Sleep Paralysis

Have you ever experienced waking up from being asleep and feeling conscious but completely unable to move or speak.  This may be accompanied by a feeling of sheer terror.  I myself have experienced this and know how disturbing it can feel!  I remembering experiencing it a few times when I was severely sleep deprived after having my first child and my sleep schedule was all over the place.

I thought it would be useful to write about the subject of sleep paralysis as I want to reassure you that although it can be distressing, it is harmless and most people will experience this at some point in their life.

What is Sleep Paralysis

Sleep Paralysis is caused by a disruption in the normal sleep cycle. During sleep, the brain goes through several stages, including rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and non-REM sleep. During REM sleep, the body is normally paralysed to prevent acting out dreams.  However, during sleep paralysis, the person is partially awake and aware while their body is still in this paralysed state.

It can occur usually at one of two times.  If you experience this whist falling asleep, this is called hypnagogic sleep paralysis.  If it happens whilst you are waking up, it is called hypnopompic sleep paralysis.

Factors That Can Be Linked To Sleep Paralysis

Research has indicated that it is not completely clear why we may experience sleep paralysis but it has been linked with the following…
  • Disrupted sleep patterns: Napping in the day for too long, shift work or jet lag.
  • Sleep deprivation: lack of sleep or poor sleep quality can also disrupt the natural sleep cycle and increase the risk of sleep paralysis.
  • Mental health problems such as stress and anxiety.
  • Sleeping on your back.
  • Substance abuse.
  • A family history of sleep paralysis.
  • Other sleep problems such as narcolepsy or sleep apnoea.

What Can You Do  About Sleep Paralysis

Most people do not need to treat sleep paralysis however, there are things you can do to help prevent it such as improving your sleep habits and aiming to get 7-9 hours of sleep a night.  Having a consistent bed time and wake time and engaging in regular exercise can also help.

How Can Hypnotherapy Help With Sleep Paralysis

Hypnotherapy can be helpful in treating sleep paralysis, as it can help address underlying psychological factors that may be contributing to the condition. During hypnotherapy sessions, I can work with you to identify any sources of stress, anxiety, or other emotional issues that may be exacerbating sleep paralysis.

Additionally, hypnotherapy can also be used to help you relax and feel more comfortable before going to bed, which may reduce the likelihood of experiencing sleep paralysis. This can include techniques such as guided relaxation, muscle relaxation, visualisation, and helping to get you into a positive mindset.

Individuals who experience frequent or severe sleep paralysis should speak with a healthcare professional to rule out any underlying medical conditions.

How To Overcome Morning Anxiety

Waking up with a feeling of anxiety can be a frustrating and overwhelming experience, but please do not worry.  You are not alone.  I myself have experienced this in the past and know first hand how it feels!  Morning anxiety is actually very common and it can affect your daily routine and overall quality of life.  I will explore what morning anxiety is, its potential causes, and give you strategies to manage and overcome it.

What is Morning Anxiety?

Morning anxiety is a type of anxiety that occurs in the morning or upon waking up. It is a feeling of tension, worry, or fear that can be mild or severe. It can be accompanied by physical symptoms such as sweating, racing heart, and trembling. Morning anxiety can interfere with a person’s ability to carry out daily tasks and can lead to social, occupational, and academic impairments.

Potential Causes of Morning Anxiety

Biological factors can come into play here.  Did you know that cortisol, a stress hormone is at its highest in the mornings.  It’s job is to motivate you to get out of bed and help you to be more alert and focused.  If however your stress levels are high, your body will be producing higher levels of cortisol and adrenaline which triggers the ‘fight or flight’ response.  Our blood sugar levels are also lower in the mornings which can be a trigger for anxiety sufferers.

Strategies To Manage Morning Anxiety

  • Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, or yoga can help reduce anxiety symptoms.
  • Maintain a Consistent Sleep Routine: Maintaining a consistent sleep routine can help improve the quality of sleep and reduce morning anxiety.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol as this can impact the quality of your sleep.
  • Practice Relaxation Techniques: Relaxation techniques such as progressive muscle relaxation, visualisation,  can help reduce anxiety symptoms.
  • Practice Positive Self-Talk: Engage in positive self-talk and try to reframe negative thoughts into positive ones.
  • Before you go to bed write down 3 good things that have happened that day.  This will help you get into a positive mindset before you drift off to sleep.
  • Make sure you engage in positive activities that make you happy.  This could involve spending time with family and friends, taking up a new hobby, or reading a good book for example.  All these things will give you a lovely boost of serotonin enabling you to feel happier and calmer.

Living with anxiety can feel like an endless cycle of worry. But it doesn’t have to control your life.

If you’re finding that your morning anxiety is becoming unmanageable and negatively impacting your life then the next step would be to seek professional support.

Solution Focused Hypnotherapy can be a valuable treatment option for anxiety. By combining hypnosis with solution-focused brief therapy techniques, it can help individuals to develop practical solutions to their problems and improve their overall well-being.

Contact me to find out more or to book an Initial Consultation where we can discuss how I can help you.