occurs within two specific times during the sleep cycle.

  • While you are falling asleep, which is known as hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis. As you fall asleep, your body slowly relaxes and you may notice that you cannot move or speak.
  • While you are waking up, which is known as hypnopompic or postdormital sleep paralysis. During sleep, your body alternates between REM (rapid eye movement) and NREM (non-rapid eye movement) sleep. At the end of NREM, your sleep shifts to REM, where the eyes move quickly but the rest of your body remains very relaxed. REM is the deepest part of your sleep cycle when your brain has vivid dreams. At this time, the muscles of your body are essentially turned off so that you do not act out your dream with your body. If you wake up before your REM cycle is over, you become fully conscious but your body is still in the REM sleep mode, leaving you unable to move voluntarily.

Who Can Have Sleep Paralysis?

According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, people experience sleep paralysis for the first time between the ages of 14 and 17. It can affect men and women of any age group and it is estimated that it occurs in between 5 and 40 percent of people.

What to do?

Some of the common risk factors linked to sleep paralysis are:

  • Improper sleep.
  • Frequent changes in sleep schedules.
  • Mental problems, such as anxiety, high stress or bipolar disorder.
  • Genetic predisposition.
  • Sleeping on the back.
  • Sleep problems, such as narcolepsy or nighttime leg cramps.
  • Use of certain medications.
  • Substance abuse.

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