Waking Up At Night Unable To Move – This Is The Reason

Sleep paralysis is a common symptom of being completely conscious and static during the night sleep. It is a passage between being awake and falling asleep, according to WebMD.

This is the strangest sensation of the human body, out of all there existing. Not being able to move and being aware of it.

This is the meaning of conscious night paralysis…

It is a peculiar phenomenon and even scary at times. Basically, the person going through this phenomenon cannot move body parts, but is fully conscious. These people are really scarred when they go through this, and it Is normal to feel this way if you cannot have control over your own body.

Luckily, this happens often to a lot of people and it is not harmful in any way. It often happens in 2 stages: hypnagogic and hypnopompic. The hypnagogic is right before falling in deep sleep and hypnopompic is in the REM sleep awakening.

When we fall asleep, the body becomes relaxed and the mind less aware of everything. But, when the hypnagogic paralysis happens, the mind is AWARE and the body is in a static state of relaxed position. The person acknowledges it is unable to move, but still with the mind it makes efforts to move and that leads to fear or panic at the moment.

During the REM state (rapid eye movement) sleeping, there is paralysis in the muscles and we cannot “act” the dreams we have. During the hypnopompic paralysis a certain brain part wakes up sooner than the rest. This “awake” state is not linked to the REM paralysis parts. The outcome is some wakefulness degree and no control of the muscles, not voluntary at least.

Who can experience this?

Some people experienced this only once or twice luckily. But, many people go through this almost all the time, several days a week even. The Penn State University made a study and almost 8% of people had such paralysis. People with mental problems like depression, had more frequent paralysis during sleep.

Also, another target group for paralysis were people with sleep apnea, heavy meds therapy, and sleeping problems in general.

This is a list of possible factors, as listed by WebMD:

  • Lack of sleep
  • Changing sleeping scheme
  • Mental problems; bipolar or others
  • Back sleeping
  • Narcolepsy or leg cramps
  • Medications like those for ADHD
  • Substance and drug abuses


In every case almost, the people with sleep paralysis cannot speak or move from few seconds to few minutes. As we know by now, this is during the first sleeping stages and right after waking up.

This conditions needs no treatments, but a doctor can simply advice you further for better sleeping schedules and advices. If the sleeping is still not improved, ask a sleep specialist or a therapist.

What are possible treatments?

This condition happens naturally of course, so there is no one right treatment. But, if a professional sees the possible reason for this problem, he could refer some treatment or meds to aid a bit. Such treatments include:

  • Better sleeping schedule
  • Anti-depressants
  • Mental health/therapy
  • Sleep specialist
  • Treatment for sleeping disorders
  • Sleeping meds

Quite often, regulating the sleep schedule helps a lot and avoiding stress of course. This problem is a huge enigma to all professionals, so formal and non-formal treatments cannot harm in any way, but still nothing is certain.

It is a thumb rule that one such paralysis doesn’t need immediate doctor’s help. The professionals advise if you rarely suffer from this to regulate better sleeping schemes and avoid sleep deprivation to prevent another paralysis.

Another advice is avoiding and giving up alcohol or substances and drugs, caffeine and nicotine too. Also, remove further electronic gadgets near your bed to sleep better.

All this doesn’t exclude another paralysis episode. If that happens, stay calm and remember it is not harming your health and it will be over in no time.

Source and Image Source: supertastyrecipes.com