5 Causes of Sleep Paralysis

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Sleep paralysis is something that you’re either completely terrified of or something that you have no idea about. However, it’s quite common, so if you’ve been the victim of sleep paralysis, then you’ll definitely know.


Let’s start with the basics. Sleep paralysis is basically a state in which you wake up from your REM sleep, but can’t seem to move any muscle. Your body is in a state of “paralysis” because your muscles haven’t woken up from sleep yet, yet you are conscious. It’s a state that can strike fear in your heart because you know that you’re awake, but your muscles have yet to register that. This causes a minute or two of distress until your body “wakes up”.

But what exactly causes sleep paralysis? That’s something that many people have wondered over the years, but until recently we have only just begun to understand the causes of this state. In this article, we will take you through the top causes of sleep paralysis in hopes that you may be able to find common sense ways to stop sleep paralysis.

Sleep Deprivation: If you’ve been through long periods of time without the proper sleep, you can easily find yourself falling victim to sleep paralysis. Many studies have shown that one of the most common causes of sleep paralysis is indeed sleep deprivation. It can also be caused by disruptions to your sleep schedule.

So next time you want to stop yourself from being paralyzed before you wake up fully, make sure you get eight hours of sleep every night.

Long Periods of Stress: Stress has also been shown to be one of the main causes for sleep paralysis. This is mostly because when you’re stressed, you’re not going to be sleeping well. This will cause you to wake up at improper times during your sleep schedule, leading to sleep paralysis in most cases.

Make sure you’re taking the proper steps to deal with your stress by relaxing before going to bed. Read a book, light a candle, or do whatever activity will make you feel the most relaxed.

Anxiety and Depression Disorders: Those with a history of anxiety and other depressive disorders are often seen to be more at risk for sleep paralysis than those without these disorders. So if you have had a history of these disorders and are finding yourself with sleep paralysis, this is probably one of the contributing factors.

The best way to combat this is to have yourself properly treated for your anxiety or depression. That way you will never have to deal with sleep paralysis again (hopefully)!

Family History: Your family’s history can also be a contributing factor for sleep paralysis. Even though there is no specific gene that’s known to be associated with sleep paralysis, most people with a family history of sleep paralysis have been shown to have more incidents of sleep paralysis.

Sleeping on Your Back: Curiously enough, many people that sleep on their backs have higher rates of sleep paralysis. No one knows quite why this occurs, but if you’re a back sleeper and have been experiencing more sleep paralysis lately, it may be worth your while to try another sleeping position. Try sleeping on your side or in the fetal position when you fall asleep tonight to see if that helps.

Sleep paralysis can be pretty terrifying when you first experience it. The feeling that you can’t move even though you’re perfectly conscious is one of the weirdest and scariest feelings out there. Make sure that you’re aware of what causes sleep paralysis and how you can help mitigate it.

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