Have you ever felt the sensation of being awake, but you are unable to move? This might happen right as you are falling asleep or waking up. You might also feel pressure on your chest or like someone is pinning you down. This is known as sleep paralysis, and it is often accompanied by feelings of fear and can even cause hallucinations to appear.
Can Stress Cause Sleep Paralysis?
What causes sleep paralysis to happen? Can stress cause sleep paralysis? While this is not a dangerous or life-threatening condition, it can be very uncomfortable and linked to other ailments and conditions. Keep reading to find out how stress causes this scary condition and how to seek the best sleep paralysis treatment so you can stop being plagued by these nightmares.
Symptoms of Sleep Paralysis
Sleep paralysis is widely defined as the inability to move while consciously waking up or falling asleep. Other symptoms include:
- Inability to move for several seconds or minutes
- Headaches and muscle pains
- Consciously awake while lying in bed
- Pressure on the chest
- Problems breathing
- Inability to speak or make noise
- Sensations of fear and anxiety
- Heightened awareness of sounds and sights
Sleep paralysis can happen most often to individuals in their 20s and 30s, although outside contributors – such as stress – can cause this symptom to occur much more frequently.
Characteristics of Sleep Paralysis
Sleep paralysis can occur for a number of reasons. There have been major links between this condition and narcolepsy, indicating that a larger sleep disorder is at play. It could also be linked to clinical depression, hypertension, and stress.
During sleep paralysis, there is a disruption of the REM cycle, causing the body to alternate between REM and NREM moments. Sleep paralysis indicates the moment when features of REM sleep are still happening even when we are waking up. This includes the inability to move your muscles or your body. It has many causes, but sleep disruption is the biggest contributor to sleep paralysis as a symptom.
Stress and Sleep Paralysis
A recent study connected sleep paralysis and stress in patients with PTSD. Similarly, those who have been diagnosed with social anxiety, generalized stress, and depression were also shown to have higher occurrences of sleep paralysis. But this still begs the question, what comes first? The sleep issues or the stress? Which causes which?
It is a good idea to visit your doctor if you are experiencing sleep paralysis very often. Stress puts a huge toll on the body, often causing disruptions in your natural sleep patterns. The best way to prevent further sleep paralysis is to speak with your sleep doctor about improving your sleep hygiene.
Treatment and Prevention
Most of the time, sleep paralysis is not inherently a medical issue, but is rather a symptom of another sleep-related problem. The best way to get rid of sleep paralysis is to work on stress reduction methods while also improving your sleep schedule every night.
Try some of these healthy sleeping tips:
- Get good exposure to the sunlight during the day and sleep in a dark room at night.
- Turn off the TV and other external lights when you sleep.
- Do not nap for longer than 90 minutes during the day.
- Try not to drink alcohol or caffeine at night.
- Turn your phone off before bed.
It’s important to get a better understanding of your sleep cycle and your medical needs so you can keep sleep paralysis at bay.
End Your Sleep Paralysis Problems Today!
Sleep MD NYC is your place to get help from the top sleep doctor in the area. Dealing with sleep paralysis can be scary, especially if your body is going through long periods of stress. Find the connection between stress and possible sleep disruptions so you can get back on track to good health. Schedule your sleep health consultation today!