Sleep Paralysis – 7.6% of Australians

Definition: Inability to move or speak temporarily upon waking up.

During REM (the sleep stage when you dream), your body is temporarily paralyzed; you don’t move or speak. For some people, transitioning through the sleep cycle is not as smooth as it should be, and they wake up in between stages of wakefulness. This can be pretty scary because you may think that you are fully awake—some can see frightening hallucinations while they are still somewhat asleep.

 Although it might not necessarily be harmful, it can make nights problematic. Anxiety might form around sleeping for fear of having another episode, and if it happens in the middle of the night, your rest can be interrupted.

 Those that have recurring episodes often have it in their family history, but stress, lack of sleep, medications, substance abuse, and even being a back sleeper can cause sleep paralysis. Generally, those with bad sleep habits tend to experience it.

 Talk to our Sleep Physician about treatment methods; they might suggest medication to help regulate sleep, treating possible mental health issues, or changing up your bedtime routine.