Can You Die From Sleep Paralysis? The Surprising Truth Revealed!
Sleep is one of the most crucial things one needs for you to stay healthy and energized. Unfortunately, there are times people will experience sleeping disorders or a few nightmares, with sleep paralysis falling under the odd sleeping occurrences people suffer from. There are many things to learn about sleep paralysis, with individuals who have experienced it fearing for their lives because of the terrifying things that occur while it happens. But one thing people might be wondering about is: "Can you die from sleep paralysis?"
It may seem a bit scary thinking about it, which is why we tackle about what you need to know about this disorder and if it should be something to worry about.
What Is Sleep Paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is the inability to move or speak while you are sleeping. It's a temporary feeling as if you were paralyzed and cannot wake up. This happens while you try to wake up or fall asleep. A sense of paralysis only happens for a few seconds to minutes.
There are millions of people around the world who experience sleep paralysis. Some people experience it a few times in a month, while some have it regularly. Others would have sleep paralysis once or twice in their lifetime.
Sleep paralysis would affect anyone of all ages, from children to seniors. But it would mostly occur in teenagers and young adults.
The primary symptom of sleep paralysis would be the inability to wake up from your sleep. You are aware of your surroundings, but you can't move or talk. It happens mostly when you are about to wake up but can sometimes happen right before you sleep.
Some other symptoms include difficulty in breathing, inability to open or move their eyes, as well as hallucinations that someone is in the room or the feeling of being terrified. After the sleep paralysis is over and you can move frequently, it may be unsettling to go back to sleep.
There are different reasons as to why people have sleep paralysis. It may be due to lack of sleep or irregular sleeping patterns. It might also be genetic or from sleeping on your back. Another reason would be narcolepsy, which is a sleeping condition that causes someone to fall asleep anytime. Sometimes, it just happens with no warning!
Types of Sleep Paralysis
But how does sleep paralysis even happen? There are two types of sleep paralysis:
- Hypnagogic Sleep Paralysis
- Hypnopompic Sleep Paralysis
It occurs while you fall asleep, though you are less aware of the paralysis happening since you are about to sleep. Although if you are still aware and awake, you may find yourself not being able to move or speak before sleeping.
It occurs before you wake up, with your body alternating between rapid eye movement and non-rapid eye movement sleep. You may have become aware and awake while the REM cycle occurs, which is why you are unable to speak or move while your body is relaxed.
Can You Die From Sleep Paralysis?
Now that you know what sleep paralysis is, the question is: Can you die from it? This is a very touchy subject that people are scared about, especially if they experience sleep paralysis regularly.
Only a Temporary Feeling
Fortunately, it's a huge NO! Sleep paralysis does NOT cause death. While the experience is terrifying, it isn't something you should worry about. Again, sleep paralysis is only a temporary feeling that lasts for a few minutes at the most.
What You CAN Die From
BUT with that being said, there IS a chance that sleep paralysis can be an indirect factor in the death. But that is another thing. Some people have experienced sudden death syndrome, which is called "bangungot" in the Philippines. It isn't caused by sleep paralysis though, but some individuals who have escaped death have experienced the similar symptoms of it.
That can be explained. The sudden death from sleep is caused by asphyxiation, which is caused by sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or insomnia. It can also be due to underlying conditions such as pancreatitis or heart failure.
Nothing to Worry About
Enough about that, though. One thing is for sure: You won't need to worry about the fear of death. Though you may experience hallucinations and it's a bit unsettling to sleep right after, that doesn't mean you won't be able to continue your sleep. Shake it off and don't let it get to you.
How Is Sleep Paralysis Treated?
Sleep paralysis is a sign that you aren't moving through the stages of sleep smoothly and it is RARELY something links to psychiatric problems. While people have created stories about it, there is nothing to worry about, and you just need to see a doctor if it occurs regularly and starts affecting your sleep.
Your doctor will diagnose you with sleep paralysis by asking about your symptoms and health history, as well as your family's history with sleep disorders. They will then refer you to sleep specialists if further evaluation or studies are needed.
Calming Yourself Down
Unfortunately, there is no exact treatment, or medical doctors can prescribe. If you do have an attack of the sleep paralysis, there is nothing much you can do but to learn how to calm yourself right after it happens and ensure that you are fully awake and aware of your surroundings. If it is still early morning, it's best to follow breathing exercises and to go back to sleep.
Focusing on Body Movement
Realize that while sleep paralysis is scary, it is NOT dangerous or harmful. When you are experiencing sleep paralysis, focus more on body movement, trying to move small areas of your body (your toes, tongue, or fingers). Then move on to focusing on moving the rest of your body. Focus on your breathing and think of happy thoughts and movement.
Keep a Sleep Journal
It's also best to keep a log of your sleep paralysis moments, especially if it occurs regularly. That way, you know when it occurs and may find a reason why it happens. It will also help when going to a doctor, as you have all the information they need.
Tips on Avoiding Sleep Paralysis
Now that you're familiar with everything you need to know about sleep paralysis, I'm sure you wouldn't want it to happen to you! To help you out, here are some tips to follow:
- Create a Sleeping Schedule
- No Light or Phones
- Get Softer Pillows or mattresses
Create a good sleeping schedule. That way, you will avoid sleep-wake fluctuations that increase the risk of you waking up during REM sleep. Go to bed at the same time every night while waking up at the same time each morning. Always get the same amount of sleep every day, which is about eight hours on average. A sleep regimen won't only prevent sleep paralysis, but you'll be healthier as well.
Enhance your sleep quality and avoid any disruptions by switching your phone off and creating a healthy environment for sleeping.
Take note that while these are useful tips to help improve your sleep, they aren't exactly surefire ways to prevent sleep paralysis from ever happening. If it does happen, refer to the previous section and always remember to stay mindful of you and your surroundings
Sleep paralysis is not something to joke about. While it may be a terrifying experience for some, it is fortunately treatable through various means. By knowing about sleep paralysis and how to deal with it, you won't need to worry about being in danger from this type of sleep disorder.
I hope that this article answers your question: "Can you die from sleep paralysis?" Now that you are well informed of what sleep paralysis is and how you can treat it try following these tips if you suffer from it today.
If you have any questions or would like to share your experience with sleep paralysis, then comment down below. I would love to hear what you have to think.