What Is Sleep Paralysis?

By Temma Ehrenfeld @temmaehrenfeld
November 06, 2017

It can be very scary when you wake up and can't move, and the medical term can frighten you more. What is sleep paralysis? Learn more here.

What is sleep paralysis?

It’s really not all that complicated: Your mind has woken up before the rest of your body. During the dreaming stage of sleep, your muscles relax to the point where you can’t control them, probably to keep you from acting out your dreams. If you become mentally aware while in that state, you experience a sense of paralysis. It usually goes away within minutes.  

According to a review of the research, about 8 percent of the population experience sleep paralysis at some point. That number jumps to 32 percent of people with mental disorders, and nearly 35 percent of those with a panic disorder.


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April 08, 2020

Reviewed By:  

Christopher Nystuen, MD, MBA