Approximately 7.6% of the population suffers from sleep paralysis. For those who have never experienced it, sleep paralysis is when you wake up but you find yourself unable to move, speak or do anything. You are essentially paralyzed in your bed.
This can be terrifying but it is usually harmless. In the past, sleep paralysis was thought to have been caused by demons: of course, now we know that there is an actual scientific reason for it.
The reason that sleep paralysis happens is that the body and mobilizes itself during REM sleep. REM stands for rapid eye movement, and it is the time during sleep when you have dreams. But someone having a dream may end up hurting themselves because of it, so the body’s defense mechanism is to turn off all of the muscles during REM sleep.
Those with sleep paralysis can sometimes wake up while the brain is still in REM sleep mode and the body is immobilized. This means that they are unable to move until the brain recognizes they are awake and turns access to the muscles back on. This usually only lasts a few minutes or seconds, but it can last an hour or more. Let’s look at ten causes of this phenomenon.
1. Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is one of the most common causes of sleep paralysis. When you mess with your normal sleep cycle by not sleeping on schedule, your body and brain may not be able to adjust quickly enough, and this can lead to sleep paralysis. The longer that you have gone without sleep, the higher the chances of you experiencing sleep paralysis. Once you get back on your regular sleep schedule, then you should stop experiencing sleep paralysis symptoms. Sometimes, you don’t even need to be deprived of sleep to feel the effects. This is the case with sleep paralysis caused by jet lag.