Has it ever happened to you; you are sleeping, you suddenly wake up, are trying to move but fail to do so. You feel that something is holding you back. Something is preventing you from moving altogether. This condition is known as sleep paralysis. A condition where your mind is awake but the body is asleep, where you try to move but a strange force holds you back from moving any part of your body. Scary, isn't it? Factually, sleep paralysis is a condition wherein your body is unable to move smoothly through the stages of sleep. But is this condition fatal? Let's find out.
Director and Head of the Department of Neurology, Dr Praveen Gupta explains this condition. He says, "Sleep paralysis is where people wake up from sleep sometimes and find their body paralyzed. They are not able to move their body. This is commonly seen in a condition known as narcolepsy."
"When a person sleeps, the brain paralyzes the body and puts the body and mind to sleep. But there are conditions when your mind wakes up but the body is still asleep. So when the mind wakes up before the body, the person is awake but the body is still paralyzed. This is sleep paralysis. In most people, the condition improves on its own in a few seconds or minutes. It can happen to anyone, but people who are affected with narcolepsy are more prone to it."
Dr Gupta says that Narcolepsy is one of the most common causes of sleep paralysis. He says, "Narcolepsy is a condition where body is ridden of sleep. It is a condition of excess sleepiness throughout the day. It is a very important cause of over sleepiness. People dealing with this condition tend to sleep for too long and still feel sleep deprived during the day. These people have an internal compulsion to sleep which is why they fail to pay attention to their studies and work, which in no way is good for them. People suffering from this do not realize that it is a disorder and can be treated. Medications which improve sleep patterns can treat this condition. Narcolepsy is the most common cause of sleep paralysis."
Dr Gupta says that sleep paralysis is frightening but it is not fatal. But if it continues to disrupt your life for too long, you can get it treat with medication.
He says, "Sleep paralysis is not a disorder or a disease where the body will not come back to its normal state. It is a condition which takes place due to imbalanced sleep patterns. However, it is quite frightening for the sufferer."
"The person who wakes up but finds the body paralyzed, this condition can be quite frightening. It typically happens because the body pulls itself back even when the brain is trying to move it or pull it forth. Sleep paralysis happens due to this difference of balance between the body and the mind," Dr Gupta added.
(Dr Praveen Gupta is the Director and Head of the Department of Neurology at Fortis Hospital)