sleep paralysis article


See our updated article about sleep paralysis on the new Stanford Sleep and Dreams website. Here are some key points about sleep paralysis. During sleep paralysis, the mind awakens from REM sleep before the body paralysis has subsided. Isolated sleep paralysis (ISP) is defined as the transient inability to move or speak during the transition between sleep and wakefulness in the absence of other clinical features of narcolepsy.

Sleep paralysis consists of a period of inability to perform voluntary movements either at sleep onset (called hypnogogic or predormital form) or upon awakening (called hypnopompic or postdormtal form).

Learn about topics such as How to Induce Sleep Paralysis, How to Cope with Sleep Paralysis, How to Prevent Sleep Paralysis, and more with our helpful step-by-step instructions with photos and videos.

Sleep paralysis is a fairly common disorder caused by a disconnect between mind and body during sleep, and studies suggest that as many as half of all people experience it at least once. Overall, sleep paralysis is normal, and comes with a good scientific explanation. Sleep paralysis may happen only once, or you may have it frequently -- even several times a night. It should be noted that although sleep paralysis is itself quite harmless, there are other sleep-related experiences that can be mistaken for sleep paralysis … Sleep paralysis (SP) is a cardinal symptom of narcolepsy. During sleep paralysis, the mind awakens from REM sleep before the body paralysis has subsided.

Sleep paralysis consists of a period of inability to perform voluntary movements either at sleep onset (called hypnogogic or predormital form) or upon awakening (called hypnopompic or postdormtal form). Read on to find out more about sleep paralysis, its possible causes, and its treatment. What is sleep paralysis?

The foregoing terms may include synonyms, similar disorders, variations in usage, and abbreviations.
The good news: sleep paralysis is not considered a dangerous health problem. Eye movements are typically not affected. Episodes generally last less than a couple of minutes.

Sleep paralysis is an unusual neurologic phenomenon which may be described as "brief accesses of inability to move one's limbs, to speak and even to open one's eyes on awakening (hypnapompic or postdormital sleep paralysis) or more rarely when falling asleep (hypnagogic or predormital sleep paralysis)." Sleep paralysis is frightening, but sleep specialist Clete Kushida, MD, PhD, says people can take steps at home to stop the episodes.

This article includes discussion of sleep paralysis, cataplexy of awakening, hypnagogic and hypnopompic paralysis, night palsy, nocturnal paralysis, predormital and postdormital paralysis, familial sleep paralysis, and isolated sleep paralysis.


Sleep paralysis (SP) is a cardinal symptom of narcolepsy. Paralysis can be very brief, ending after a matter of seconds, but in other cases may stretch into several minutes. The hallucinations may last from a few seconds to a few minutes.