What was once thought to be the work of invisible witches and hags has now been proven to be nothing but a medical condition. In sleep paralysis, the person is just waking up from his/her sleep, i.e., the person is not fully awake nor asleep. At that time, the person is rendered paralyzed or immobilized. The seriousness of this condition is often compounded by the fact that there are also vivid hallucinations that a person sees or feels during these attacks. Mentioned below are the causes, symptoms, and ways to prevent the occurrence of this condition and its accompanying hallucinations.
Causes and Symptoms
☛ There many causes of this condition. Some say that stress may be a causative factor whereas for many, changes in sleep pattern or duration of sleep is what seems to be a trigger. For some, jet lag, anxiety, sleep disorders, etc., may also be the causes.
☛ Hallucinations basically occur due to errors in the neural transmission of the brain during and around REM sleep. These are often accompanied by vivid auditory or visual hallucinations because of the fear that a person feels on being rendered completely immobile and helpless. Sleep apnea and hallucinations are also said to be related just like sleep disorders and hallucinations.
☛ The various symptoms include complete immobility, feeling of levitation, frightening images and sounds, feeling of choking or heavy pressure on the chest, fear and cold sweats, etc. All these symptoms make it a very frightening experience indeed for any individual.
How to Deal with It
☛ Try to ensure that you always sleep in a relaxed position. Also, try not to work yourself towards exhaustion and then plonk yourself on the bed. This severe exhaustion often tends to increase the likelihood of the condition.
☛ Try to ensure that you eat right so that you stay replenished. Avoid drinking caffeine just before going to bed. Also, get your 6 to 8 hours of sleep, because even sleep deprivation can lead to paralysis and hallucinations.
☛ Try to identify the pattern of your sleep paralysis so that you can implement a suitable treatment plan. Check if it occurs at a certain time or place or when you sleep in a certain position. If you can manage to avoid the circumstances associated with this, then you can easily decrease the frequency of these hallucinations.
☛ As difficult as it may be for you to do this, but try to relax whenever you feel an oncoming bout of sleep paralysis. If you get worked up, there are chances you may end up being more affected by it. Hence, calming down greatly helps in reducing the effect of this condition.
☛ Sleep in a quiet and dark room. Ensure that the room is airy so that you don't wake up in the night due to bouts of sleep apnea.
☛ Before going to sleep, try to do some breathing exercises or read something pleasant and funny. Although the claims are unfounded, it is said that these relaxation techniques help to get rid of the anxiety, which may be an inducing factor for such hallucinations.
☛ Even while you are experiencing a sleep paralysis hallucination, inhale deeply and then exhale forcefully. This will help you concentrate on this action and thereby increase your wakefulness.
☛ Whenever you feel an oncoming attack of sleep paralysis, try to stay calm and imagine yourself walking out of the room or basically away from the location of the paralysis.
☛ If you feel that you want to fight this feeling, try to bring about some kind of movement. First try to focus on moving a small part of your body, like your finger or try craning your neck a little. This will help in receding the hallucination.
☛ Always try to convince yourself even while you are awake that these hallucinations are merely a phenomenon and do not signify the presence of real ghosts or demons. Do not even try to convince yourself about the existence of demons, as this will only worsen the situation and make it more difficult to cope with.
On most occasions, people who do experience this say that it does not happen very often and they learn to eventually deal with it in their own way by either identifying a causative factor or identifying any pattern that it may be following. However, for some, this may prove to be a repeatedly frightening experience, which may eventually necessitate medical intervention.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.