How to deal with sleep paralysis?
Last Updated: 05/24/2015 at 6:28am
Jennifer Patterson, LMFT, ATR-BC
Life can be messy. Sometimes you need a little support to make your way through it. I love to help guide people through their challenges & to find the beauty in our messes.
Top Rated Answers
•Sleep paralysis is a very common medical phenomenon. Do not worry about the supernatural or spiritual implications of such an episode. •Avoid sleeping on your back. •Try flexing the muscles in your arms/legs if you feel the onset of an episode. •If you experience disassociation ("out of body" feelings), try to "feel" the texture of your sheets, clothes, or furniture around you. It's easier to wake up if you focus on one of your senses. Alternatively, ignore the sense of paralysis and allow yourself to follow the "out of body" feelings; you can turn an unpleasant surprise into an enjoyable lucid dream, which you may be able to control. Try visiting friends or pleasant spots you have visited. No harm can come to you, so don't be afraid. •Another way to keep a balanced mind is to practice easy relaxation or meditation techniques in order to allow the brain to “switch off” after very long working hours and accumulate energy to work effectively.
Sleep paralysis can be related to a number of factors such as a general lack of sleep, stress, medication use or substance abuse, narcolepsy, leg cramps, switch in sleeping time, and some mental disorders (bipolar, ADHD). The best ways to deal with sleep paralysis area always seeking natural remedies first. First off, make sure to get an average of 7-9 hours of sleep. Everyone is different, but generally melatonin (sleep inducing hormone) starts forming in our bodies around 9pm every night, that's a sign we should be preparing for sleep. Our internal clocks are all different so there may be some variations, but generally from 9-11pm is the optimal sleeping time. For natural remedies , oils such as lavender relax the body and are known for sleep aid, any heat pads can also help the body since it warms throughout the night as a part of sleep, passionflower tea and lettuce are also known to relax the immune system and can help with insomnia. As for the sleeping environment make sure to keep your room, a place where work is not done if at all possible. Try making the general environment in your room a soothing one (no tv, bright lights) as you prepare for bed. For further aid, consultation with a doctor will be needed. Sleep paralysis is generally diagnosed by doctors, and can best be helped by a doctor in the event of continued condition due to mental health issues.
Try not to sleep on your back! Sleep Paralysis mostly occurs when laying still on your back. This triggers the sleep paralysis, so try to avoid it if you can.
As someone who suffered through terrible sleep paralysis in the past, my best advice is to not only focus on the amount of ours that you can sleep, but also on the regularity of those hours. I found sleeping at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning helped me to avoid sleep paralysis. The more I slept regularly, the more rested I became, and the less often I'd struggle to get through a night without some debilitating paralysis. Stress is also a big factor in getting a good rest, so dealing with that is also paramount. Finding the right amount of peace in your life in order to get a good sleep will treat you right.
The phenomenon of sleep paralysis occurs when the brain has entered a restful dream-like state but the body is still awake. Sleep paralysis can be quite scary and there is no real easy way to go about "curing" sleep paralysis though there are ways of preventing it. Sleeping on your side as oppose to your back greatly decreases the chance of having a sleep paralysis experience. Keeping a journal of these experiences can also be helpful in determining how often the experiences occur and what time they happen. Another "unorthodox" method involves "confronting" the paralysis or the "figure in the room" phenomenon that many sufferers of sleep paralysis report experiencing. During the experience many report feeling a "presence" in the room that often causes more panic and fear during sleep paralysis. A remedy some have reported is being with the presence and subconsciously "welcoming" it into the room. Sufferers report being able to fall asleep shortly after the individual accepts the fact that what they are experiencing is happening because they are starting to dream.
To first identify the symptoms of sleep paralysis. Then to identify and avoid some triggers such as specific medication or pain relief pills. It's a good idea to tell your family so they can help in the case of an emergency. You should also keep a log or diary that includes time you went to sleep, time you woke up and if you experienced any sleep paralysis that night.
A lot of this can be down to your sleeping habits. Do you have a sleeping routine in place? Are you drinking alcohol, coffee or smoking before bed? Perhaps some exercise before bed could help and a comfortable environment in which to sleep. Stimulants before sleep can be a big cause of sleep paralysis.
Breath. Try to convince yourself that nothing that is happening is actually real. What you are seeing\feeling are things that your brain produces so take control of yourself and thing about a place you want to go, for example "I want to be flying" with luck, you will experience a lucid dream where you can control everything but it feels like it's real. It takes control and self-discipline. Sleep well and have healthy habits, if it continues ask for help, there is nothing wrong about it. Maybe do a little bit of research and see what you can find, our brain is interesting! Good luck :)
Don't fight the sleep paralysis, surrender and go with the flow of your sleep paralysis, Wiggle your toes, Clench your fist, focus on your breathing, Lean into love to find courage, If you have a sleeping partner get help from them, cough for help, and write out a plan.
Just allow yourself to subside with the event and relax. Even though it seems real, you have to understand that the mind plays tricks on us.
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