Sleep paralysis is a disorder characterized by the inability to move upon falling asleep or waking up. Sleep paralysis occurs as a person is moving in our out of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and is the result of a premature disconnection between the brain and body. While the brain and body normally disconnect during REM sleep, those who suffer from sleep paralysis experience the disconnection as they are about to enter or exit REM instead.
Symptoms of Sleep Paralysis
Symptoms of sleep paralysis include:
- Sensations of noise or smells
- Feelings of levitation
- Inability to move the body
- Feelings of terror
- Images of intruders
Causes of Sleep Paralysis
Sleep paralysis can be caused by any incident that disrupts normal REM patterns, including jet lag, insomnia, inconsistent sleep hygiene, and brain injury.
Treatment of Sleep Paralysis
The best way to banish sleep paralysis is to reestablish normal REM patterns. Going to bed and rising at the same time every day and getting enough sleep will reintroduce a normal brain-body connection.