Is sleep paralysis a dream?

Sleep paralysis is a temporary condition in which an individual is not able to move or speak. It generally happens for a short time span of 1-2 minutes just after sleeping or waking up. During sleep paralysis, the voluntary muscles of the body become paralyzed. Thus, as an individual wakes up, he or she is unable to move or say anything, which is frightening at times. According to a study by the University of Pennsylvania, on an average, 8% of the general population experiences sleep paralysis. Here, in this article, we will learn what sleep paralysis is, what it causes, signs and symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

What is sleep paralysis?

As the name suggests, sleep paralysis is the condition when muscles are unable to respond to brain commands, and sleep paralysis stands for the inability to move voluntary muscles for a short period just after waking up or getting into bed. Sleep paralysis is a type of abnormality of the muscles that mainly happens when you are in deep sleep. Sleep paralysis if a real frightening condition which could a person in trauma for a few minutes but it is not  a dream.
Many people face this problem, but they don't know that they have sleep paralysis. Though it is not a serious disorder itself, we should take it seriously because it directly connects to our lives. Sleep plays a crucial role for everyone, as it accounts for one-third of life.

Causes of sleep paralysis

There are various causes of sleep paralysis. Some of the main causes are:

1.    Narcolepsy

Narcolepsy is known as excessive sleep in the daytime. Simply put, it does not affect anything, but excessive sleep in the daytime confuses the brain about the sleep cycle and leads to the sleep paralysis phase.

2.    Irregular sleep pattern

An irregular sleep pattern means the time of sleep is not fixed, and when the brain cannot handle such a pattern, the body goes into a state of sleep paralysis.

3.    A family history of sleep paralysis

It is not a genetic disease. Still, if you have a family history of sleep paralysis, you might be more likely to be affected by this.
Furthermore, sleep paralysis may indicate the presence of other health problems such as:
•   Obstructive sleep apnea
•    Anxiety disorder
•    Migraine
•    Depression

Signs of sleep paralysis

Sleep paralysis mainly occurs when you are in deep sleep, and there are very few signs that you can feel like
•    Sweating
•    Headache and muscle pain
•    Chest pain
•    Breathing problems
•    Awake but not able to move or speak.

Sleep Paralysis Diagnosis

A lot of people face sleep paralysis in their lives once or twice. However, if there are recurrent episodes of sleep paralysis, one must consult a doctor and have the diagnosis confirmed for better treatment and management. Sleep paralysis diagnosis is a very simple process and is very easy. To begin, a doctor takes a medical and family history to rule out the possibility of sleep disorders and may recommend a sleep study to conform. Once the sleep study reports are corroborated with other medical reports, the doctor concludes the presence or absence of sleep paralysis.

Sleep paralysis treatment

There is no specific treatment for this disorder, but it can be prevented by maintaining a healthy sleep schedule and sleep cycle as well as incorporating some lifestyle changes. Stress and changing sleep patterns may significantly affect health and sleep paralysis. Thus, working on the underlying cause is the ultimate treatment for sleep paralysis.
The best sleep paralysis treatment is-
•    Do exercise daily for around one or two hours.
•    Sleep on time.
•    Maintaining a healthy diet
•    Maintain a dark background when sleeping.
•    Reduce light exposure while sleeping.
•    Reduce your daytime sleeping.
•    Do not eat a heavy meal before sleeping.
•    Make a mental note to keep alcohol at a safe distance.


With fast-paced life, technological developments, and busy lives, the time to sit, relax, and have a sound sleep is decreasing. And when one ignores physical and mental health, disorders like sleep paralysis may appear. Though it is not a serious disorder which could affect the quality of life, it signifies the presence of other serious underlying issues at times. It is necessary to get a diagnosis and a management plan as soon as possible for better outcomes.

Note: The article is meant for general awareness of the readers. The information can’t be used as a substitute to a medical prescription or diagnosis by a medical professional. In case you experience above or related symptoms, kindly consult a registered medical professional.

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