Symptoms of sleep paralysis 

The main symptom of sleep paralysis is a temporary inability to move or talk.

The paralysis usually occurs as you're waking up, but it can also sometimes happen when you're falling asleep.

Not being able to move or talk can be very frightening, particularly as you'll be completely conscious throughout the experience. Your breathing may also feel restricted, because taking deep breaths is often difficult.

During an episode of sleep paralysis, you may also experience a very real sensation that there's someone else in the room with you.

These type of hallucinations are a fairly common feature of sleep paralysis, although they don't occur in every case.

The length of time that you're unable to move for can vary from a few seconds to several minutes. After this, you'll be able to move and speak as normal.

Immediately after an episode of sleep paralysis, you may feel unsettled and anxious. However, the condition doesn't pose a risk to your overall health.

Many people only experience sleep paralysis once or twice in their life. If it happens several times a month or more regularly, it's known as isolated sleep paralysis.

Page last reviewed: 19/11/2014

Next review due: 19/11/2016