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Understanding the Symptoms and Causes of Sleep Paralysis

April 18, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 267

Sleep paralysis is the feeling of being awake, but unable to move or act. While it poses few actual health threats, it can be disorienting and potentially frightening for those who experience an episode, especially for the first time. Incidents of such disorders can last anywhere from a few seconds to several minutes. An estimated one in five people experience this condition at one time or another, so recognizing the symptoms is important to overcoming one's fear should an episode occur.

Some may only experience a single, isolated incident, while others with this problem may have repeated attacks. Usually, sleep paralysis is nothing more than a sign that the body is having trouble adjusting through the various stages of sleep. As the brain moves into or out of its REM cycle, there is the potential for a person to be in a dreaming state while still remaining aware of their physical body. This creates the sensation of being paralyzed as the body adjusts. In unusual cases, episodes may be linked to psychological issues or accompany other sleep disorders such as narcolepsy.

There are several conditions which may encourage such attacks. By avoiding these, one can reduce the chances of having an episode:

• Going to sleep when overly tired • A constantly shifting sleep schedule • High stress levels • Certain medications • Substance abuse

Other than the underlying sensation of being unable to move or speak, sleep paralysis symptoms may also consist of a sensation of pressure or choking.

Sleep paralysis is not generally considered to be a serious health problem, though it can certainly affect a restful night's sleep. It can, however, be an indicator of lifestyle changes that need to be made or of psychological problems and other sleep issues. Therefore, it is best to get to the root of these problems and solve them.

There are several things which can be done in order to lessen one's chances of experiencing sleep paralysis. Regulating sleep habits and making sure to get enough sleep is the first and most important step. Stress in one's life should be reduced or avoided when possible. One can also exercise in order to encourage deeper sleeping.

If a person can't fall asleep due to these symptoms, a professional's help may be necessary to resume healthy sleeping patterns. Failing to deal with this condition can leave a person extremely tired throughout the day and affect his or her quality of life. A doctor can get to the root of psychological or physiological issues which may be causing or contributing to sleep paralysis and help solve them.

The author has spent a lot of time learning about sleep paralysis symptoms and other related topics. Read more about can't fall asleep at the author's website.

Source: EzineArticles
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