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Sleep Paralysis: Causes and Consequences

Physical and mental health depends not only on genetic data and environmental conditions but also on how well the physiological processes in a person, which are of existential importance, take place. High-quality and sufficient sleep is an important physiological process that ensures that a person has the necessary strength to maintain his life. Sleep problems and disorders, such as sleep paralysis, can reduce the quality of human sleep, resulting in physical and mental consequences. While sleep paralysis is associated with various medical, psychiatric, and psychological problems, studies have shown that people who have experienced it also emphasize positive experiences.

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Sleep is an occurring mental and physical condition described by altered awareness, substantially suppressed perceptual activity, and diminished muscular activity. Furthermore, it is depicted by suppressing practically all muscle fibers during rapid eye movement sleep and limited environmental connections. It differs from alertness in that it has a reduced capacity to respond to events, but it is more reactive than a comatose or other forms of awareness, with sleep revealing diverse, active brain structures. The dream is a popular characteristic of sleeping, a phenomenon frequently recounted in a story that mirrors waking reality but can generally be separated later as imagination. Individuals’ general function is influenced by sleep, and sleep deprivation has been identified as a serious health concern (Magalhães et al., 2021). One cause of sleep deprivation is bedtime procrastination, which is defined as delaying going to bed for no apparent reason (Magalhães et al., 2021). Many of the body’s functions are in an anabolic condition when sleeping, assisting in restoring the immunological, neurological, and muscular systems. These are crucial components that help sustain mood, cognition, brain ability, and the hormonal and immunological systems.

Like any other physiological and biological phenomenon, the sleep process has its internal risks and weaknesses. This means that sleep has many different diseases, complications, and disorders associated with its incorrect functioning. One of these disorders is sleep paralysis, which is considered a physiological and psychiatric phenomenon. Sleep paralysis is an uncontrollable immobilization that occurs at the commencement or aftermath of sleep and is frequently accompanied by strange “ghost-like” illusions and severe panic responses (Jalal, 2018). In other words, sleep paralysis is a condition in which an individual is awake but unable to move or talk either awakening or taking a nap. A person may experience hallucinations (feel, hear, or witness things that are not present in reality) during an incident, which can be frightening. The occurrences are usually only a few minutes long, and they might be a one-time incident or continuous. In most situations, sleep paralysis is simply a symptom that a person’s body is not progressing properly through the phases of sleep, according to sleep experts (Jalal, 2018). Since sleep is an important component of human physical and mental health, sleep paralysis is a dangerous disease that affects human well-being.

Despite the sufficient simplicity of the process and components of sleep paralysis, this phenomenon is of interest as a subject of research in human sleep. Researchers are becoming more interested in sleep paralysis, a rather frequent but under-researched phenomenon (Jalal, 2018). While the origins are undetermined, several researchers have examined possible risk factors related to the issue (Denis et al., 2018). Sleep paralysis was linked to many factors, and certain patterns emerged. Drug addiction, response to stress, genetic effects, physical sickness, irrational beliefs, sleep problems (emotional sleep patterns and objective sleep disturbance), signs of psychiatric non-clinical disease (especially anxiety indicators), and mental illnesses are a few examples (Denis et al., 2018). The presence of a connection between all of the above various problems with sleep paralysis can create a precedent for the emergence of social danger. It can be suggested that the competent and timely resolution of this problem and the fight against the disease can prevent future physical and mental complications.

In addition to the link between sleep paralysis and subsequent health problems and sleep disorders, this phenomenon can also be associated with psychiatric and psychological directions. Sleep paralysis is possible to emerge in healthy people, and it has been connected to underlying psychiatric, family, and sleep issues (Olunu et al., 2018). Moreover, research suggests a specific relationship between a person’s mental and emotional state and the risk of acquiring sleep paralysis (Olunu et al., 2018). The importance of sleep paralysis in the psychological aspect and the social sphere can be emphasized by the dependence of a person and his activities on the quality of his sleep. Any disorder of sleep processes, as well as the consequences of these problems, negatively affects a person’s vital activity and his ability to enjoy the activity.

Although sleep paralysis can cause other medical complications and diseases, it can also act in conjunction with other disorders, including psychiatric ones. Rapid eye movement sleep disturbances such as nightmare syndrome and periodic solitary sleep paralysis cause substantial suffering to patients who experience them (Stefani & Högl, 2021). As a consequence of sleep paralysis, nightmare syndrome can induce insomnia as a result of the anxiety of falling asleep due to nightmares (Stefani & Högl, 2021). Therefore, people suffering from possible nightmares are at risk of being susceptible to sleep paralysis, which also works in the opposite direction.

Sleep paralysis is a common and uncomfortable occurrence that can have serious medical repercussions. Several types of research have concentrated on pleasant sleep paralysis events, intending to determine the comparative occurrence of delightful sleep paralysis occurrences and factors that may increase the probability of them happening. According to the studies, delightful sleep paralysis experience was discovered to be a relatively regular occurrence, with periods being emotionally intense, with pleasant events frequently containing some admixture of worry (Kliková et al., 2021). Pleasant bouts of hallucination were more likely to include sensory and motor feelings (illusory physical motions), and several people claimed to be able to produce these illusions (Kliková et al., 2021). In addition, the capacity for transparent dreams and high degrees of trait responsiveness to unique experiences both seemed to maximize the probability of happy occurrences (Kliková et al., 2021). Based on this information, it can be concluded that pleasant cases of sleep paralysis depend on the individual’s perception and experience. In general, the phenomenon is associated with pleasant sensations of illusions, the residual state after night dreams, and the sensation of the body at the time of the incident.

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In conclusion, sleep paralysis is a condition in which an individual is awake but unable to move or talk either awakening or taking a nap. A person may experience hallucinations during an incident, which can be frightening. Although sleep paralysis can cause other medical complications and diseases, it can also act in conjunction with other disorders, including psychiatric ones. Several studies have focused on pleasant sleep paralysis episodes to find the relative frequency of delicious sleep paralysis events and factors that may increase the likelihood of their occurring. According to the studies, having a happy sleep paralysis experience is a common occurrence, with periods of emotional intensity and pleasurable experiences typically involving some admixture of concern.


Denis, D., French, C. C., & Gregory, A. M. (2018). A systematic review of variables associated with sleep paralysis. Sleep Medicine Reviews, 38, 141-157.

Jalal, B. (2018). The neuropharmacology of sleep paralysis hallucinations: serotonin 2A activation and a novel therapeutic drug. Psychopharmacology, 235(11), 3083-3091.

Kliková, M., Sharpless, B. A., & Bušková, J. (2021). Could sleep paralysis be pleasant?. Journal of Sleep Research, 30(3).

Magalhães, P., Pereira, B., Oliveira, A., Santos, D., Núñez, J. C., & Rosário, P. (2021). The mediator role of routines on the relationship between general procrastination, academic procrastination and perceived importance of sleep and bedtime procrastination. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 18(15), 7796-7808.

Olunu, E., Kimo, R., Onigbinde, E. O., Akpanobong, M. A. U., Enang, I. E., Osanakpo, M.,… & Fakoya, A. O. J. (2018). Sleep paralysis, a medical condition with a diverse cultural interpretation. International Journal of Applied and Basic Medical Research, 8(3), 137.

Stefani, A., & Högl, B. (2021). Nightmare disorder and isolated sleep paralysis. Neurotherapeutics, 18, 100-106.

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