Have you ever felt like you were attacked by a ghost or spirit in your sleep? Or that you saw strange or familiar people walk around your room while you were asleep? We have an explanation to this.
All what you may have experienced is called Sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis is a moment when you are asleep and awake at the same time. It is a state of being conscious but unable to move. During this period, there is inability to move or speak, and usually, you have hallucinations of people attacking you or walking around you. Sleep paralysis is a very common health situation which is ignored by most people.
In Africa and around the world, a lot of people think that they were attacked by demons after facing sleep paralysis at night.
Sleep paralysis is caused by a number of things like lack of sleep, changes in sleep schedule and many more. This health situation may run in families, and usually occur mostly in teens and men and women alike of any age.
Some of the causes of sleep paralysis include;
- Lack of Sleep : lack of sleep is a condition of not having enough sleep. A chronic sleep deprivation state can affect some cognitive functions in the brain.
- Change of sleeping schedule : Sleep paralysis can occur when you change your sleeping time maybe due to a change in your work shift. This will occur because your body is not used to its new resting time, and so is still in the process of getting adapted to the new time.
- Mental conditions such as Stress or Bipolar disorder. Too much stress and overthinking can lead to sleep paralysis. Mental or emotional stress can make you hallucinate in your sleep due to how busy your subconcious is.
Other sleep problems such as narcolepsy or nighttime leg cram, sleeping on your back.
- Narcolepsy : This is a chronic sleep disorder with excess daytime drowsiness. The main cause of this is not yet known, but research shows it may involve generic factors. With this condition, you may have sudden attacks in your sleep, and muscle cramps on the leg.
Other causes of sleep paralysis include Sleeping on your back, Hypertension and anxiety disorders.
Signs and Symptoms of this Condition includes;
- Feeling pressure on your chest
- Feeling as if you are suffocating
- Inability to move or speak
- Having hallucinations of ghosts around you or strange people which causes fear
- Being consciously awake and feeling like you are being strangled by the devil
- Being unable to move or wake when falling asleep or waking up from sleep
- Having muscle cramps or headache in the course of sleep.
- Inability to breath when falling asleep or waking up.
Being unable to move, speak or breath can be a very scary situation as it may make you feel like there are demons surrounding you trying to take your life.
Sleep paralysis usually doesn’t require you seeing a doctor, but if the symptoms persist, it will be good for you to visit a doctor.
Possible home solutions to this condition include;
- Stress Management. Do everything possible to handle any stress in life, and clear your mind before bedtime.
- Maintaining a regular sleeping schedule. Observing good sleeping habits will go a long way and help reduce or completely eradicate sleep paralysis.
- Abstain from evening alcohol or products that contain caffeine.
- Endeavor to do exercise daily, but not before bedtime
- Leave your phones and other accessories out of your bedroom before sleeping. Keeping any electronic devices away from you at least 1 hour before bedtime is an added advantage
- Avoid eating heavy meals before bedtime.
- Relaxing your brain before bedtime with an activity like reading a book or listening to cool music will help eradicate and avoid sleep paralysis
- Evening Meditation or Prayer is a plus.