Sleep paralysis symptoms can be an extremely frightening experience. It renders your body paralyzed while your mind is awake. It also brings about all sorts of hallucinations, from seeing eerie images, to hearing noises or feelings of choking. Although it lasts only for a few seconds to minutes, those brief moments are enough to instill fear, panic and anxiety to a person.
The key to avoiding sleep paralysis is to do preventive measures. Here are the effective ways to cope with the symptoms.
Identify and avoid the trigger.
The attacks are caused by a variety of reasons. In order to identify which one causes yours, try to identify a pattern during or after a paralysis episode. Did they occur at a certain time or place? Did it happen while you were sleeping at a certain position? What was your mental or emotional condition when the attack occurred? Were you under a lot of stress? One you've determined the causative factors, you can then avoid them to prevent future occurrence.
Maintain a healthy sleeping habit.
Before going to sleep, try to do some relaxation techniques. You can do breathing exercises or read some good-humored books. It aids in relieving the mind from anxiety, which can provoke the sleep paralysis symptoms.
You should also sleep in a dark, quiet and comfortable room. Make sure your bed, mattress and your bed linens are in good condition as these can also affect the quality of your sleep. Sleep in a relaxed position. Avoid sleeping at your back since it can trigger a paralysis attack. Also, try not to wear out your body from working too much. When your body is exhausted and you go immediately straight to bed, the chances of a paralysis attack is high. Ensure also that you get 6-8 hours of sleep everyday.
Eat and drink right.
When you eat right, your body stays healthy and replenished. You should also avoid drinking caffeine or alcohol before going to bed. It can change your sleeping pattern and prevents you from getting quality sleep.
Stay relaxed during an episode.
Always remind yourself that what you may see, hear or feel during an episode are just hallucinations. They do not signify a presence of real demons or ghosts. If you think otherwise, it can only worsen your attack and magnify its effect on you. It will be easier to cope if you believe that there are no lasting effects and that the paralysis will eventually go away. So stay calm. You can also try to inhale deeply and exhale forcefully. It supplies more oxygen to the brain and will help wake you up. Or, try to envision walking out of the room. It can increase your wakefulness and snap you out of the attack.
Focus on body movement.
During a paralysis episode, try to do a body movement. You can concentrate on moving a small area of your body first, like your eyelids, fingers or toes. You can also try to shift your neck. These movements can stimulate you out of the attack.
Most of the time, people who suffer sleep paralysis eventually learn to deal with the symptoms their own way. However, there are others who experience repeatedly frightening episodes and are affected by it more deeply. In this case, it may require medical intervention. This will be the time to talk to a doctor, who can prescribe medication for you.