5 tips to avoid sleep paralysis

You wake up in the middle of the night, you open your eyes, but you can't move. A cold sweat begins to run down your back and you wonder what is happening to you. You feel as if something is on top of you pressing on your chest. Don't worry, nothing weird is happening to you. This is called sleep paralysis and it is possible to avoid it.

The Sleep Institute (IIS) explains that sleep paralysis appears during the REM phase, one of the most important stages in which there is elevated brain activity. Fortunately, this uncomfortable feeling of not being able to move lasts from a few seconds to 3 minutes. But why does it appear?

What is the cause of sleep paralysis?

If you have identified with the sensations discussed above, you should know that sleep paralyzes arise due to different reasons. The IIS mentions that appear more often in shift workers or people who suffer from jet lag. Lack of a regular schedule or proper sleep hygiene can be the first causes.

However, if you are a person who is under a lot of stress, sleep paralysis is expected to appear. Your body is in tension throughout the day, your mind is more active than ever and one of the ways in which the body reacts is by causing this phenomenon. It is clearly not a pleasant thing to do.

Risk factors for sleep paralysis

Risk factors for sleep paralysis will help you understand why you are experiencing these episodes. It will also help you to solve them.

Taking action on these factors will make it easier to prevent paralysis from recurring during rest. These are some that you should keep in mind:

  • Schedule changes: if your shifts change at work.
  • Work at nightSleeping during the day can be tricky.
  • Fatigue: you are not getting enough rest or you are not sleeping well.
  • You suffer from narcolepsyExtreme drowsiness does not make you rest better.
  • You have a psychiatric disorder: bipolarity, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression.

All of these risk factors can make you more prone to sleep paralysis while you sleep. Identifying what is happening to you will help you find a solution, although it will also be useful to carry out some of the tips that you will discover below.

Keep reading: How to face a day without having slept through the night

Tips to avoid these episodes

There are several tips to avoid paralysis while you sleep, however, we have decided to choose only 5 general recommendations that usually come in handy.

Nevertheless, it is always positive that you tell your doctor what is happening to you. Perhaps, there is a specific guideline that we did not mention that may be better for you.

1. Exercise can be helpful

The first of the tips is to exercise. This is a good thing whether you have episodes of sleep paralysis or not.

Exercise tires you out, relaxes you, and helps your body prepare to recover. Therefore, after it is normal that you feel more exhausted and that if you go to sleep you do it earlier than usual.

2. Get enough sleep

The second of the tips is that you have good sleep hygiene. If possible, always go to sleep at the same time. This will make your body, as the days go by, prepare in advance.

Also, forget about sleeping between 7 to 8 hours strictly. What does your body need? It doesn't matter if it's 6 or 9 hours. You must know your body so that you can get enough rest.

3. Reducing stress is a good idea

The third of the tips is to reduce stress. We live in a very hectic society and the current pandemic situation does not help you relax.

Therefore, even though you think you are calm, try to introduce habits, such as exercising. This will relax you, as will meditating.. You will feel better and calm.

4. Be careful with food

The fourth of the tips to avoid sleep paralysis is that you take into account your diet. Do you have a schedule to eat? Do you eat nutritious food?

In supermarkets there are many ultra-processed products that make you feel bloated, cause discomfort and a feeling of fullness that can make it difficult to rest. So try changing your eating habits.

Discover: Sleep well: beyond the night

5. Goodbye to exciting drinks!

The fifth and last of the tips is to avoid exciting drinks. It is better that you take them very occasionally and at special times.

We are not just talking about coffee. Even if you never thought about it, sodas are energy drinks. Avoid them as much as possible.

Sleep paralysis is not just for adults

You already have it? Now that you know what sleep paralysis is and some ways to avoid it, feel free to put everything you learned into practice.

Remember that paralysis is not only suffered by adults. The Spanish Association of Pediatrics (AEPED) clarifies that children and adolescents also suffer from it. Maybe we should worry more about our hygiene when sleeping from now on.