Memorial Day Offer

Discover your mystery discount!

Sleep paralysis

Clinical Aspects and Pathophysiology of Sleep Paralysis: – Main symptom is inability to move or speak during awakening. – Imagined sounds like humming, hissing, static, […]

« Back to Glossary Index

Clinical Aspects and Pathophysiology of Sleep Paralysis:
– Main symptom is inability to move or speak during awakening.
– Imagined sounds like humming, hissing, static, zapping, buzzing noises.
– Hallucinations may involve intruding presence, dark figures, suffocation, terror, chest pressure, breathing difficulty.
– Sleep paralysis results from dysfunctional overlap of REM and waking sleep stages.
– Genetic component found in sleep paralysis, with heritability in hypnopompic hallucinations.
– Types of hallucinations include belief of intruder, presence feeling, floating sensation.
– Midbrain hyper-vigilant state may contribute to hallucinations.
– Diagnosis involves clinical interview and ruling out other sleep disorders.

Treatment and Prevention of Sleep Paralysis:
– Education about sleep stages and muscle movement during REM sleep.
– Tricyclic antidepressants or SSRIs may be used in serious cases.
– Risk factors include insomnia, sleep deprivation, erratic sleep schedule, stress, and physical fatigue.
– Genetic component in recurrent isolated sleep paralysis.
– Sleeping in the supine position increases vulnerability to sleep paralysis.
– Lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of isolated or recurrent sleep paralysis.
– No drug found to completely interrupt sleep paralysis episodes.
– GHB and Pimavanserin show promise in treating sleep paralysis.

Epidemiology and Cultural Factors of Sleep Paralysis:
– Sleep paralysis affects males and females equally.
– Lifetime prevalence rates indicate 8% of general population experience sleep paralysis.
– Rates of recurrent sleep paralysis range from 15-45%.
– 20-60% of individuals globally report experiencing sleep paralysis.
– Non-whites experience sleep paralysis at slightly higher rates than whites.
– Cultural beliefs can influence the interpretation and experience of sleep paralysis.
– Egypt shows high rates of sleep paralysis due to elaborate beliefs about it.
– Denmark has lower rates of sleep paralysis due to a lack of supernatural beliefs.

Literature, Folklore, and Global Interpretations:
– In 19th-century Europe, diet was thought to cause sleep paralysis.
– Various forms of magic and spiritual possession were believed to cause sleep paralysis in literature.
– Folklore from different countries offers unique explanations for sleep paralysis.
– Sleep paralysis is known by different names and attributed to various entities worldwide.
– Folklore elements in popular culture and media.
– Cultural interpretations of sleep paralysis can shape individuals’ experiences and fears.
– Nigeria has diverse interpretations of sleep paralysis due to cultural diversity.
– In the United States, sleep paralysis is sometimes linked to alien abduction.

Research, Hallucinations, and Effects of Sleep Paralysis:
– Sleep paralysis core features include atonia, clear sensorium, and hallucinations.
– Fear and cultural beliefs can intensify the experience of sleep paralysis.
– Documentary films like ‘The Nightmare’ explore sleep paralysis causes through interviews and re-enactments.
– Rates and characteristics of sleep paralysis differ between Egypt and Denmark.
– Individuals experiencing sleep paralysis might feel a malevolent presence or pressure on their chest.
– Sleep paralysis linked to sexual abuse and space alien abduction.
– Biocultural interpretation of the old hag phenomenon.

Sleep paralysis (Wikipedia)

Sleep paralysis is a state, during waking up or falling asleep, in which a person is conscious but in a complete state of full-body paralysis. During an episode, the person may hallucinate (hear, feel, or see things that are not there), which often results in fear. Episodes generally last no more than a few minutes. It can recur multiple times or occur as a single episode.

Sleep paralysis
The Nightmare by Swiss artist Henry Fuseli (1781) is thought to be a depiction of sleep paralysis perceived as a demonic visitation.
  • Awareness but an inability to move during waking or falling asleep
  • hallucinations
DurationNo more than a couple of minutes
Risk factors
Diagnostic methodBased on description
Differential diagnosis
DeathsNone; harmless

The condition may occur in those who are otherwise healthy or those with narcolepsy, or it may run in families as a result of specific genetic changes. The condition can be triggered by sleep deprivation, psychological stress, or abnormal sleep cycles. The underlying mechanism is believed to involve a dysfunction in REM sleep. Diagnosis is based on a person's description. Other conditions that can present similarly include narcolepsy, atonic seizure, and hypokalemic periodic paralysis. Treatment options for sleep paralysis have been poorly studied. It is recommended that people be reassured that the condition is common and generally not serious. Other efforts that may be tried include sleep hygiene, cognitive behavioral therapy, and antidepressants.

Between 8% and 50% of people experience sleep paralysis at some point during their life. About 5% of people have regular episodes. Males and females are affected equally. Sleep paralysis has been described throughout history. It is believed to have played a role in the creation of stories about alien abduction and other paranormal events.

« Back to Glossary Index
This site uses cookies to offer you a better browsing experience. By browsing this website, you agree to our use of cookies.