Have you ever tried waking up from sleep but found you couldn’t move or speak?

This frightening experience is called sleep paralysis. While it can be scary, it’s not harmful.

Sleep Paralysis: Why It's Not Harmful


Here’s what you need to know.

What is Sleep Paralysis?

Sleep paralysis happens when you wake up but can’t move or speak. This can last a few seconds to a couple of minutes.

It usually occurs when you’re falling asleep or waking up.

Why Does It Happen?

During sleep, your body goes through different stages. One stage is called REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, where you dream.

To keep you from acting out your dreams, your brain temporarily paralyzes your muscles.

Sometimes, you wake up before your body has “unlocked” your muscles.

This is when sleep paralysis happens.


Is It Dangerous?

No, sleep paralysis is not dangerous. It might feel scary, especially if you see or hear things that aren’t real (hallucinations). But it won’t harm you physically.

What Causes It?

Several things can trigger sleep paralysis:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Irregular sleep schedules
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Sleeping on your back

How To Prevent It?

Here are some tips to reduce the chances of sleep paralysis:

  • Get enough sleep: Aim for 7-9 hours each night.
  • Keep a regular sleep schedule: Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
  • Manage stress: Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation.
  • Avoid sleeping on your back: Try sleeping on your side instead.

What To Do If It Happens?

If you experience sleep paralysis:

  • Stay calm: Remember, it will pass in a few seconds.
  • Focus on your breathing: Take slow, deep breaths to help you relax.
  • Try to move a small part of your body: Wiggle your fingers or toes to break the paralysis.

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