There are so many misconceptions about sleep paralysis; from sleep paralysis being a form of demonic oppression of the victim, to it being an indication that someone dangerous is in the room trying to harm the sleeping victim. Once again, another question arises, “Can one die from sleep paralysis”.
The straightforward answer to this question is “No, you cannot die from sleep paralysis”. While this answer may be unsatisfactory to you, particularly if you have a fixed opinion that sleep paralysis can cause death, a careful understanding of what causes sleep paralysis will make it clearer for you.
I have already talked expansively about sleep in this earlier post but suffice for me to talk again about sleep paralysis and its causes in this post.
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What is sleep paralysis?
Sleep paralysis is a diverse sleep problem characterised by temporary paralysis of muscles of the body and total or partial loss of control of voluntary actions, described as a feeling of being semi-conscious during sleep but unable to move your body or speak. It is a state of half-sleep, half-wake but in this case, the person is still lying down on the bed often with eyes closed.
During sleep paralysis, you experience several dream-like memories but it looks like you are awake because you are aware of what is going on. However, you do not have much control over the condition. Such that, you are unable to move your body and limbs.
Sometimes, you are able to wake up from sleep paralysis voluntarily and sometimes, you are able to know ahead of time if you would have an episode of sleep paralysis even before your sleep becomes deep. This is because there are known behaviours and activities that can trigger sleep paralysis. One I have identified is when you sleep too late at night, particularly when you were doing a mentally engaging task prior to that time.
Why can’t sleep paralysis cause death?
You cannot die from sleep paralysis because the causation of sleep paralysis does not involve any structural or functional damage to the brain or your body. It only involves a minor dysregulation of the sleep cycle where the body is unable to fully differentiate between sleepfulness and wakefulness.
Sleep paralysis can affect the quality of your sleep because it makes you wake up intermittently following each episode but it can never be severe enough to cause death. So, if you are worried that you or someone close to you might die from sleep paralysis, worry no more. Sleep paralysis cannot cause death. It is not due to any disease, structural or functional damage to your brain and body.
How to prevent sleep paralysis
If you find yourself having sleep paralysis very frequently, we have already established that it can never kill you. However, here are some personal recommendations on how you can prevent sleep paralysis from happening to you or re-happening after you have experienced one episode that night. I am speaking from a place of experience and what has worked for me over the years, because I have also experienced sleep paralysis frequently too.
Of all the methods of preventing sleep paralysis, I personally recommend listening to music while you sleep. Listening to music while sleeping has always helped me prevent sleep paralysis episodes, and I mean every time. This method is also cheap and readily available. All you need to do is plug in your earphones or turn up the volume of the loudspeaker to a soft range.
The first way to prevent sleep paralysis is by observing sleep precautions. You need to sleep early or when due. Clear your mind from intrusive thoughts before you sleep, and avoid drinks containing caffeine at bedtime. With these, you are sure to have good sleep without any occurrence of sleep paralysis, but whenever you foresee that you might have sleep paralysis later in the night, simply listen to soft music while you sleep.
Based on our initial question if one can die from sleep paralysis, you might also want to ask further “What is the worst thing that can happen to me if I have sleep paralysis?”. Sleep paralysis is a mild discomforting experience. It can hamper the quality of your night’s sleep. It can create fear and fright in people who do not understand much about it. These are the worst outcomes sleep paralysis can cause, and it is nowhere near causing death or leading to it.
I am a medical doctor, a seasoned writer and passionate blogger. Thanks to many years of trials, failure, and near successes. I am the founder of Knowseeker and our content are geared towards enlightening and making you a better and happier audience.