What is sleep paralysis? What causes sleep paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is known as a condition that many people experience at least once. Sleep paralysis, which negatively affects the daily life of people, is also known as nightmare among the people. But what are the main causes of sleep paralysis, which are problems such as insomnia, changes in sleep patterns, anxiety, and hereditary problems? What are the symptoms? What causes sleep paralysis?


Sleep paralysis is physiologically related to normal paralysis that occurs during REM sleep, also known as REM atonia. Sleep paralysis occurs when the body paralysis continues even though the brain passes from the REM state to a fully awake state. This situation causes the person to be unable to move although his consciousness is completely open. In addition, there may be hypnopompic delusions with this condition.

During REM sleep, the body is in deep sleep and dreams are seen in the mind. In order to keep our body immobile during dreams, the brain prevents us from controlling our muscles. If we awaken before the end of the cycle during REM sleep, consciousness is opened, but the body is still not under our control, so the body cannot move even though we have just awakened.

What are the symptoms of sleep paralysis?

The main symptom of sleep paralysis is the partial or temporary skeletal muscle paralysis seen before waking up or before sleeping. In other words, it is the feeling that a person is unable to move or speak while falling asleep or waking up. Hypnopompic delusions may occur with sleep paralysis. These hallucinations can be auditory, tactile, and / or visual. Sleep paralysis can last a few seconds or a few minutes before the person returns to REM sleep or is fully awakened.

Sleep paralysis is usually experienced for the first time between the ages of 14-17. 40 percent of the world’s population has sleep paralysis.


Stress-free sleep is one of the most important ways to prevent sleep paralysis. Unknown drugs and sleep disorders are among the factors that trigger sleep paralysis. Sleeping on your side may be a solution to prevent sleep paralysis. If you can focus on a single point in your body and move yourself, sleep paralysis will end.

Source: Cumhuriyet Gazetesi – Güncel by www.cumhuriyet.com.tr.

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