Have you ever woken up from deep sleep only to find yourself lying stiff on the bed, unable to move your body? It can feel like you’re paralyzed in place, with an odd, heavy pressure lingering on your chest. If you have witnessed something like that, don’t worry, it’s simply a case of sleep paralysis.
While it may seem like a scary experience, sleep paralysis often fades away on its own. However, those who have to deal with its consequences on a daily basis frequently ask, “How to stop sleep paralysis in the moment?” And if you’re one of the few people who are prone to sleep paralysis, look no further! In this blog, we have discussed some of the simplest methods you can try to wake yourself up in the middle of an episode.
What is Sleep Paralysis?
When you’re about to sleep or wake up, your brain is the first one to alert the body, getting the limbs to move and come alive. However, if your brain wakes up first and you regain consciousness, but your body is still asleep, it can give way to sleep paralysis.
In severe cases, though, sleep paralysis is accompanied by hallucinations, which makes the entire ordeal all the more terrifying. Since your brain is working overtime, trying to get the body to move, it can make you hear or see things that might not necessarily be there.
Moreover, each episode can vary in length. For instance, the shortest interval is of ten seconds, although people have also experienced endless minutes of mental anguish, where the sleep disorder symptoms worsened by the second.
Causes of Sleep Paralysis
There are multiple causes of sleep paralysis. Some of its most common triggers are:
- Lack of proper sleep.
- Drinking alcohol before bed.
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Strong medications with side effects
- Sleeping on your back.
- Depression or anxiety
- Shift work sleep disorder (SWSD)
- Pre-existing sleep disorders such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, etc.
How to Stop Sleep Paralysis in The Moment
The best thing you can do in the midst of a sleep paralysis episode is stay as calm as you can. Try to regulate your breathing and work on moving just one muscle. Whether it’s your fingers or toes, put all your energy into curling them so you can break free of the cycle. Here are some additional tips you can follow to stop sleep paralysis as it is taking place.
- Cast your imagination to a safe space, somewhere you feel comfortable and free.
- If you’re sleeping next to someone, try to ask them for help. But do not make sudden sounds, or it could steal away your breath.
- Twist your tongue in any way you can so it can get your jaw to move.
- Move your facial muscles to get loose by winking, smiling, frowning, etc.
- It may be tempting but do not resist the pressure on your chest. Go with the flow and let your body wake up one muscle at a time.
Ultimately, you can stop sleep paralysis while it is taking place, right at the moment. But for that, you need to stay calm and keep your breathing in check. If you commonly find yourself tied to the effects of sleep paralysis, contact Nirvana Elite Sleep & Wellness at 832-952-1199. You can also visit us at 17146 N Eldridge Pkwy Suite G, Tomball, TX 77377, United States, for an in-person appointment.