What is Sleep Paralysis | Parasomnia?

December 15, 2022

Dr. Jerry Williams of Urgent Care 24/7 discusses a pretty common problem, Sleep paralysis.

If you've ever experienced this, this can be a very, very frightening, very uncomfortable symptom. So this is a parasomnia, which is an abnormality around sleep. Patients typically will experience a sleep paralysis just as they're going to sleep, or as they're waking up. What is happening is they're actually aware that and they're awake, but they can't move.

Typically, patients will describe, exerting every effort possible just to move their finger, just an inch. They feel like if they could just move it just a little bit that would allow them to move the rest of their body and to fully awaken. But they're unable to move there. They're indeed paralyzed, they're awake. They're typically in this sleep wake zone between wakefulness and sleep but they are aware.

Sometimes, these patients will experience hallucinations at this set during this time, which can make the event even more frightening and even more uncomfortable.Fortunately, they're typically short lived, they don't go on for long. Then the patient will either fall back asleep, or more typically will wake up fully and can move. These patients, though, will convey great distress regarding these events.

If you can imagine it, it's a very uncomfortable feeling. People will frequently experience in their dreams and nightmares, this inability to move of being paralyzed, and that something's chasing them or coming at them. It's that kind of symptom, but at the sleep wake state, in there, they're unable to move, but they're actually aware of their surroundings.

So if you or someone you know, describes or has these kinds of symptoms, it's important to do all the things we've talked about in previous videos about sleep hygiene, and getting plenty of rest. If these kinds of parasomnias become too frequent, you need to seek medical care. Go see your primary care provider, and they'll refer you to a sleep specialist who can help you with this kind of parasomnia, or sleep paralysis.

So we hope you found this information useful. Dr. Williams, I look forward to talking to you again soon with one of our medical chats.

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