Generally, it is thought that sleep paralysis is a case of the demonic presence or alien abduction. Contrary to a popular belief, it a medical condition related to neurology and sleep pattern. In this condition, the skeletal muscles of the body become temporarily paralyzed. It usually occurs before a person is about to wake up or is about to fall into a sound sleep.
Sleep paralysis is defined by a temporary immobilization of the body. Although the person is unable to move, they can detect anything in their surroundings. Most people who go through a sleep paralysis report visions of aliens and demons in their bedroom. It is a terrifying experience and most people feel disturbed due to it.
Many factors trigger sleep paralysis. This includes disturbed sleeping patterns or deprivation of adequate sleep. It can also occur in conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Even though scientists are aware of this condition for a long time, there is no definite treatment of sleep paralysis available yet. Also, the researchers have not yet conducted any clinical trials regarding this condition.
A research team recently reported their study on sleep paralysis in Frontiers of Neurology.
The study involves 10 narcolepsy patients. All of these patients experience sleep paralysis now and then. The researchers used meditation and relaxation therapy to treat those patients.
Dr. Baland Jalal is from the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Cambridge. He developed this therapy used in this study. The therapy involves four steps that patients need to follow when they experience sleep paralysis.
The first step is to remind yourself that the things they are experiencing are a part of a dream. This is probably a hallucination and it occurs commonly among people.
The other step is to reassure themselves that they do not need to be scared during this episode. Worrying and being afraid can intensify the episode and possibly worsen the situation.
The person who suffers from an episode needs to remind themselves of a person they love or think about God. They can recite a poem to themselves or remember a friend or a loved one during that time. This helps during the experience and the person starts to feel relaxed.
The final step is to relax and do not tense the muscles. Relaxation can help the episode pass away quickly. Also, it is essential to avoid trying to move or control the breathing pattern.
The participants kept a record of their sleep paralysis for 4 weeks. They got their treatment for about 8 weeks depending upon their experience. The number of sleep paralysis occurrences dropped by 50% during the last month of relaxation therapy. Also, the total number of sleep paralysis episodes dropped by 54%.
Dr. Jalal mentioned that the study only involved a few participants. However, the findings of this study are optimistic and showed positive results. He also said that this treatment of sleep paralysis was effective as the episodes of the patients significantly reduced. This treatment also made the experience easier for the patients and not as terrifying.
The relaxation and meditation therapy can help several patients who suffer from such episodes frequently. Patients of such condition can get treatment of sleep paralysis through online sessions and help the patients to mitigate their situation.