The science behind why some people just can’t wake up in the morning


It’s the middle of the night and you’re jolted awake by a loud noise. You lie there in the dark, heart racing, trying to catch your breath and calm down. But you can’t. You’re wide awake and there’s no way you’ll be able to go back to sleep now.

If this happens to you frequently, you may be suffering from sleep paralysis, a condition that can be both scary and frustrating. Sleep paralysis is a type of sleep disorder in which people experience brief episodes of paralysis just before falling asleep or upon waking up.

Sleep paralysis can be a symptom of narcolepsy, a condition that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and can lead to sudden, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime. It can also be caused by other sleep disorders such as sleep apnea or restless legs syndrome.

Some people may also experience sleep paralysis as a result of taking certain medications or using illicit drugs.

While sleep paralysis can be a frightening experience, it is usually not harmful and will resolve on its own after a few minutes. However, it can be a sign of a more serious underlying sleep disorder, so it is important to see a doctor if you are experiencing frequent episodes.

What Happens During Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis occurs when there is a disconnect between the mind and the body. It can happen when you are falling asleep or waking up.

During sleep paralysis, you may be aware of your surroundings but you will be unable to move or speak. You may also feel pressure or a sense of choking. In some cases, people may see or hear hallucinations.

Sleep paralysis can last for a few seconds to a few minutes. In some cases, it may last longer.

What Causes Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis is often associated with sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome. It can also be caused by certain medications or drug use.

People with narcolepsy may experience sleep paralysis as a result of their sleep disorder. Narcolepsy is a condition that causes excessive daytime sleepiness and can lead to sudden, uncontrollable episodes of falling asleep during the daytime.

Sleep apnea is a sleep disorder that is characterized by pauses in breathing during sleep. These pauses can last for seconds to minutes and can occur many times throughout the night. People with sleep apnea often snore loudly and may wake up feeling tired even after a full night’s sleep.

Restless legs syndrome is a disorder that causes an irresistible urge to move the legs. This urge is often accompanied by a tingling or prickling sensation in the legs.

People with certain medical conditions such as heart disease, stroke, and Parkinson’s disease may also be at risk for sleep paralysis.

Certain medications such as those used to treat depression, anxiety, and schizophrenia can also cause sleep paralysis. In addition, people who abuse drugs such as cocaine and methamphetamine may also experience episodes of sleep paralysis.

How Is Sleep Paralysis Diagnosed?

If you are experiencing episodes of sleep paralysis, it is important to see a doctor so that any underlying sleep disorders can be ruled out.

Your doctor will likely ask you about your medical history and your symptoms. He or she may also order a sleep study to evaluate your sleep patterns.

During a sleep study, you will be monitored overnight while you sleep. This study can help to diagnose sleep disorders such as narcolepsy, sleep apnea, and restless legs syndrome.

How Is Sleep Paralysis Treated?

In most cases, sleep paralysis will resolve on its own without treatment. However, if it is caused by an underlying sleep disorder, treatment will be necessary.

Narcolepsy is typically treated with a combination of medication and lifestyle changes. Medications used to treat narcolepsy include stimulants, antidepressants, and sodium oxybate.

Sleep apnea is often treated with lifestyle changes such as losing weight, avoiding alcohol, and sleeping on your side. In some cases, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machine may be used.

Restless legs syndrome is often treated with medications such as iron supplements, dopaminergic drugs, and anticonvulsants.

If your sleep paralysis is caused by a medication you are taking, your doctor may adjust the dosage or switch you to a different medication. If drug abuse is the cause, you will need to seek treatment for your addiction.

Can Sleep Paralysis Be Prevented?

There is no sure way to prevent sleep paralysis. However, you can reduce your risk by getting enough sleep, managing stress, and avoiding drug abuse.

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