Isolated sleep paralysisSleep paralysis - isolated; Parasomnia - isolated sleep paralysis; ISP
Isolated sleep paralysis (ISP) is a type of paralysis that occurs when a person just goes to sleep or upon waking from sleep. It is not associated with another sleep disorder.
Muscle function loss is when a muscle does not work or move normally. The medical term for complete loss of muscle function is paralysis.
ISP often begins in the teens and can be triggered by lack of sleep. Some young adults with anxiety disorder can also be affected by ISP.
Generalized anxiety disorder (GAD) is a mental disorder in which a person is often worried or anxious about many things and finds it hard to control ...
Other triggers may include:
- Mental stress
- Sleeping on the back
- Not having a regular sleep schedule
Episodes of ISP last from a few seconds to 1 or 2 minutes, often upon waking up from rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. REM sleep is when dreaming occurs. During ISP episodes, the person is unable to move or speak, but is aware of their surroundings. Breathing is not affected. These spells end on their own or when the person is touched or moved. In rare cases, the person may have dream-like sensations or hallucinations, which may be scary to them.
Hallucinations involve sensing things such as visions, sounds, or smells that seem real but are not. These things are created by the mind.
Exams and Tests
The health care provider will ask about your symptoms, focusing on your sleep habits and things that may affect your sleep. You may be asked to fill out a questionnaire about your sleep to help your provider reach a diagnosis.
Narcolepsy is a nervous system problem that causes extreme sleepiness and attacks of daytime sleep.
Polysomnography is a sleep study. This test records certain body functions as you sleep, or try to sleep. Polysomnography is used to diagnose sleep...
In most cases, isolated sleep paralysis occurs so rarely that treatment is not needed. If the cause is known, for example, due to lack of sleep, correcting the cause by getting enough sleep often resolves the condition.
Sometimes, medicines that prevent REM during sleep are prescribed.
In persons with mental health conditions, such as anxiety, medicine and behavioral therapy (talk therapy) to help treat the mental health condition may resolve sleep paralysis.
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Discuss your condition with your provider if you have repeated episodes of ISP. They may be due to a medical problem that needs further testing.
Sharpless BA. A clinician's guide to recurrent isolated sleep paralysis. Neuropsychiatr Dis Treat. 2016;12:1761-1767. PMC ID: 4958367 www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4958367.
Silber MH, St. Louis EK, Boeve BF. Rapid eye movement sleep parasomnias. In: Kryger M, Roth T, Dement WC, eds. Principles and Practice of Sleep Medicine. 6th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 103.
Sleep patterns in the young and aged - illustration
Sleep patterns change with age, anxiety levels and many other factors. Normally, younger people have more concentrated periods of deep sleep compared to older people.
Sleep patterns in the young and aged
Review Date: 4/12/2017
Reviewed By: Allen J. Blaivas, DO, Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care, and Sleep Medicine, VA New Jersey Health Care System, Clinical Assistant Professor, Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, East Orange, NJ. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.