Everything You Need to Know About Sleep Hallucinations and Sleep Paralysis

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One of the most frustrating parts of everyday life is when you are not able to function at an optimal level due to a lack of sleep. A lack of sleep can be caused by a number of things. This can include, but is not limited to: an uncomfortable bed, chronic pain, allergies, and sleep disorders. We will be discussing the disorders of sleep hallucinations and sleep paralysis. These two disorders are often grouped together, but they have very different symptoms and treatments.

Sleep disorders are problems relating to sleep that prevent you from getting sufficient rest in some way. Sleep disorder can come in many different forms. Common examples of these include insomnia and sleep apnea. These can very detrimental to people, as their quality of life is reduced. More intense sleep disorders can often not be treated on your own, and require the intervention of a specialist. Luckily, both sleep hallucinations and paralysis are considered to be fairly mild disorders. They can usually be cleared up by yourself, if you have the inclination and motivation to do so. Many of these disorders often appear when a person is at least in their teenage years. Therefore, if a young child starts describing symptoms commonly associated with a sleep disorder, it is best to take them to see a doctor right away.

What’s the Difference Between the Two?

Sleep hallucinations are different than sleep paralysis, but they occasionally accompany each other. Sleep hallucinations happen when people are halfway between being awake and asleep. They are not dreams, but can often be mistaken as such. These hallucinations can take on many different forms. Some people see friends or family members that they recognize. Other hallucinations take on a more sinister form. Horror-based hallucinations can be regular memories that are being contorted in an individual’s mind. Sometimes, a person might have trouble breathing due to these hallucinations, and cannot catch their breath back. After going through such a horrific night time experience, it is no wonder why a restful sleep can be difficult to attain.

Sleep hallucinations are not caused by one specific thing; they can be attributed to many different factors. Some of these factors include: narcotics such as drugs and alcohol, anxiety, high stress levels, and disorders such as narcolepsy. The most common sufferers of sleep hallucinations tend to be teenagers and young adults. The frequency tends to decrease as people get older. It is important to take notice of when these hallucinations start. If they only begin after starting a new medication or something similar to that, it is recommended that you talk to your doctor as soon as possible. If medications are causing these mental terrors, you will likely need to switch onto something else, or alter some other part of your lifestyle.

Oftentimes, sleep hallucinations will only happen once in awhile and are nothing to worry about. They can be scary and annoying, but will not cause you any lasting negative effects. If they persist, or cause you to lose significant amounts of sleep, you may need to consult an expert. A sleep specialist will be able to work with you to improve your quality of life. You may need to check into a sleep clinic so that you can be evaluated and then treatment can be decided on. Usually, medication is not prescribed for treating sleep hallucinations. It is more likely that the specialist will try to get you on a regular sleep cycle, and will try to reduce your anxiety levels. This will help relax your mind before you drift off to sleep, and you will not be stuck in the limbo in between your conscious and unconscious mind.

Some people avoid checking into sleep clinics or talking to a doctor about what they are experiencing because they feel more anxious about the thought of someone watching them sleep. If you want to treat your sleep hallucinations by yourself at home, there are a few methods that you could try:

• Relaxation techniques

The key to calming your mind lies within relaxing your physical body as well. If you have not tried meditation to reduce your stress levels, now might be a good time to start! Yoga is a popular form of meditation that many people have attributed to improving their physical and mental health. By focusing the mind and breathing, you can slowly start to get your body used to stretching and posing. Doing yoga approximately an hour before you go to bed can result in a feeling of peace and tranquility, which will hopefully last with you throughout the whole night.

• Exercise

Millions of people around the world engage in voluntary physical exercise, either for fun or in an effort to maintain or improve their fitness levels. Exercise has a fairly fluid definition, and it can consist of whatever physical activity that you want to perform. Exercise has a lot of benefits, one of which includes helping you achieve a more restful sleep! If you try exercising for half an hour or so a few hours before you go to bed, you will physically feel more tired, yet fulfilled. By tiring your body out, you will likely fall asleep faster, and sleep deeper than you would have before. Try to avoid exercising right before bed, as this may actually have the opposite effect than the one you were aiming for. You will have too much adrenaline in your system, and it will difficult fo you to go to sleep right away. However, exercising during the evening is a good way to maintain your fitness, as well as tire you out for the night time. This may prevent sleep hallucinations, as you have less time to be awake before you go to sleep.

• Try to get enough sleep

Even though our everyday life can be very busy, it is very important to get a proper amount of sleep. It is true that this is much easier said than done, however the effort should be attempted. If you are a young adult experiencing sleep hallucinations, you should take a step back and reevaluate your lifestyle. Are you getting 7-9 hours of sleep every night? If not, that might be a good place to start. Cut back on your screen time after you are in bed, and try to get to sleep earlier. By making it a routine, it will be easier for you to get accustomed to. This can also include trying to wake up around the same time every morning. A good rule of thumb (although sometimes hard to follow!) is if you go to bed at 10pm and wake up at 6am. If you are waking up just when the sun rises, you will have a nice refreshed feeling as you prepare to face the day ahead of you. If you are working night shift, or do not have a regular work schedule, this step can be a little more challenging for you. The trick is to find the routine that works best for you and for your unique situation. By monitoring yourself, you should be able to set a fairly regular sleep pattern for yourself, and hopefully the sleep hallucinations will start to disappear.

As awful as sleep hallucinations are, it is crucial to remember that nothing you are seeing is actually real. Even though it may feel as though whatever is going on in your head is actually happening, staying grounded will help keep you calm. Bring yourself back to reality by forcing the hallucinations out of your mind. Keep reminding yourself that they are just a temporary nuisance, and you will be able to return to reality soon.

Paralysis

The second topic of discussion is related to sleep paralysis. Sleep paralysis can occur right before a person falls asleep, or right after they wake up. It is a sensation of not being able to move your body or speak out loud. In some cases, people have even felt as though they were being forced down, or choked. This feeling of paralysis typically occurs when your body is relaxed and you are not aware that it is happening at all. However, a person will occasionally still be aware of themselves and their bodies as they are falling asleep or waking up. This is when the feeling of paralysis will come in. It is a scary feeling, and people understandably get upset when it happens to them.

How it Works

Sleep paralysis is often associated with a feeling of dreadfulness and horror. It is a common theme in many horror films, where the character cannot get out of bed to save themselves. However, this condition actually appears much more frequently than we think. It is estimated that 40% of people in the world experience sleep paralysis on a regular basis. It can be a scary feeling, and most people who experience it start noticing it during their teen years, or a little afterwards, when they become young adults.

The reason that the majority of people start to notice symptoms in their teenage or early adult years is because they are being faced with scenarios they have not experienced so far in life. For example, a teenager may have begun to experiment with alcohol for the first time. This would normally not be a problem when kids start to do that, but it may trigger sleep disorders in some people. Also, teenagers and young adults are also starting to experience more stress from school and from everyday life. Many people who suffer from sleep paralysis are actually students who are very stressed or who are not getting enough sleep. This can add to their stress levels, which are already high from the amount of school work and poss

Genetics

If you have a family history of sleep disorders, it is more likely that you will suffer from sleep paralysis, as it tends to get passed down through the generations. If you are worried about why you are experiencing symptoms of sleep paralysis, you might want to speak to your parents and find out what they know about it. It is possible that both or one of them may have also suffered from the disorder when they were younger, or still experience it. They might have some advice that can help alleviate your discomfort. As well, if there is family history of conditions such as bipolar disorder or obesity, you may be at risk of later developing these, and in turn, sleep disorders. If you find any information out about potential health risks, you could try speaking to your doctor on any preventative measures you could take.

Triggers

A person might experience sleep paralysis all their lives, or the condition might be triggered by something else that is happening in the body. According to research, this type of paralysis can be caused by: a disrupted sleep cycle, sleeping on your back, stress, depression, bipolar disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, medications or narcotics. Any one of these factors can bring about or escalate the effect of sleep paralysis. If you are looking to completely eliminate sleep paralysis from your life, it will start by identifying which, if any, factors are causing it to appear in the first place. This can be a very long process, so it is important not to give up if it looks like things are not progressing at the pace you would like them to be.

The treatment for sleep paralysis is similar to that of sleep hallucinations. There are a few key lifestyle changes that will apply to both conditions.

• Get enough sleep

Just like the treatment for sleep hallucinations, it is very important that your body is getting enough rest on a daily basis. If you have to go without enough sleep once in awhile, it should not be a huge deal. However, if this becomes a regular habit, your body and mind will start to suffer. Then when you are in a vulnerable position, such as right before or after sleep, you could suffer from sleep paralysis.

• Anti-depression medication

If you are suffering from depression, this condition is commonly associated with sleep paralysis. Depression can be identified if you notice yourself often feeling unmotivated and not even wanting to get out of bed every day. If you leave your depression untreated, it can stem into other problems, such as sleep paralysis. Anti-depression medication may be helpful for you, as it is often used to regulate a person’s sleep cycle. This medication is not guaranteed to suddenly ‘fix’ you, but it may be able to help your mind relax. Always speak to a doctor if you are considering starting any new medication.

• Treat any other conditions you have

If you are aware of something else that is going on with your body, for example narcolepsy or bipolar disorder, you should not be leaving these untreated. Unbeknownst to you, these conditions may be somehow causing your sleep paralysis. It might not be a bad idea to seek a doctor’s opinion, and go in for a full examination and mental exam. Getting to the root of the problem is the first step for you to solve this problem. Hopefully with enough treatment and attention, you will stop experiencing sleep paralysis on a regular basis.

Ghost Stories

Both sleep paralysis and hallucinations are frequently linked in connection with ghost stories. In the past, there are records of people saying that they were frozen in bed while a departed spirit crossed the room. Nowadays, it is usually safe to say that these people were suffering from some form of sleep disorder. Even in modern times, people associated the paranormal with sleep paralysis. If someone is prevented from moving, they become convinced that a ghost is preying upon them. This can cause people to go to extreme measures to save themselves from the ‘ghost’. This can include hiring people to perform exorcisms and similar preventative measures. However, although these ‘ghost hunters’ may bring peace of mind, they do not solve the problem at hand, which is sleep paralysis.

A common theme that pops up again and again when discussing sleep disorders is related to the concept of getting enough sleep at night. Why is this so important? Surely going a few days or weeks without enough sleep won’t negatively affect you that much? Wrong! A fact to demonstrate the importance of sleep is that if you are awake for 16 hours straight in one day, your performance will decrease to the same level as if you had a blood alcohol level of 0.5%. Remembering that the legal alcohol limit is 0.8%, this is a significant impairment on your body. When you are less focused from a lack of sleep, many misfortunes can result. For example, you are less likely to do well at your job, and you are more likely to get into a car accident.

Solutions

So now that you know the problem, it is time to talk about how to solve the issue of insufficient sleep. Trying to make sure that you and your family are getting enough sleep is a daunting task, because there are so many factors to take into consideration. One method that you can try is limiting electronic devices in the bedroom. In these modern times, most of us are accustomed to watching videos on our TV or laptop in our bedrooms, and then scrolling through our phones until we fall asleep. This is not a healthy way of putting yourself to sleep, as the glare from the screens actually produces the opposite effect; they keep you awake longer. It also provides further distractions, which will motivate you to stay awake just a little longer until you find out what happens next. A solution to this issue would be to ban screen time after a certain time of day. Keep your phone charged in the living room instead of the bedroom. You can then buy a regular alarm clock, instead of using your phone for that.

A Better Bed

Another way that you can improve your sleep cycle is by getting the perfect mattress. Cheap mattresses are usually uncomfortable and cause people to wake up throughout the night. This will not be what you need if you are trying to cure your sleep disorders. If you suffer from chronic pain, it is likely that you are already getting insufficient rest every night. Whenever you toss in bed, it is another jab of pain that prevents you from getting back to sleep. Memory foam mattresses may be a good alternative for this problem, as they are designed to provide both support and cushioning comfort. Another reason for looking into a new mattress is to keep annoying allergens at bay. If you have an old mattress for a long period of time, it can start to accumulate dust and pet dander and other things like that. These can be negatively affecting you without you even realizing it. You will likely be waking up throughout the night due to coughing, sneezing or scratching. By looking into other options for yourself, you may be able to get some better rest. As a result, your sleep disorders could start to disappear!

To Conclude

Sleep hallucinations and sleep paralysis are disorders that affect the body and mind when you are at a weak physical and mental state. They can affect you in different ways, and with varied intensity. Some people suffer from both of these disorders frequently, while others only experience one once in a while. There is no singular ‘cure’ for sleep disorders such as these, however treatments can be attempted that may alleviate the problem. You do not need to hide your problem away and suffer in silence! Reach out and ask for help before these sleep issues start affecting your everyday life. It may be that these disorders are masking something worse that is lying beneath the surface. You can take action and stay on top of your own health by finding out everything that you can before anything bad happens.