5 Triggers for Experiencing Sleep Paralysis

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5 Triggers for Experiencing Sleep Paralysis

Thanks to professionals and students in the field of sleep and neurology, we now know that there are definite triggers that make us more likely to experience Sleep Paralysis. Here are a few things to avoid in order to lessen your chances.

Sleeping on your back (also called the supine position)

Research shows that there is a definite correlation between sleeping on your back and experiencing SP. Those who sleep on their backs are more likely than those who do not to experience Sleep Paralysis. Although the definite cause is still unknown, there is a clear relationship between the two


Changing your sleep schedule/routine

Sudden or drastic changes to your sleep schedule can be a trigger for Sleep Paralysis. Those who work nights and who nap often during the day tend to have a greater chance of experiencing Sleep Paralysis. Many new parents who suddenly find themselves up all night with a new baby find that they get Sleep Paralysis during naps and what little sleep they can get at night. Those who start a new job in the evenings or very early mornings are also at risk. Those who find themselves in this situation should try and establish as normal of a sleep routine as possible.

Taking certain medications that effect your sleep cycles

Certain medications may contribute to Sleep Paralysis. It’s very important to ask your doctor about the possibility of your medication affecting your sleep cycle if you suspect this is the case. At night, we go through cycles of sleep – REM and NREM sleep. REM sleep issues may be linked to Sleep Paralysis. Sometimes stopping or changing medication can help prevent Sleep Paralysis. There are also certain medications such as SSRI’s or antidepressants that can actually stop or greatly reduce Sleep Paralysis experiences. All of these things should be discussed throughly with your doctor. It’s important to never change or stop a medication without your doctor’s advice.

Sleep Disorders such as Insomnia and Sleep Apnea

Certain sleep disorders can make you more vulnerable to Sleep Paralysis. This is most likely because they can cause a lack of sleep or reduced sleep quality. If you suspect that you may have a sleep disorder, please consult with your doctor. Some red flags include the inability to fall or stay asleep, poor sleep quality and feeling very tired during the day. Which leads us to our next trigger:

Going to bed exhausted or overly tired

Lack of sleep and exhaustion have shown to be possible triggers of Sleep Paralysis. Those who go to bed extremely tired may find themselves more likely than those who do not to experience SP. By practicing healthy sleep habits both in the evening and during the day, you can decrease your chances of experiencing SP. You should also always try and limit a lot of brain stimulation before bedtime. Give yourself at least 30 minutes of quiet time before bed and avoid screens and intense conversation so that you can ease into sleep.

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