In our previous article, we have discussed the basics of sleep paralysis. We talked about what it is, what causes sleep paralysis, the symptoms of it and how to try to prevent it from happening. Today, we will have a deeper discussion of the common sleep paralysis symptoms, including the common hallucination patterns that often occur.
Sleep paralysis is often misunderstood as a frightening phenomenon and is commonly associated with demonic possession, alien abduction, and other myths. By understanding sleep paralysis symptoms better, we can help qualm some of the fears people have. Instead, we can prevent or treat it with better care.
Before we begin discussing the sleep paralysis symptoms, we’ve got a few interesting facts for you regarding sleep paralysis. You might learn a few things!
Fun Facts on Sleeping Paralysis
- It’s not harmful or dangerous to you physically.
- Sleep paralysis can be prevented.
- This is actually a very common problem. Up to 40% of the global population experience sleeping paralysis at least once.
- Sleep paralysis occurs more often for back sleepers.
- Sleep paralysis often occurs during adolescence and teenage years.
- Recurrent and frequent sleep paralysis episodes are often a sign of narcolepsy.
- Common causes include stress, sleep deprivation, and jet lag. It’s also often associated with panic disorders.
- Hallucinations are a common symptom.
Common Sleep Paralysis Symptoms
There are several standard signs and symptoms of sleep paralysis. However, they are not limited to this list. There can be many more symptoms and they vary a lot between different people.
- Inability to move or speak: This can happen as you are drifting off to sleep or as you’re trying to wake up.
- The inability to move or speak can last for several minutes, though most people only experience this for a few seconds.
- Feeling pressure on your chest. You may feel like this pressure is extremely strong or just barely noticeable.
- The inability to differentiate between reality and the dream state.
- Feeling as if you are on the verge of a terrible experience or even death.
- Sweating, muscle pains, headaches, and paranoia.
- Experiencing hallucinations, which are often extremely intense and frightening.
Understanding Hallucinations in Sleep Paralysis
The frightening associations of sleeping paralysis with demonic possession, scary myths, and even alien abductions are mainly caused by the hallucinations that occur with it. There are many factors that can cause the hallucinations of sleep paralysis. However, they mainly boil down to two main factors:
- Sleeping paralysis happens when we fail to undergo a smooth transition from wakefulness to deep sleep or vice-versa. The obvious symptom is how we lose control of our muscles. However, our mind also loses control and can cause a mixture of the dreaming state and reality.
- The fact that we are unable to move our muscles and to speak can cause severe paranoia. Pair that with the fact that we are not yet fully conscious, and the product is the hallucination.
Hallucinations that people experience can range from mild to very severe. They can be very scary and lead to trauma. However, they are not dangerous physically. Here are some of the most common hallucinations that people with sleep paralysis experience:
- Seeing shifting images, colors, or shapes resembling psychedelic hallucinations.
- Vibrations in parts of your body. This can be isolated in one part of your body or move all over.
- Seeing shadows or fully-formed entities, including feeling the presence of someone or something else.
- Hearing sounds. This can vary from very mild whispering or talking, to hearing loud crashes or bangs.
- Imagining a door opening, falling down from the bed, windows breaking, etc.
- Increased heart rate from mild to very fast
- Some might experience intense euphoria
Treating Sleep Paralysis Symptoms
While you can’t directly treat sleeping paralysis, you can treat the underlying problems that cause it, effectively preventing it from happening.
Sleep paralysis occurs because of unmanaged stress and irregular sleep patterns. A good stress management and maintaining regular sleep schedule will most likely prevent sleep paralysis symptoms from happening.
Here are some ideas to easily get a better sleep and reduce your stress levels:
- Improve your sleep environment. Use a proper mattress and comfortable pillows.
- Do not eat heavy meals 2 hours before bed
- Take a break from your evening caffeine and alcohol intake
- Avoid blue lights from smartphone or TV screen before bedtime. You can also use very affordable digital glasses to filter the blue light.
- Exercise regularly
- Meditation, yoga, and bedtime ritual like listening to music will help you get a better sleep and reduce stress
- Try natural sleep remedies if you have trouble sleeping